In this post I am considering darkness, and the profound experiences I have had relating to murder and the death of neighbours and loved ones. Quite a few of these have occurred in my lifetime, these are the low-lights:
- An aunt murdered in Jamaica, I heard that the criminals cut off her finger to steal her wedding ring.
- My cousin murdered outside a nightclub in the UK whilst he was trying to protect his so called friend who ran off and left him to die.
- My upstairs neighbour who was murdered by her brother. I actually heard this killing happen, I thought it was just another argument, but when the police turned up at my door for a witness statement, and turned my back garden into a crime scene investigation, looking for the murder weapon, I realized what had happened, it was a tragic event. At the time I had a sizeable collection of house plants, most of them died because the sky blue tarpaulin crime scene investigators draped over my home blocked out the light for months.
- My downstairs neighbour whose young son was murdered by another youth for a flimsy reason and because of a stupid argument. Two lives ruined for nothing.
- In fact there have been several ‘gang related’ deaths of black boys and men in my neighbourhood in recent years, and for many years.
- The number of deaths in police custody that I know about, many tributes to the dead mournfully laid outside the police station, I would see them on my way to work.
- The wars and atrocities happening all over the world, and not least the slaughter of the innocent in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
- I could go on…
So in this post I remember those who have died violent deaths at the hands of others for no good reason at all. I acknowledge them in my memorial poem called ‘After the Ninth Night’ taken from my current collection of new and unpublished works.
The image is titled ‘Twins’ it features in my book ‘EVOLUTION – a collection of paintings poetry and prose’. When I originally painted this artwork more than 25years ago, I was ruminating on the issues surrounding mental ill health e.g. schizophrenia, paranoia, psychoses etc, and I was visioning how it would be good if we could all live in nice houses, on nice streets with nice neighbours and nice things to do, places to go, people to see.
Facing up to the reality (can you dig it), life is not always nice, for many life is never nice, dreams don’t always come true, fairy tales are fantasies, nursery rhymes don’t mean anything in the real world. If you look deep into the painting you’ll find many references to highlight this point of view.
Life can be a non-stop landslide of traumatic experiences that are difficult to live with. Sometimes this reality is too much to bear, sometimes you have to jump down, get off the wall, stand up for what you believe in, and do something about it.
This is my amended comment from another post: “I see, I feel, I think, I do, therefore I am” – respect to Descartes, but this is my modern take on his meme.
My poetry is grounded in reality, no more so than in The Darkness Anthology, a carefully curated selection of 16 original poems from recent work exploring the impact and outcome of cataclysmic real life events and tragic loss, abuse, trauma, death, bereavement, grief, and justice.
A PDF Copy of The Darkness Anthology is available to purchase and download exclusively via my website using the PayPal Button. Priced at £10.00
This selection includes previously unpublished work; these poems are dark, deep, moody, uncompromising, and hard hitting. The Darkness Anthology is not for children, the feint hearted, or the squeamish, or for those of a sensitive disposition.
Perhaps this poem resonates with you and your experience, suffice to say ‘After the Ninth Night’ – featured in The Darkness Anthology, is a poem that touches base with my reality, and stays there.
After the Ninth Night
Clouds appeared neutral
but the muggy atmosphere
and humid conditions
made it difficult to breathe.
Child’s hand gripped mine
he was tired, not much sleep
listening to the thumping beats
pounding the sound system.
Cut flowers banked up, a wave
of vibrant colour. Stepped over them
to get to the gate, the pollen
made the child sneeze.
Cortege lined up, a small army
of dutiful friends, weeping quietly.
Closed the door resolutely
the driver pulled away with respect.
Classmates mournful, sad expressions
on juvenile faces experiencing pain
for the first time. No one
kicked ball today, today no one played.
Choppers caused disturbance
TV reception was really bad
news bulletin kept cutting out
police were in search mode.
Gangsters trade homemade substances
their little runner gave Mama money
to pay the power bill, but still
they shot him as an example.
Child missed homework, eyes swollen
melancholy, couldn’t concentrate
he kept thinking, remembering
the sound of automatic gunfire.
Council promised to remove the dried up flowers.
Five months was too much, too long to be
stepping over faded blooms, burnt out candles
and greeting cards saying ‘rest in peace’.
Cynthia Antoinette Roomes ©
9 – 12 July 2016