Wendy Young

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Wendy Young began a poetry blog as well contributing reviews for DAO in 2013, following involvement with Survivors’ Poetry.

image of a native american on a horse with his arms in the air, surrounded by by blue skies

She says: “Writing about life experiences through truth and humour is a survival mechanism. Any chance to express hidden darkness is a reason to live. Survivors’ Poetry has been a lifeline, giving a performance space and welcoming all who need to open their hearts.

Performing at open mics and subsequently several feature spots with Survivors’ Poetry led me to DAO, which has opened more doors for me. Through DAO, I performed at events with Outside In, Together and Liberty Festival in 2014. I was guest tutor in Performing Skills at Together’s poetry classes.

More recently I have featured with Utter Lutonia, The Sanctuary, Friggers of Speech, Anomalie Magazine, and ArtFems.

I have had her poetry published in Survivors’ Poetry Express e-zine, South Bank Poetry, Together Anthology, Anomalie Magazine and Natterjack Press’ Living With Ghosts.”

 

The Green Devil and The Moustachioed Knight

Rob Shirt wi’ his wife Mandy
Just say alreight to me
Green devil reared and took it out on me

Punched!
In the middle of the back
In the middle of the road
That led me home

Scene intervened
By Moustachioed man
Sez ‘ar know thee tharra Walker
Aye sez he and my brother Alan’ll get thee
If thah touches me
Lerrim cum thih brothers nowt
N if ar c thee in this village hitting a lass ageean
I’LL KILL THEE

Then on and on my beloved bastard went
Vented his spleen to the Chinese and back
‘til I could take no more
I chucked the takeaway
He ducked
And it landed SPLAT
In the middle of the road
And he ended up laughing
‘til the next episode

Moustachioed Knight
I thank thee from afar
For long ago
You tried to set me free
I wish I could see you to let you know

And now would you believe?
The Green devil is a psychiatric nurse
Master of Bullshit is his degree
Smarmy charming bastard
Spat on my soul
Took advantage of my insecurity
Fooling all around to love him, despise me

I’d like to see him punch me NOW!

The Wind Cries Aunty Mary (Intro)

Now I know who I am… I’ll start again… now I think I know who I am it’s clear to see, I was Milly, Willy, the female, Loman and I carried two suitcases of dreams, in the early morning rain, to the bus stop, on to town and the coach of destiny – National Express.

In my head I said ‘this means nothing to me, O bastard town’, I was getting out. I was leaving behind the memories, the ancient streets, the people who may have loved me, those who tried to destroy me. They were disappearing faster than the M1’s white lines, ‘don’t do it’, said Aunty Mary, ‘at least put your purse on a string round your neck’. Thing is, I am here today, I lived but the memories never left – they got bigger so that now, when I can look back without screeching, it’s too late, the windmills of my mind will turn forever, weeping.

Willy was dying but I had only just begun, to live. Leaving town, my mind whizzed past the familiar pubs, the only club, the corners I’d stood on, waiting for mates, the doorways I’d snogged in, disappointing dates.

It’s now I see the roads and lanes of the Riding, gliding horse-like in my head. I’d trudged and scarpered, from village to village, passing stony shops, like the one mother made my brother put back the butter he nicked out of the broken window. I hated having to walk all the way back but how proud I am now of my Trojan mother, I wish I could tell her. Honest as the day’s long – she’d be mortified knowing I nicked chocolate from that same shop. Now it’s gone, and I‘m passing Aunt Mary’s house, a sanctuary of lollies and undigested milk-filled belly clicks as I rocked back and for’ard like a metronome in the fireside chair, travelling with the flames up the chimney, avoiding going home.

I ate some average fruitcake, and remembered the homemade one you foil wrapped for this fruitcake, and waved me off. Yet I remember your sadness of pruned gardened silence and the birdsong you said depressed you, wishing you were free to leave. Not quite the sound of the suburbs, more the grind of the mine shaft wheels, I never left it, really, but I had to leave, I had to go, I had to leave to know this. I try to catch the wind of the pennines whipping through yet another transient window, the lost chances, the lost me, and the wind cries Aunt Mary.

