It was a public madness:

comments not making sense, snow-flaking words on photos shared by friends of friends.

Oblique comments passed by lookers on. ‘WTF’s she on about?’ and ‘get her tole’ and passive vaguings mentioning getting better  for the kids.

 And I sit and mourn her while she lives. Watch it huge and vast.

Remembering my own lost year

and feel a little anxious about the grip

we have or don’t

on what’s important.

And how it’s everyone’s business when someone slips under

and we all have a chance to spread a glib greeting that is seen to be both kind and harsh.

Ranks us up according to our charity or warmth or common sense

and how it’s no-bodies business when she walls it over, cold as wind from the beach

hard as frozen mud and as pitted.

And dribbles mistyped shots at conversation

transcending rhythm, chronology or sense.

She bobbles,

just ahead,

head swelled large and helium.


I can see her floating down the lane.

facebookmental illnessplatitudes

◄ The Hope Chest


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Rachel McGladdery

Tue 25th Oct 2011 11:08

...oh and also, I was contemplating changing the last line from 'lane' to 'page' to keep the fb motif going.Though weirdly I did have a mental image of her bobbing above a hedge on a country lane for some reason. What d'you think? xxx

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Rachel McGladdery

Tue 25th Oct 2011 11:06

Oh no Ann, you mustn't delete. I love those poems. It is a bit like a journal isn't it?
It's great to see you on here too. I need to make more of an effort, maybe there could be a 'WOL for android' app? tee hee. Thanks for the wishes for my friend. I hope so too....probably very apparent why I didn't put this up on fb....hmmm...(note to self to examine the ethics of writing about other people's misfortunes)...xxx

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Ann Foxglove

Tue 25th Oct 2011 10:02

In some ways Fb is a bit like WOL, for some anyway. I wonder about going back and deleting many of my earlier stuff - I really should - embarrassing romantic twaddle or self-pitying rants. In a way though it's an archive or a diary and shows how we're moving through our lives, what stage we're at. I've only been on FB for a couple of months but on the whole I enjoy it. I hope your friend feels better soon! And I enjoyed many of the images in the poem. That last line is very haunting. (And it's good to see you here AS WELL as on FB!)xx

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Rachel McGladdery

Tue 25th Oct 2011 09:52

Thanks both of you. I am a facebook addict, it's clear. I probably really ought to get a life :) . But, as a phenomenon of modern life, I consider it 'fair game' for poetry. This was inspired by seeing an acquaintance break down slowly on facebook, well over the course of a year and seeing people's attitudes to mental health and their depleting sympathy for her writ large. What's massive for me is that those comments will be on there as she recovers unless they get deleted and the implications are vast. Thanks again xxx

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Greg Freeman

Tue 25th Oct 2011 07:56

This is an important subject, but I don't think it's out of order to praise your rhythm and technique in this, Rachel. It's what helps the reader to sit up and take notice. I particularly like "cold as wind from the beach", and "dribbles mistyped shots of conversation / transcending rhythm, chronology or sense". A lot of poets give Facebook the cold shoulder, like to pretend it doesn't exist. But I don't think you can; and you don't. In its originalities and peculiarities, at times it's arguably a form of literature in its own right.

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Mon 24th Oct 2011 23:07

I read this through a couple of times earlier today and it reminded me a lot of the stuff you see on Facebook occasionally. People's problems played out publically in trivia and 'mistyped shots at conversation'. I see that you have tagged it with such.

It's a sad one Rachel. I like the image of the head floating down the lane like a balloon.

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