By Nigel Pearce
Key Themes: mental health, poetry, short stories
This is a new collection of poetry, short-stories and literary criticism which reflect something of a renaissance in my writing. It is called: ‘Sisyphus: a celebration’ and embraces the vocation of all Sisyphean figures which is one of constant struggle, but there is also another, brighter dimension. Every time you have pushed that rock to the top of the mountain there is an experience of exhilaration and wonder; one writes. However Fate will push the rock back down and the process must be repeated. But it is enough and more to reach the top of the mountain again and again and then to articulate these experiences creatively and intellectually in the form of poetry and prose.
About the Author
Born in 1959 he has experienced many mental vicissitudes: a runaway at 13, fostered, detained by the courts at age 14 as being ‘in need of care and protection’ followed by two years in a psychiatric hospital, compulsory ECT aged 16, being restrained and given injections of chlorpromazine, not always in the most compassionate of ways. He remembers as a teenager a member of staff jamming the needle into his leg with the words: ‘you’ll remember this’, he does. He had an intravenous drug abuse problem until the age of 25 and now is fighting the physical consequences of the latter and will find out later this year if his body has recovered. The health professionals only picked-up his physical illness a few years ago after some missed opportunities although once his treatment began the professionals involved have been excellent. However through reading and writing he is no longer an Icarus figure flying close to the sun which can lead to self-destruction through mental health problems of a diverse nature: psychosis, mood-swing, previous substance abuse, but one who celebrates his life as a Sisyphus figure who as well as fulfilling the Sisyphean task both thinks and writes. He has a BA (Hons) 2:1 from the Open University and a Certificate in English Studies from Warwick University and currently works in a bookshop once a week.
This flame had burnt before the Apple was bit, the Lamb does not take away the sin of the World but stitches with the thread of the Oracle, and the son is Blinded, he is an anti-Lamb, the lost sheep, that wolf who roams and is guided by nothing but the sweet scent of blood in the Sacrament it is unblemished in a vial which hangs around his furry neck, those eyes which offended had been plucked-out many feverish tossed nights ago at Calvary: ‘the King is dead, the Queen is dead, long live Oedipus’ chants a priest without vestments within the rubble of that defiled temple overgrown by the willow which choked, clasped and entrapped in old asylums: be alert now the coffin lid is to be lifted and the thorns, the razor thorns and spikes of the dead queen’s uncut, mould covered distortedly curled nails glint sharp, better beware our resurrection is not to be subdued by that bell nor the driving in of a stake, these risen lovers are to be reborn in their own womb of dark red beds of crinkled-up rose petals coloured by her crimson blood, black like her son’s. ‘Some of you show supposed shock .The poet is buried and mummified in linen of innuendo with the stigmata stain, this is nothing but your own heaven and hell married and marred, you aren’t Vaguely surprised.’ Mother was in a plugged blue glass bottle but he pulled the cork. They dig and shuffle and grasp hand over hand the dirt from the graves in Which some entombed them, the mauve and green termites do swarm inward.
Oedipus and Jocasta are not destined to wander a rustic idyll, the shepherds
Left long ago, but they will roam silent suburban sprawls spewing forth worms
which dig deeply in eyes like maggots eating rotten apples, this terrible taste?
The prisoner’s hair was long and matted; the wardens said it no longer mattered for a ‘lifer’,
They call them ‘lifers’, their existence is death-in-life, caged bards on barbs bread and beatings,
Constant and relentless glare of florescent light will send the prisoners clear out of their minds
For they had emotions, like a sea eagle skimming the ocean surface holy, until the ocean became
Polluted, rancid with the production of those the wardens serve and they even get a little petrol
Allowance. The poet, a lifer on the ‘outside’, poses a question to you who think you’re free…?
You’re in a gilded cage squawking like an overfed parrot, a true patriot…ALERT for the poets
Have cast away their cages and will scale the prison walls, tremble you martinets for you are
Marionettes and we have disconnected you strings, disconnected you from power, poor screw
All are lifers until the day sizzling maniac is heard; the screeching madman is free to write and paint,
No more outcasts in the wilderness, the perfect symmetry of alpha and omega, sanity and insanity,
The roses will bloom in the winter snow and the worker will become the poet: a Sappho or a Keats.