The Wind Cries Aunty Mary

Biting into average fruit cake
Takes me back to trips up north
Seen off at a windy Terminus
Aunty Mary seeing me off
Be careful – God knows why you’ve gone darn theer!
Handing me a solid fruit loaf wrapped in foil
Sticking my head out of a train window
Finding memories in the wind
National Express coaches
And marcasite brooches
Oh foil wrapped fruit loaf
Made with love
I would welcome you now
I only half accepted you then
Now as  I try breathing in times long past
People long gone
And The Wind Cries Aunty Mary

 

 

TTDA (capitalising poetry)

Time to dehumanise again
Time to despise myself again
Time to realise people are only human again
Time to dehumanise again
Time to realise I can’t rely just when I think they care again
Time to dehumanise again
Time to self criticise and defy the surprise that I am human again
Time to dehumanise again
Time to get wise to the lies and realise I can’t rely again
Time to get wise to the lies and realise I can’t trust again
Time to be let down again
Time to be demonised again
Time to detach no getting close again don’t expect too much again
Time to get wise to taking a back seat again
Time to get wise to the cheats and the lies again
Time to revise the rules on spies and brown nosing again
Time to realise I’m not part of the gang again
Time to step back withdraw hold back build a fort fill the moat detach again
Time to realise I’m not 1st prize again
Time to expect no resort, last or first support confine define boundaries ground sensitivity again
Time to react to intuition trust my instinct again
Time to demise company again
Time to contemplate solo again
Time to face up to rejection again
Time to desexualise suppress passion again
Time to intellectualise sex isn’t everything again
Time to be subdued again
Time to contemplate solo again
Time to devise alibis to disguise the lies again
Time to realise you rise to the bait again and again
Time to be devalued again
Time to patronise pain again
Time to devise a way out again
Time to accept not good enough again
Time to be grateful again again again
Time to say who’d have me again
Time to suppress anger again
Time to stay calm again again again
Time to accept abnormality again
Time to realise I died a long time ago again
Time to devise a plan, act human again
Time not to fucking count again
Time to be null void die inside again
Time to flatline again
Time to sedate negate hate media stare at TV ogle DVDs again
Time to be Lady Macbeth of the Remote control again
HOLD HOLD press power LOAD LOAD
Time to flick click fast forward scan rewind pause skip press play again
Time to mediate and meditate again
Time to endure fortitude again
Time to rationalise again
Time to realise suicide’s not a good exit plan again
Time for the tick of the fucking clock again
Time to diffuse the time bomb again
Time to refuse hit the snooze turn over turn down say no again
Time to get confident again
Time to debate or relate with the world again
Time for the alarm again
Time to try the right side not the wrong again
Time to look in the mirror again
Time to dress to impress undress get changed wear this wear that o fuck this’ll do again
Time for the oyster to open up and be filled up, touched in, touched out again
Time for the day job again again again

Women Who Have Committed Suicide

The subheadings are from Oliver Goldsmith’s poem ‘Woman’ from The Vicar of Wakefield

When lovely woman stoops to folly

The recent suicide of L’wren Scott appears to be overshadowed by headlines about Mick Jagger being her boyfriend e.g. ‘Mick Jagger says ‘’I will never forget her’’ and ‘Mick on stage in Australia when he hears the tragic news’.  Why would Ms Scott, a successful fashion designer with ‘A’ list clients take her own life? It is probable that no one apart from her clients and the beast that is the fashion world would have heard of her until now. It has been revealed that she was in debt to the tune of millions of dollars and that she really did not want to fail but did not want to ask Mick for help. Being an adopted child, did she feel she had to find herself, prove herself? She appears to have been a strong lady who left her Mormon roots in Utah to become a model at 17, the profession where one has to look like a stick insect to get work.  Although models are generally naturally thin it is a widely known that along with dancers, they will smoke to stop the hunger pangs and suffer vile inhuman rhetoric from the powerful  who can dangle them on a string for not being exactly what they want. To eat is to be earthed and not doing so can send the mind into the ether.   Certainly going out with Mick Jagger would open more doors for her but now she had found success, was it too much to live up to?

And learns too late that men betray

Sparky was a nice girl in her 20s from a mining village. She was dragged into a house by two ‘men’ who raped her. She was brave and reported the violation to the police. The case went to court but the two ‘men’ got off, they laughed in her face outside. She tried to cope but got more and more depressed until one day she swallowed a load of paracetamol. She vomited and told her mum who thought she’d be alright and said to go to bed and sleep it off. Sparky never woke up. Do the perpetrators sleep easy in their beds? Do the presiding judge and jury on the case weep for the innocent who tried to fight the wrong she suffered and was humiliated even further and saw no other way out? Or is Sparky seen as another victim of circumstance?

What charm can soothe her melancholy?

Paula Yates was the glam, punky, TV presenter who had a tumultuous childhood but calmed down to family life with Bob Geldof and had cocoa before she went to bed. Naturally witty and clever she didn’t need the drugs and booze some women need to gain confidence, she was a natural. Before ‘Sir Bob’ got his title by being involved in Live Aid, Paula was the instigator, sticking notes to the fridge door to be aware of the starvation in Ethiopia. However, he took it on as his life’s cause. She complained that he didn’t shower, was unkempt, and this lack of attention probably pushed her into the arms of Michael Hutchence, the Rock God from Oz. Was it constant confrontation with ‘Sir Bob’ (he informed her he was ‘above the law’) that made her revert to her old life of drinking and drugs? She had four kids but the strange, untimely death of Michael seemed to far outweigh her family life. Did the return to drugs and drink make her vulnerable, blurring her future?

