Mental Wellness

by Nick Bagshaw

I have wandered streets alone
in search of beauty.
Clambered up walls and trees
to see the secrets gardens keep
only to meet disappointment.
I stop and smell the roses,
triggering my own hay-fever
as penance for my trespass.

I have sat on swings alone at night
piercing the silence when the chains creak.
An artificial breeze on my cheek
gently slaps me back awake from
dreaming of feeling adequate.
Walked those same streets again
with the hope and fear of meeting
any kind of hostility.

I have drowned the darkness
In wine and cheese.
Coloured myself red.
Black. Blue. And green.
Then paid my respects
to that porcelain God, fleeing
the tyranny of bedtime alone
to kneel and pray at its throne.

And i have dressed for every mood
every occasion i can’t escape
replaying in a brain
powerless to make change.
I have slowed down.
Stopped and shook.
Lost entire days to
⁷gaping fog and rising damp.

I have begged the tide to stop
coming in long enough to finish
burning all my bridges
before the water extinguishes
whatever spark I have left.
Spent all my money, picked fights
with family and friends i couldn’t help
that I resent sometimes.


I have chosen to go running.
Abused nature’s escape on trails
to dodge incoming consequences
I only dimly sensed through panic.
Choked back my own feelings
to smooth over ruts i don’t remember
or necessarily mean, singing
a song of simple apology.

I have cried in cafes and libraries,
airports and train carriages, hospitals,
changing rooms and the same streets
I wander making people uncomfortable.
I have lived and died in between scenes
replete with averted eyes and polite
silence, too afraid to make waves
too still to move on.