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Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

I wrote this poem for Mental Health Awareness Week.  I use the term ‘black noise’ as the opposite to white noise, in that it is a nagging, nagging, nagging voice very much at the forefront of your mind that you just can’t stop hearing, no matter how hard you try…

I speak. YOU SHOUT! I try to reason. YOU SHOUT! I withdraw. 

Why don’t you hear me?  I hear you 

constantly.

We are no longer one:

different entities. Enemies. 

Black noise: silence 

screaming through my brain;

spiders scuttling through my veins;

darkness suffocating my moans

with air so charged I daren’t turn on the light.

Alone and trapped, energy sapped, hands wrapped around the bottle: the 

black label invites me to creep deep inside to forget 

till steeped in sleep and 

 

free.

I escape 

to the sea 

and I breathe.

Slow 

soothing 

undulations,

waves whooshing,

worries washing 

away.

The wind 

wraps around me,

holds me.

Shh.  

Shh.  

It’s all ok.

Shh.

 

Waking, traffic snaking uphill, red lights braking, drivers shaking their fists. 

Motion sickness, the pulsing ululation beating away at my landlocked brain.

No, no, no…not this again…

I’m alone but you’re there, always there,

gnawing at my self-worth, my self, my health.

You nearly killed us then!  How did you pass your test? 

Don’t slam the door! You’re so ham-fisted! 

A band around my head, inside my head:

drums thudding, cymbals crashing, a crescendo of tortured violins.

How do I stop this noise? How do I stop it?  HOW DO I STOP IT?!  

 

I had to end it, so that’s what I did.

There is no you.

 

The relief is brief.

 

I buried you – but not deep enough; 

you reach up through the black mud, 

wailing, screaming, blowflies buzzing, 

spiders scuttling through my veins. 

The black noise 

remains.

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