What art can wash her tears away?

Margaret Sullavan is the frail looking, nervy actress in a film called The Shop Around the Corner 1940 (the blueprint for You’ve Got Mail in the 1990s). Although from a wealthy family, she was brilliantly quirky and original in her role as the poor Hungarian girl who desperately wants a job and desperately wants to meet the man she writes to in the classifieds (James Stewart, with whom, along with Henry Fonda, she studied drama). There is something about her character that says she gives everything to the part, even though her first love was the theatre. She was married to Henry Fonda for a while and her temperament and straightforwardness drove her to throw a jug of iced water on him.

She also showed her strength of character when another of her ‘blow ups’ almost literally killed Sam Wood, one of the founders of the Motion Picture Alliance, who was a keen anti-Communist. He dropped dead from a heart attack shortly after a raging argument with Margaret, who had refused to fire a writer on a proposed film because of his left-wing views. Whilst this would show spirit in a man, when women react they are seen as headstrong and highly strung. It was a man’s world, it possibly still is.

After all, there is evidence out there of men (and women) to whom feminism and women’s rights seem to have passed them by. Eventually she took to her bed permanently. She had a lack of hearing and as her life was mostly about acting she was possibly scared of missing a cue. She was deeply depressed – she had a nervous breakdown when her children wanted to live with their father. All in all, a fraught personal life drove her to overdose with barbiturates. One daughter died of an overdose the same year Margaret died, in 1960, and her son committed suicide in 2008. One could question the instability of artistic parents. She felt she could always learn more acting skills in the theatre, bring them to the screen and show Hollywood what she could really do. Was anything ever enough for this woman who seemed to strive for perfection? Is it ever enough for us?

The only art her guilt to cover,

The great Welsh actress Rachel Roberts quoted herself as “frail personally but not professionally”. She was accomplished in Shakespearean roles, graduate of the University of Wales, and won the Athene Sayler award at RADA. She was gritty in Saturday Night Sunday Morning, and when she received a BAFTA for best actress in This Sporting Life, Richard Harris was getting all the attention. At the party, she got on the table and pulled her skirt up to reveal no underwear (see Robert Sellers’ book Hellraisers). Her then-husband Rex Harrison told her to cover herself up and get down, and she refused, saying ‘’You can’t get it up anyway you old bugger’’.  She was a rebel who said ‘’everybody has a story…and a scream’. What was her scream?  Something dark and deep hidden in her past?

Her last curtain call was a plate glass window she went through after downing weed killer. The account of her death could be a more than a match for any female in Greek mythology or Shakespearean tragedy: Actual suicide was a result of swallowing lye, alkali, or another unidentified caustic substance on top of the barbiturates which were ingested as detailed in her posthumously published journals. The acidic effect of the poisonous agent was an immediate cause of death which propelled her body through a decorative glass screen. She was found by her gardener cut to ribbons in a negligee on her kitchen floor amongst the shards of glass. (Uncannily, this final act echoed a schoolgirl’s greenhouse suicide in Peter Weir’s film Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), in which Roberts starred as schoolmistress Mrs Appleyard, who also commits suicide, near the end of the film).

Reading two of her other personal quotes, ‘’Whenever I act well, my head clears. Always a bit frail I was personally, but never professionally” and ‘’It is very difficult to be taken seriously when you’re introduced at a party to somebody as the fourth Mrs Rex Harrison’’. It seems that talent and brains were not enough, there was an underlying insecurity and her catastrophic end was as typical as powerful as the parts she played.

To hide her shame from ev’ry eye

Russian model Ruslana Korshunova posted on a social networking site “I’m so lost. Will I ever find myself?”  From the Police reports it was concluded that Ruslana’s death was an apparent suicide, although no note was found. Her short life (she was 21) ended after falling from the ninth-floor balcony of her apartment in New York. With her family far away in Russia, this delicate girl who looked even younger than her years, was like a child looking for the good life and ended up in a hellish existence where there is speculation of prostitution rings involving high end clients.

To give repentance to her lover

In Woody Allen’s brilliant first film, What’s New Pussycat?, there is a scene where the beautiful Austrian actress Romy Schneider, who plays Carol, falls out of Victor’s (Allen) bed with a bottle in her hand and with a tremendous bump! You can almost feel the pain.

