The New Asylum – the scorpion is just a picture

This is another poem originally written as part of the material that ended up becoming The New Asylum. This poem was not included in the final cut for the book.The setting is, again, an acute psychiatry unit. The subject of the poem was a larger than life small in stature man, covered in tattoos. It was interesting to me to glimpse beneath the ink and see what I could find.

the scorpion is just a picture

I guess with a guy like this it has to start with fear before you know anything about him before you speak to anyone else before you take the time to watch him to listen you start to assess your fear he’s well aware of it of course but doesn’t understand well he does a bit but not in his heart where he lives see he’s got a green scorpion on top of his head jesus with a crown of thorns on left neck mary on the right tats all over his hands and arms tats everywhere he told me once he got them so he could keep people away like a barrier to protect himself but he can’t understand why they’re afraid of him yeah he gets a bit high gets in everyone’s face into everyone’s business a bit speedy and yeah he’s a bit of a con-artist a favours man a back-scratcher who doesn’t mind reminding you that he did something for you and you could do something nice for him but never nasty no never that just the opposite when he cries and he does cry he’s a little child a sad kid who’s never known love and he falls in on himself as though his heart has broken and the world has collapsed and crumpled he’s organising the funeral now his mother has died and broken his child’s heart at the same time we’re walking to chapel so he can pray but

let’s just go the long way we’ll slip past radiology down by x-ray say hello to pharmacy and then have a cuppa with the security guys

they used to work in a prison that’s where I met them they’re not bad blokes

and on the way back we’ll stop at the gazebo they’re putting these things up as outside smoking areas have you got a dollar I’ll buy a paper

my horse is running second race at the rose hill track

the man is a social animal who’s made himself ambiguous but doesn’t understand why anyone would find him so if he doesn’t hurry he’ll miss out on chapel or have to scratch my back to buy himself some more time ~
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