Good evening. This is your captain speaking.
This is not, as you might have been expecting,
an ATOL-protected package tour of Bedlam
where you get to feel heart-warmingly sorry
for the poor mad people
from behind the reinforced Perspex
of your own privilege.
Because those kinds of poems drive me mental
and, trust me, I was already mental enough.
No, I am a suicide bomber
who has hijacked your plane
and is, even now, flying it,
all engines blaring,
straight into the centre of the mess that is my head.
I have thrown out countless pairs of shoes
because I’d walked down a street
that had dog shit on the opposite pavement.
I have thrown out countless cups of tea
because I suddenly spotted a bottle of bleach on the counter
and, even though it was on the opposite side of the kitchen,
it set off a metonymic frenzy in my head:
Fuck! There’s bleach in my tea!
And I swear I can actually taste the chlorine
burning my gullet,
so I immediately drink eight pints of water
and stay up until 4 o’clock in the morning
googling water poisoning.
I once watched an episode of Midsomer Murders
where I was following a totally different plot
from anyone else
because Inspector Barnaby walked out his house,
opened his dustbin lid,
and then got into his car
WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS FIRST.
I watched in horror as he smeared toxic germs
on the doorhandle, the handbrake, the steering wheel
and then he got out a bag of sweets
and offered one to Troy
who took it…
there was nothing I could do
as they contaminated the whole of
And, while the viewers at home were wondering
if it was Colonel Blimp in the library
with the lead piping
or Mrs Cook in the kitchen
with the knife,
I knew it was John Nettles with the biological warfare
absolutely bloody everywhere.
Having obsessive thoughts
is a bit like sitting behind
a really tall, fat person at the cinema:
you initially think,
“It’s OK. I can work around this”
But you get a crick in your neck
and whenever you crane in one direction
he moves, too,
so you’re always missing the best bits of the film
because his head is always in the fucking way.
Yeah, well, I’m missing the best bits of this film,
because my own head is always in the way.