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By Zekria Ibrahimi

ISBN: 978-1-78382-109-9
Published: 2014
Pages: 189
Key Themes: Mental Health, Mental Illness, Homelessness, Poetry & Verse


The core of this uneasy collection of verse was somewhat nervously done when Zekria Ibrahimi, as a vulnerable man afraid on the uncaring streets of London, attended a Crisis at Christmas centre in late 2012. Amidst the homeless, with their problems and their grief, he scribbled out his anguished poetry, which was intended to be uncomfortable and difficult to read. The inevitably deficient rhymes involve what it is like to be prey to the concrete of London, without a bed, without money, without friends. Being dependent and helpless makes a person a target to be trodden down in this bully of a city. The capital worships Mammon as much as it has contempt for outsiders and non- conformists.

This book, in a deliberately anarchic and messy manner, broadens out to explore the tensions, the bigotry, the snobbery, inherent in London, and then the clash between rich and poor everywhere in this unstable world.


Its glittering skyscrapers of greed at its centre!

Its slum estates like rat- holes, with the dirt of hatred!


It kills the souls of its citizens in the end…

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 five years old now, grey and frail, almost a pensioner, with all the aches and injuries of age, incontinent and impotent, lame and with constant tinnitus; he has shattered his right arm, which will never recover. He is always stiff, painful and weak.

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.

He is an extreme liberal socialist, despairing of the tendencies towards cruel inequality and vicious intolerance across this planet.

Zekria is all too 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


The snow is dispatched by December
Across the London streets below-
There is no warmth, not one mere ember,
Only the snow, and then more snow.

I trudge on, homeless in this cold,
Without money, without one friend-
Snow is all that I have to hold-
My tears are frozen, in the end,

Just like the snow, just like the ice,
Which I feel even in my veins.
No central heated Paradise,
But snow as Hell, is what remains.

Snow covers footprints in the dark.
Life lets me go; the clouds are stark…


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