by Kev Walker
Content warning: mentions death, PTSD. Poem contains graphic imagery.
The palate is thick, pungent. Ripe yet rotten. Though rotting has not yet began.
There’s shades of urea, undertones of copper, a hint of raw pork in a pan.
Whilst in this state, the freshness shocks, indeed it almost smells tasty
This matter should stink, not hint on the taste-buds, my skin hues quickly to pasty.
The ringing still clear, this taste in my lungs, broken marionette of gore
Doused in crimson and black, a stinkhorn mushroom, draped across sand on the floor.
The palate so thick, it stays in my nostrils, lies dormant for years at a time
Till a familiar smell, dilutes and hydrates it waking hideous fears that were mine.
Defenceless against it, it shadows my being, my stomach a churning mass
Goosebumps for no reason and magnified senses, awaiting the gut wrench to pass.
You can’t fight or ignore it, it only adds to the fear, the sickly strength of its grip
Fills your heart with blackness, loss and frustration exposes your soul with a rip.
It sleeps when it chooses, not at my will, but sleeps to allow it to wake
Refreshed and visceral, stronger than ever, my palms grip my face and I shake.
Writer’s Note: As a follow up to this poem, anyone suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or indeed any underlying mental health condition, can find support and advice through the following agencies. If this poem has highlighted symptoms to you or someone close to you, I encourage you to seek support. As a sufferer of PTSD, I can strongly recommend not suffering in silence. Even just being able to share and relate is part of the healing process. [Information regarding PTSD can be found on the NHS website. Support is available through Mind, with Armed Forces specific support available via SSAFA.]
Editor’s Note: The Norwich Radical believes, as outlined in our Founding Statement, that to ensure the longevity and prosperity of humanity, we must strive to build a world free from violence, conflict and warfare. We therefore stand in opposition to the militarisation of society, armed conflict resolution and imperialism. We acknowledge and recognise those who have served in armed forces and the trauma experienced by those involved in conflict worldwide, and strive for a world built not on the premise of war, but on co-operation.
Featured image: Wikimedia
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