Thanks for nothing Yasmin

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You tell and retell the same tired old stories
about your family’s shame and your vain past glories.
It doesn’t matter that you know I’ve heard it before
you have to tell it at least ten times more.
You’ve never been discreet and you don’t really care
about a small exaggeration here and there.
For thirty-eight years you’ve never let me speak
you cut me off almost every time I squeak.
I’ve always been polite, I always had a smile
though I’ve felt like slapping you once in a while.

Now and again your verbal domination
has been squashed by me for a short duration,
and over the years you have learned
of my hatred of drugs and how I’ve been burned
by two of my childrens’ predilections
for self medicating and picking up addictions.

My son’s in prison on the brink of release
and if he stays straight I will have some peace.
It’s his fourth time out and I’m hoping this time
he’s properly recovered and will tow the line.
As for my daughter, she’s been driven half mad
by the complex cocktail of drugs she’s had,
and even an optimistic soul such as I
has to accept that pretty soon she’ll die.

My own drug history is pretty bare;
I smoked a bit of cannabis here and there,
forty years ago for a month or two,
as it seemed like the sociable thing to do,
until I found the confidence to turn my head
and concentrate on getting on with life instead;
I turned down speed, coke and LSD;
It wasn’t the right kind of life for me.
My friends disapproved, said I wasn’t cool,
but I reckoned it was better than being a fool.

I try try to keep in a healthy state,
but I can’t help worrying about my offsprings’ fate.
I’ve fought the effects for the past ten years
while my kids’ lives were crashing around my ears.
No-one know the dark places I have travelled;
is it any wonder I’m becoming unravelled?
My doctor and psychiatrist both agree
I’m suffering from a bad case of anxiety.
As soon as I relax I fall to the ground
no matter who happens to be around.
I’m not asleep but I can hear their talk,
I’m just unable to get up and walk.

For thirty eight years I’ve called you my friend,
even though you’ve driven me around the bend.
I’ve always been loyal and I got used to it
but I no longer like you one little bit.
I could take your nonsense and your self-obsession;
I could take your ignorance of my depression;
I could take your blagging and your dirty con tricks,
but what you’ve done now has made me feel sick.
You say I’m doing drugs though you know it’s not true;
I wouldn’t take a pill if I had the flu,
I’ve even been offered opioids in the past
for raging toothache, but I stuck fast.

I don’t take drugs because it causes strife,
I don’t take drugs because I want a life.
I do all I can to look after myself,
I don’t care for money but I care for my health.
I could think of a lot of hurtful things to say
about all of your crimes, but I’ll call it a day.
I know you just couldn’t stop your yakety yak
but you’ve said it now and there’s no turning back.
I don’t take drugs Yasmin – understand this;
I’ve removed your name from my Christmas card list.

Β©Jane Paterson Basil

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34 thoughts on “Thanks for nothing Yasmin

    1. Thank you! I usually write a vitriolic poem when someone upsets me – it helps me to move on. Occasionally I leave it lying around where they’ll find it. But I won’t this time, or the woman will bug me for weeks, denying any wrong doing.

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    1. I’ve tolerated her for years – even defending her against critisism. I don’t think she’s once asked how I am; not even when I was in agony with a gall bladder infection. We now live in the same block of flats, and she’s been driving me crazy. She’s selfish and thoughtless, but she hides it under a mask of fake kindness. She asks me “How’s my lovely Paul getting on,” (she has a soft spot for him, so she says) then talks over me when I try to answer. This drugs thing is the last straw. All my adult life people have assumed I take drugs, they think I’m a hippy for some reason. I don’t think I look like a hippy. And she KNOWS how I feel about drugs, and about any suggestion that I take them. Sorry – rant over.

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    1. She must have done this kind of thing before – she’s always telling me about people who she no longer speaks to, because they’ve been rude to her. Hmm…
      It’s strange being surrounded with lonely, bored people who have little intelligence. All they have is bingo once a week, and other than that they have to make their own entertainment. I wish they’d all go and get voluntary work – it’s not hard to find, but I think they’re too lazy.

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  1. How do we manage to pick up such toxic people and why are they so hard to shake off? People talking over you when you’re speaking is a bugbear of mine – those folk who don’t have a conversation, but are merely wating for a gap so they can speak again. She sounds selfish, hideous. I hope you can avoid her Jane.

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    1. Can’t. She lives in the flat by the front door, and she sticks her head out of the window to tell me – for the unpteenth time – about what Bill (in the end flat downstairs) did a week ago – as if I don’t know he slashed his wrists last Monday and he’s still in hospital. NOW they all care about him.

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      1. Oh, lord. What a shame she isn’t tucked away in some (avoidable) corner somewhere. Poor Bill, having his misfortunes gossiped about like that. I hate how people talk about these personal tragedies as if they’re just stories in a soap opera. Hope he’s well soon. And she can go boil her head πŸ™‚

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        1. Bill needs a lot of help, both mental and physical. He’s been sent to an Exeter hospital today, so I can’t go to see him. Turns out the man who was most conspicuous in criticising him – he’d stand outside Bill’s window and loudly proclaim his faults – has visited him twice. Hmm…

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          1. Aren’t people odd? Though I suppose not that surprising as critical man probably now feels guilty / partly responsible for Bill being so poorly. Nowt so queer as folk. Hope Bill gets all the help he needs

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            1. He didn’t slash his wrists after all. He has a variety of medical conditions – all the standard ones that people risk if they don’t look after themselves, which goes for most of those in this building.
              I’ve just been following a silent train of thought, and I’ve had such an obvious thought – we sit outside in the evenings, when it’s to hot in our flats.The two men sit get there first. They sit on the bench. Yasmin follows. hey don’t make room for her. She sits opposite. I go outside. A space opens up, in the middle, for me. Even before I began joining them they never made room for her. Duh! I have the explanation for a couple of things not all of which involve me…

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    1. She has never been well. She wasn’t ready for the umbilical cord to be cut. If she could die where she belongs – in my arms – it wouldn’t be so bad. She would die knowing I loved her.
      Thank you Alan – always – thank you.

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  2. Once upon a time I had a friend who was doped up to his eyeballs most days. I saw him change from smart and witty to paranoid and moody. I don’t understand why people do this to themselves? Is it to fit in? Or cause they don’t love themselves? What? And no offense, but its better to have no friends than such friends who don’t think twice before their verbal diarrheal episodes.

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    1. There are so many reasons, but one of them is that the bit of wiring in the brain which connects cause and effect often doessn’t meet up properly until we are out of our teens. The age is higher for boys – this is known. They think drugs are fun, they want to try them all, and so it goes on. It’s claimed that most addicts have undelying mental or emotional issues which make them more prone to need to escape. In the end, it’s down to personality type, – not everyone who has problems turns to drugs – opportunity, peer-group pressure, disadvantaged childhood (but not real poverty, as I’m sure you know, someone who is regularly hungry will choose food over drugs – which is why I say that we in the West have the luxury of being able to afford to mess our lives up). It’s a pretty disgusting world when some spend hundreds of dollars every week to destroy their lives, while others starve and drink sewage-tainted water, because that’s all there is.
      Sometimes friends are more like tumours that grow inside, without you even knowing about them until they start to affect your well-being. You’re right – it’s time to cut it out πŸ™‚

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        1. Ha! That’s an astute observation, from one who observes.
          I’ve tried both – although I’ve only gone for prescribed medication, and rarely. I’ve come to the conclusion that meditation is by far the less harmful option πŸ™‚

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