In another scene she is on a ladder in a library, stretching to deal with a bully who has her book (she tries to encourage ‘weedy’ Victor to win her love by telling him to hit the bully). Of course, she is in love with Peter O’Toole’s character (Peter James) but has a continual battle with his ‘hyperthyroid’ sexual dalliances. She is equal if not better and more natural an actor as O’Toole and Peter Sellers (a rampant sexologist) at clowning and acting. Watching her highly physical and emotional performance emanates a feeling that this is an actress, and a woman, who gives too much, and you wonder if she lived very long.  Researching her life it seems inevitable that, sadly, she didn’t.

She was dumped by fiancé Alain Delon, himself from a stormy background, who left her for another actress but was courteous to send her roses with a ‘Goodbye’ card!  A mighty blow for Romy (they were French audiences’ favourite couple) who then married director Harry Meyen who would later committed suicide. They had a son, David, and after he was killed at the age of 14 attempting to climb a spiked fence, puncturing his femoral artery, Romy began drinking alcohol excessively. Who could blame her? When she was found dead in her apartment at age 44, it was suggested that she had committed suicide by taking a lethal cocktail of alcohol and sleeping pills. Another post-mortem declared cardiac arrest.

Her early career was managed by her mother but also overseen by her stepfather whom Romy indicated had an unhealthy interest in her. How far did he go? Is that the reason she lost herself in her roles? In the public eye she appeared to have it all, but there is a pattern of extreme  unfairness of life that led Romy to an untimely death.

And wring his bosom-is to die.

Everyday normal housewives and mothers, unbelievably, have survived many of the above tragedies and more but there seems to be a common thread with the artistic life, the high life – that you can’t have it all. We all pay a price in life, whichever path is taken, daring people put themselves on the frontline, others play it safe. To know what one wants, to be able to choose, even if it’s the plodding side of life, can be the key. Proving their worth seems to be a major key to the mystery of suicide victims. Models try to keep up with a lifestyle that is gruelling but are they fuelling their bodies and nourishing their minds? To be on top of their game they have to satisfy so many people (even if means ignoring their own needs).

The press are cruel, society can be crueller. The opposite sex could be a resounding factor but so is peer pressure – many women’s enemies are other women. There are many stories of girls who have taken their own lives because they’re too fat, too pretty, too sensitive to take back their power and fight the bullies. On another level it could be said that the artistic temperament exposed to the public eye is to blame for what leads to mental illness and tragic endings. To fail seems a winner for a certain few who can spread the word, expose the bare bones of yet another victim until there is nothing left to see but a dramatic death for the obituary writers to get their teeth into.

Many do not commit the act of suicide outright but sufferings of childhood and life can drive them eventually to a slow death on many dangerous roads, choosing bad partners, alcohol, drugs and bad religion along the way. The lists are too long, but for the actresses, the models, the girls next door, the mothers and all the women who have gone before their time, they will not be forgotten.

Judas Was My Father

And all the traitors there have been
And I am Jesus
Not the Son of God but the Man
Who bled
And forgave
And my crown of thorns
Are my guts twisted
Tearing up my life

Because my father was Judas
And I am Jesus
The prophet/son/child?
Who bled
And forgave

And my crucifix
Is my heart
Hoisted
For you
To stab
And degrade

Because my father was Judas
And I am Jesus
The Man/ The prophet/son/child
Who bled
And forgave

And my stigmata
Is my Mother
Crying
For the little ones
She could not save

But listen here God!
I might be Jesus but I’m not the son of God
But the Man who bled and bled for getting into bed with traitors
And my father was Judas
And it was just like me to find 30 pence in the graveyard
Just the three pieces no more
And for four score years and more I been picking up pieces
Scrambling for a life!
Putting shit together to make sense of myself

Fathers  here on earth to betray us
Listen God
My judges
I will speak the truth
Stand up and because I count

Forgive them Lord they know not what they….O yes they do!
And they’ll keep on until the cycle’s broken
And we take back our power
From the traitors
From the traitors
All we have to do
Take control their sick little minds
Stick their necks under cold water
Put bromide in their tea
Anything to save humanity

But listen here God!
I might be Jesus
The man who was built up and torn down
To represent
Those who can’t speak up
Those who shy in corners
Who dare not live
Who dare not give
Who dare not take
Who dare not love
Who dare not meet their own brilliance
Their own unique authority
Toleration is out
Salvation is in
Not for them for us

So I guess that makes me just a human being after all
A human being with flaws, with sins
So what if I don’t get in at the main gate
Your mate Peter was no saint either
Deny me
Deny me
Deny me

Not the son of God but the Man who will not forgive

Warrior