Simone Inez Harriman

Gold Star - 25,574 Points (03/05/1959 / New Zealand)

Demented - Poem by Simone Inez Harriman

A grinning nameless woman drifts up to me
Delusional, calling me ‘mum'
Peeking out from under this shapeless shroud
I'm wearing one shoe
Swimming around my naked foot
Her eyes widen out and narrow in
With knifed disapproval
She is instantly forgotten
While I stare moodily out the window
At faded rainbows and mildewed walls
As rain taps and scrapes her nails on my nerves

‘A penny for your thoughts' she asks softly
‘Nae' I say sadly, waving to Edward
Who strides off smiling to war
Nothing makes any sense
Rummaging in my pocket
I gently fish out a pale wilted flower
Clinging to a little ball of feces
And hand it to her, delicately
Her smile defaced irreparably
I pat her hand and turn away
‘I wish I was still alive' I say

She offers, busily, to brush my hair
I am seated discontented and disconnected
Speckled with skin flakes
Etherized thoughts tangle, blur and decay
To nothing, to no-where
And to no-one in particular
I say ‘Who's that old dear staring at me? '
I point at a bewildered, frowning woman seated before me
‘That's you, mum' she says gently

I'm agitated
I scream ‘I'm not your mother, you twit'
Her mouth slams shut
Closed as a coffin
In this morgues silence
I fly at her, nails, teeth and fist
Blue uniforms sheriff us apart
I crumble limp, meek and calm
I just want to go home
She cries as she says goodbye
‘You shouldn't speak to strangers', I say
I touch her lips and float away

Topic(s) of this poem: insanity

Comments about Demented by Simone Inez Harriman

  • (9/15/2017 3:11:00 PM)

    Brilliant! I am reminded of Woman Under the Influence. In some ways, each one of us is lost and unable to communicate even basic meanings to those who are closest. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (9/7/2017 5:40:00 PM)

    you captured mental illness in every way you could- - the diction and the punctuation adding to that picture of a meandering lost mind whose sudden outcry for Edward who strode off smiling to war caught my breath and turned this wasted entity into a reality for me. Excellent, Simone. Artistic but very very real portrait of a lost soul. The inclusion of this detail gave it an unsentimental edginess to this portrayal that could quickly have turned maudlin in the hands of a lesser poet:
    Rummaging in my pocket
    I gently fish out a pale wilted flower
    Clinging to a little ball of feces
    And hand it to her, delicately- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Brilliant. You are the real deal on this site.
    (Report) Reply

  • Bri Edwards (8/3/2017 1:17:00 AM)

    more punctuation would help me. i've only gone through the first stanza and have gotten lost 3 or 4 times, not knowing when a new sentence begins. : (: (

    Clinging to a little ball of feces.............this picture made my nose wrinkle! so 'clinical'! ***

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    use the first definition, please.

    Search Results
    ˈklinək(ə) l/
    adjective: clinical

    relating to the observation and treatment of actual patients rather than theoretical or laboratory studies.
    clinical medicine
    (of a disease or condition) causing observable and recognizable symptoms.
    clinical depression
    efficient and unemotional; coldly detached.
    the clinical detail of a textbook
    synonyms: detached, impersonal, dispassionate, objective, uninvolved, distant, remote, aloof, removed, cold, indifferent, neutral, unsympathetic, unfeeling, unemotional
    he seemed so clinical

    favorite lines:

    I pat her hand and turn away
    ‘I wish I was still alive' I say

    here is another place a lack of punctuation bothered me: (could be one sentence or not)

    I just want to go home
    She cries as she says goodbye

    i DO get the idea, even without the listing of the Topic. Someone is NUTS!

    poor souls. i just read in a local newspaper that the county jail is expanding and has had funding turned down for a mental health section. and another article recently said the jail was understaffed by 16, with 94% (in think) occupancy. Humboldt County, northern California, famous? for marijuana, and for its redwood trees. AND now Me, of course.

    to MyPoemList.

    a Poet's Notes could be interesting.

    bri :)
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/30/2017 2:27:00 PM)

    Yes, some unfortunate people are demented. As a general rule,
    it is best not to speak to strangers, but not always, I think.
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/26/2016 3:48:00 PM)

    Bewildered. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (3/19/2016 11:06:00 AM)

    You frightened me a little with this profound write
    Thank you for reminding the rest of us how fortunate we are...10
    (Report) Reply

  • Ann Beard (11/24/2015 1:05:00 AM)

    You have captured all aspects of dementia very eloquently. A touching tribute. (Report) Reply

  • (11/22/2015 5:05:00 AM)

    So talented Simone, beauifully written (Report) Reply

  • (11/15/2015 5:02:00 AM)

    Another cleverly crafted poem. It's frightening to think that any one of us could end up that way, a more or less empty shell. Who suffers the most the demented person or his/her family? Having witnessed dementia, twice, I suspect the family. (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (11/8/2015 10:55:00 AM)

    They are like phantoms inhabiting an eerie world where everything has lost its logical connections! They have only scattered and broken images of their past. They are fated to grope in a blind alley! As one associated with the medical field (read your biography) you must be encountering such helpless and debilitated victims of fate, very often! A poignant write! (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt (11/7/2015 6:58:00 PM)

    I have visited nursing homes and encountered dementia. It is terribly sad. Thanks for sharing, Inez (Report) Reply

  • Elena Sandu (11/5/2015 10:47:00 PM)

    Painfully true. Thank you for sharing a great poem indeed. More often people are keeping these things under the oath of silent suffering and even if we would want to talk about them not many people may have the patience or will sit and listen. Not easy to see loved ones losing their dignity and minds.. (Report) Reply

  • Rahman Henry (11/4/2015 3:18:00 AM)

    '' just want to go home
    She cries as she says goodbye
    ‘You shouldn’t speak to strangers’, I say
    I touch her lips and float away ''

    Wonderfully presented, nice poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • Mantu Mahakul (11/1/2015 1:02:00 PM)

    Delusion calls swimming around strength of wise touch. Very wonderful and thoughtful sharing done here definitely....10 (Report) Reply

  • Pamela Sinicrope (10/31/2015 3:07:00 PM)

    Oh my! You've captured the inner mind of a woman with dementia and the outer exchange of communication between this woman and her daughter, both locked in a painful conflict with this horrible disease. This poem is truly heartbreaking, but at the same time, the way in which you've crafted this poem, the word choice, the flow, the images (looking in the mirror, one size 11 shoe on a size 6 foot, 'knifed' disapproval) convey the experience and the emotions so well. The lack of transitions in the poem between I and she and then the dialogue between the mother and daughter and mother and people in her past who she sees but no longer exists, further exhibits the workings of dementia on the brain. I so feel for both women and their situation. The mother's violent outburst was so disturbing. You put me right there in that room. Well-written poem. (Report) Reply

  • Paul Brookes (10/31/2015 5:15:00 AM)

    What can one say it is such a heartfelt poem the picture you pint is painfully truthful and conveys the bewilderment of dementia with a keen yet sympathetic eye Great poem (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, October 31, 2015

Poem Edited: Thursday, November 23, 2017

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