Fused, but not at the hip

Fused but not at the hip

I was standing at the front desk, chatting to another work colleague and an awkward scrawny middle-aged man came up to the counter. I was in the watch-house at the Police Station. Being closest, I turned to talk to him. Behind me, I could feel everyone else cringe. I wasn’t sure why, but it dawned on me as I chatted with him to find out what he was here for, why the audible intake of air from my colleagues. I was just in work zone and had been troubleshooting all day.

Let me start from the beginning. When I turned up for work that morning – it was like 4 am or something horrific, being shift work. Anyway, we had three women and a man in our team that night and as shift changed over everyone caught up and swapped information – did the hand over thing. Of course we all gossiped about things we had dealt with, seen or heard that day, what the constables had been up to, failed at, succeeded in catching, blah blah blah and of course, some real oddities and this was one of them.

A young detective came into the office after his shift to catch up with us. I must say, he looked a little green around the gills but I didn’t think anything about it at the time. He gathered those of us who wanted to see (only myself and the guy I worked with), some evidential photographs of a case of abuse. It took a couple of seconds for him to get his personal screen and files up. He knew I was interested in the abuse of the vulnerable, certainly children, but the animals, handicapped and elderly were all in my sights and desperately needed help. So the photos upload to his screen and I take a second to understand what I’m looking at. I thought a burnt body initially and then realised she was on a gurney in a hospital with tubes and an oxygen mask swallowing her “White-walker”-type face. I turned to the detective and with a rather incredulous tone asked him if she was actually alive.

“She is,” he said, “she’s still alive. This woman’s son was supposedly looking after her. Somebody who managed to finally get into the house found her and called an ambulance.”

“I just can’t believe someone so thin is still sucking in air! And how old is she?” Her dirty, mottled skin was just managing to cling to the bones of her body. She was filthy – hadn’t been washed properly in years.

“She’s 92. When we got to the hospital they told us that it was a miracle. I personally think maybe not – poor woman. Her son hadn’t fed her properly or washed her, medical needs ignored. She had maggots crawling around in her vagina…”

“What the fuck! Are you serious man!?” I was mortified.

“I knew you’d love this case Kait,” he said smiling up at me from the desk chair. ” Not only that but her toes had fused themselves together – there was green mould and a stink you would never believe possible. She smelt dead but was breathing – the living dead, literally!” he looked quite pleased with himself at the reality of his reference.

“I’m absolutely stunned! So what did her son say…has he been arrested then?” I ask.

“No, not yet anyway – he’s coming in to be assessed by the psyche team and questioned. Apparently he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong…whatever!”

“Good grief! Who’s he been sleeping with if he thinks it’s normal for flies to come out of a woman’s hoohaa!” We had a bit of a giggle – it’s like that in the face of horror. Apparently she had gangrene as well, on her fingers and other extremities. One of the worst abuse cases I’ve ever seen and I’m sure many of the police – even seasoned ones – felt that way too.

So the day carried on and we had all sorts of shit hitting the fan – parolees, detainees, people who had lost kids, found kids, P cooks, drunken idiots, abusive situations – just the usual crap.

So anyway here is this awkward guy in front of me. I am my usual helpful self and ask him what I can do. He tells me he’s here for an interview with a certain detective. I contact the right detective to come and get him from the watch-house, in the meanwhile I say “So are you having a good day?” just to be polite and make his wait in a police station a little less awkward. I had no idea what he was here for – he could be being interviewed as a witness for all I knew. Well this was a trigger question for him as he just spilled his guts to me about how he had hurt his mother even though he was trying to look after her. He told me about the maggots and the mould – as if I was giving him the interview. It only took him a few minutes to vent his story and he stood quietly with his head down in front of my counter.

“How come you didn’t clean her or help her to clean herself?” I asked cautiously, making eye contact with him.

“Well….I….I….” he bumbled along.

“It’s OK,” I said “you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to…” I trailed off.

He looked pleadingly up at me and I could see tears peeking out of the corners of his eyes.

“I want to.” he whispered.

I kept quiet.

He took a deep breath in and said “That’s my mum y’know ? I don’t want to wash her there or her top chest or anything! It’s not right…I’m her son – not even a daughter – I couldn’t do it!” The tears fell off his face. After initially feeling slightly ill talking to him, I found I was feeling sorry for him.

“Hell, I can understand that.” And I certainly could.

“So can you tell me why she’s so thin then? Why didn’t you feed her anything?” I pushed on through because there must be some accountability here. How can he get out of this one? Surely if he’d fed her she wouldn’t look like this. I tried to keep the picture of the poor old woman in my head, the decrepit, stinking semi-corpse that was his mother, to give her justice and keep a strong mind in this.

