Christmas Poems


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174 in stock


Cynicism And Celebration
By Zekria Ibrahimi

ISBN: 978-1-84991-028-6
Published: 2009
Pages: 105
Key Themes: poetry, christmas, schizophrenia


This difficult volume is about the far side of Christmas. We prefer to see only the tree and the tinsel, the mere exterior, and we forget, neglect, ignore the inner soul of religion. And religion can be the most dangerous thing of all…

How is this a schizophrenic spin on the Yuletide trivialities? Here is a querulous book that does not witness Christmas and all Christianity through the gaze of respectability, but through the poisoned eyes of the doomed homeless outsider. Some of the verse- which aspires to be as dubious and questionable as possible- was actually done on a psychiatric ward. Christmas and the Faith become emblems of that conventionality which may be so choking for a schizophrenic. The two faces of Christmas- the cynical and the celebratory- are bleakly investigated.

Christmas on a psychiatric ward! This is able to be the most pathetically poignant period of all for a patient. Amidst the loud crackers and the greasy mince pies, and those cards and presents from the nurses and other patients, after the all too flatulent Christmas dinner, the merciless medication is still to be dealt out. The schizophrenics are still locked up. Baby Jesus does not intend to liberate the lunatics…

So we offer Christmas, Easter and the Church through a schizophrenic’s shattered prism, with everything intentionally deformed, everything chaotically distorted!

About the Author

Zekria Ibrahimi (born in 1959) is defined by his schizophrenia. It first hit him long ago, in his late teens. He is fifty years old now, grey and frail, almost a pensioner, with all the aches and injuries of age, and he does not always want to remember how, as an adolescent in the late 1970’s, he suddenly became afraid of everything surrounding him, and, worst of all, of himself. He would run around the countryside and knock at the doors of strangers because he feared the apocalypse was pursuing him … He would pick up rubbish outside in alleys and streets and hoard it in his not very palatial lodgings … He was always wandering away from home, searching for … what would never be found again … the straight route, the level way … He was a tramp, freezing during the nights in public toilets where he had various unsavoury insects as company on the cold concrete …

There were years of pain when his schizophrenia became almost his only companion- albeit a sadistic one, punishing him even as he hugged it. Perhaps, to echo both R. D. Laing and Emily Dickinson, it is the entire globe, it is general society, that is truly insane. Schizophrenics simply burrow all too deeply under the surface. They reach the very core of the savage reality in us all. Most varnish over the anarchic truth within through the superficial sham paraded as ‘civilization’. Schizophrenics prefer to be uncomfortably honest barbarians.

Eventually, after much psychotic shouting on Hammersmith Broadway, the hapless Zekria was confined at the Charing Cross unit in the West London Mental Health Trust. Following the unsafe unstable freedom of his schizophrenia, came the restrictions of Section 3. He would not have survived without the multi- racial compassion of the individual doctors and nurses in Charing Cross. Yet the overall SYSTEM remains an ogre of rules and restraints, and the INSTITUTION of psychiatry can be as cold and vicious as in the days of lobotomy and insulin shock.

Now he is elderly, but still he muses about being locked up, drugged up, about how, with schizophrenia, the treatment can be worse than the disease…

Book Extract


I am a mongrel with a limp.
My leg- it was snapped in a fight.
(I’m no true dog if I’m a wimp)
I trudge round London, day and night.

My ‘home’ must be upon the street.
My mate and me don’t eat enough.
I have to follow at his feet.
He begs, and every penny’s tough.

You poodles and you pedigrees
You look down on me like mere trash.
I bark back, even as I freeze.
The frost at night hurts like the lash.

How winter longs to whip us two!
I’m small, I’m tiny, in the storm.
I snuffle, and my mate has flu,
And yet we cuddle, and seem warm.

I am part this, and am part that-

I was born neither rich, nor pure.
We don’t have a bed- sit or flat-

Only the wind, and a shop door.

You reckon that he is a dog,
Not human- you snobs walking past.
It’s as if your aloof eyes flog
Both of us, worse than the rain’s blast.

Our sleeping bag cannot protect
Us from the downpour that will cling.
We are what you reject, reject.
I’m a scared runt, no noble thing.

There is no shelter without love,
No haven without my mate’s arms,
Though London’s buildings, far above,
Shut us out. Gates! Locks! Guards! Alarms!

I am a mongrel with a limp.
My leg- it was snapped in a fight.
(I’m no true dog if I’m a wimp)
I trudge round London, day and night.


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