Graham Bishop is a mountain lover, scientist, and writer who lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. He writes in all genres, but his forte is non-fiction. His latest book is the highly acclaimed historical biography, The Real McKay.
"Secrets" reflect his near-annihilation at the hands of the mental health services when he was misdiagnosed by nine out of ten psychiatrists when recovering from a stroke.
DEATH IS A COLD RIVER
Peter Walstead was expelled from Xanadu,
when the dope ran out.
because in his happy way he used too much paper.
his moon face always smiling.
until they carbonised him and hope dried up.
He ran up the Pigroot, across the Maniototo,
and down the Styx.
he ran like a hound, so the doctors wouldn't catch him.
he ran past the apricots, grapes, and Raspberry until he
reached the mighty Matukituki.
But the taste of freedom hurt his mouth.
and his hands were cut and bleeding.
and his eyes faded in the bright light.
and he twitched like an early epileptic.
He dipped his head in water to cool the fire.
The rest of him slipped in so easily.
no need to say goodbye
KEEP THE CHANGE
With $70 I can just afford to die
thirty for the bus, the same for Scotch
nine for the last supper
and a dollar in case user pays has got to heaven
the cliff top is only metres from the bus stop but
where the kelp beckons
swirling and sucking around tonsured rocks
is a long way down
Warm and womb-like in my old sleeping bag
the day sinks
slowly in the sea
poised like a rocket
to fall or fly
the ground a bit unsteady now
I sink another Scotch
and agree as I light another smoke
it's a certain way of giving up
I read once more the note
to the ignorant Gestapo of the mind
How can they understand so little?
Arms in or out
baby or bird
the red cloud of night falls