“I tried – I tried everything but she wouldn’t eat anything! I tried to force her but she choked so badly I was afraid to give her anything…I know now that this was wrong…” he looked down at his shoes, the tears still rolling off his nose and landing on the stations’ loud carpet. “She was my mum and she used to beat the crap outta me if I talked back or didn’t do as she bid. So I listened to her when she shook her head away from the spoon or growled at me, I left her alone….I was scared…” A slipknot of snot was making it’s way out of his nose and I tried desperately to keep a gag down. I managed. I passed him a box of tissues gingerly – not wanting to touch his skin at all.

Thankfully the detective who was going to do the interview arrived and took him through the security doors to an interview room. I stood there for a moment and realised where the blame lay in this. Society, society was to blame. Yes, he was at fault for not contacting the hospital or some sort of care for his mother, but he didn’t know anyone would help him. Surely if his neighbours had just said hello once in a while to the slightly, strange, creepy guy he might not be suffering endless guilt as it dawns on him in his slow mind what he has actually done. And his mother would not have had to suffer the enduring starvation and pain she had. It is about accountability – but who is accountable? We call ourselves a welfare state but whose welfare are we really caring for? I consider this man and his mother both victims in this instance and a severe failure on our many organisations parts. He was charged with numerous offences relating to the abuse of the elderly. I wondered if he wanted to lay charges against his mum for what she had done to him – for the monster she had created in him who would become her living nightmare.

What’s really sad is he will more than likely end up like his mum did….

© Kait King, 2015

Advertisements

The Slavering Beast

13ghosts bipolar schizo

He could see

and feel

a slavering beast

He could smell it’s

breath

see it’s sharpened

yellow teeth

It wanted him

to do

bad things

It felt like the

Devil with Hate

Not his usual state

of being

but any Angel

with wings

was going to be too late

It said that nobody

nobody

gave

two shits

And do everyone a

favour

Go ahead

slit your wrists

Kait King 2016

I wish I could tell her

I wish I could tell her

While she’s trying harder

working it out

all her problems, hangups, pity and

self-doubt

And she tries too hard to achieve

because she’s lonely, angry,

she’s had no love to eat

And as far as this woman knows

it’s like a picture, no – a painting

or a movie, too slow

As far as this woman knows

it’s like fighting the fight

but not a fight that you chose

So she’s crying alone

no sleep at night

I wish I could find her

and tell her –

it will all be all right

© Kait King, 2015

Another Opportunity

opportunity

Yes love,

that’s exactly

what you do

Dust yourself off

once you’ve

pulled yourself up

and sing

dance

stand tall

Honey if you

think about it

it’s not the first time

and be sure

it will not be the last

You know the rights

from the wrongs

Don’t ever let them change

your song

With a Nelson Mandelian

grace

and a dignity dug from the deep

You will triumph

and in a cloud of

dust, like a rolling

Pig Pen

You flagrantly walk

your walk into

another opportunity

© Kait King, 2016

Crystal Meth-I-Didn’t-Mean (Methamphetamine)

methididntmean-drugabuse_shutterstock-164052779-blowing-smoke-cloud-meth-fi

Crystal Meth

An addicts’ breath

Inhales a smoky dream

In reality

You’re never free

Just a brains’ endless scream

Crystal Meth

Talk in depth

Required by any means

Close to death

That last crystal breath

It’s not as great as it seems

Crystal Meth

Families bereft

Bury a loved one, crying

Cold caress

This Crystal Meth

And our children keep on dying

© Kait King, 2016

Rock Bottom

Rock bottom

I hit rock bottom

I sat on that bottom rock

weeds and roots tethered me close

and not in a Lovers’ Lock

Catatonic in my despair

broken like a car crash victim

I clutched at straws and sucked in air

feeling like I needed Lithium

Overwhelmed by what I’m not

broken by what I was

fighting what it has to be

a fallen star, a lost cause, tell it as it is

that old me will never leave

it’s a part of what makes me

my body may have let me down

but when I write – I’m free

© Kait King, 2015

Lucky

Lucky

Every second we suck in air, a child is hurt or dying somewhere in the world – that makes air a pretty high commodity and a very expensive way to look at breathing our air. Therefore make it worthwhile, make it count, but make it count in love and kindness, caring and passing on joy – not just to children but to all. Breathe your air with purpose, you’re really lucky, every day is a blessing 🙂 Kait King 2016

Last thought in a Playground

playground thought

She’s beating the

crap out of me

I want to be

retaliatory

But I can’t find a gap

to even try

and hit back

She kicks me in

my side

Everyone there wants to see

me cry

I can hear their

jeering calls

of magnified echoes

charging through halls

This strange metamorphosis

in sound

is my ticket off

the gravelly ground

And I can see myself

lying there

The group of bystanders

shout and cheer

My body, I see

crumpled like

a sack

And I never even got a chance

to throw a punch back

© Kait King, 2015

Just Because….

Just because

Just because he’s fat

you can’t leave him out

like that

And even if it’s so

inside he’s like you,

y’know

And even when we’re angry

and think we are not wrong

it’s best to love and forgive

and learn to get along

Just because she’s different

and cannot see by choice

take a moment to listen

to her gifted singing voice

Because everyone’s born perfect

from different points of view

and the world would really be

quite boring

if they were all like me

and you

© Kait King, 2016

Fandamily

family-guy-3

I knew I loved this family

from the very start

It felt like I’d always been there

and we’d never been apart

With our delicious little secrets

and our family photo art

Boisterous family dinners

and cheeky, jeering remarks

Mum’s delicious orange chicken and

her cinnamon apple tart

I knew I loved this family

from the very start

© Kait King, 2016

Foot in mouth disease

foot in mouth

I loved university. I loved being up to my eyeballs in something I was fascinated with. The challenges and deadlines were all bonuses on top of the actual subject and I rose to greet each one. Anyway that’s by the by, so I’m in the lecture theater and the lecture is about to end. I know I’m getting a phone call very shortly so I excuse myself to go outside to wait for the call.

I get outside and there’s a kid doubled over, sitting pretty much folded over on the side bench. I wander to the bench, my phone out, texting and looking up as I walk. And I sit down on his right side. He shuffles over a little to make room. He is not moving much and my curiosity gets the better of me and I surreptitiously glance sideways at him. Yep, he is totally bent in half, but I do see his phone in his hand and he’s got his left hand side of his face plastered to his phone. Not the left hand side as in, his ear and talking, I mean like with his eye and not talking. Possibly taking a picture of his eye? Or the pupil of his eye? So without thinking for another second I pipe up with “I think you need glasses by the looks of things!” and chuckled a little, breaking the ice and everything. And this is my problem – my brain doesn’t engage with my mouth or vice versa – they work independently (against me!) so this is where I have ended up with this Foot in Mouth Disease – I’m a a frequent flyer.

Well, this kid looks up at me and one eye is covered with that cloud, the cloud that means that they can’t see much of anything out of that eye and the other one is scarred too.

He says, “It’s the only way I can see my texts – glasses won’t help…” I’m sitting there like an idiot. But I did what I usually do and chose not to ignore the elephant.

“So what happened to your eyes?” I asked.

He looked up from his phone again – well, as best as he could, and explained that he had been walking down Queen Street and it was winter. A super stormy day, and Queen Street can become like a wind tunnel on days like that. He had a jacket on that zipped up and as he grappled in the wind with it, the zip sliced across his eye, blinding him totally in his right eye and severely impinging on his sight in his left.

“I’m so sorry dude – really impressed you’re at university…I didn’t mean to be rude by the way….” I trailed off. He smiled, “It’s OK,” he says to me, ” at least you didn’t just walk away – that’s the worst. Everyone knows something’s up with my fricken vision. Lots of people don’t know what to do when they’re confronted with something unexpected…”

We were silent for a split second.

“I’m sorry this happened to you…. but I see in spite of a universal fuck-up in your life, you’re still here, still givin’ it all that!” he laughed at me and I laughed too.

“Often people so let the wrong things define who they are, or the worst things. The fact that you rise above this defines who you are.” He looked at me with a serious frown, somewhat created due to his lack of vision.

“Thank you for that, I needed to hear that right now…” he said.

I didn’t know his name but I did know much more about him than just some letters to identify him to his friends, family, fellow students and work colleagues. Not only that, but I found out even more about myself, or maybe about people. We all share commonalities – common likes, enemies, feelings, injustices etc. We all share bonds and those deeper threads of what make us who we are are far more interesting and important than your name, your clothes, your home, car, bank account…we truly are here to fill our souls and not our wallets. I take my soul with me when I go – I will leave my earthly belongings behind.

© Kait King, 2015

I remember you Dad

I remember you Dad

I remember being only

knee-high to a grasshopper

and you would twirl me around

you let me stand on your feet

and danced with me

while I clutched at your

chino trousers or

the creases on your business suit

You never minded

we always danced

I remember pouring your drink

two fingers of Glen Morangie

two fingers being my index and little

but not really

I mixed that whiskey with two blocks of ice

and a dash of chilled water

I remember how you would savour it

in the South African sunlight

at the end of your day

I remember the love of words and animals

you gifted to us all

your funniness

and sense of justice

I remember you telling me

to eat my crusts

so that I would grow hair on my chest

and I did – eat them, not grow hairs on my chest…

I remember you used to type

business letters on my belly

and I was an old typewriter with a runner

and a “ding!”

which tickled the hell out of me

“Dear sir” you would type

I’m shrieking with delight

And the photo’s that I have

I remember you Dad

© Kait King, 2015

With love and dedication to my incredible father – the walking Encyclopaedia, the uncapped academic – I miss you, we all do xxx