I’m a person first: a poem about finding my identity

Born on a council estate, couldn’t relate,

Not special, not wild – just council house child;

Feeling awry, not knowing why.

Migration across the world, senses unfurled,

becoming a Pom – caught in maelstrom;

Feeling awry, not knowing why.

Learned language: the twang, idiom and slang,

Then back to Britain – new script unwritten

Foreigner once more, strangeness I wore, nerves stripped raw;

Dumped in a Secondary Mod – wrong place – odd-bod,

Loving school, never cool, acted the fool

Being awry, not knowing why.

A change of school at seventeen,

New people – boys – didn’t want to be seen,

Felt so strange, too much change

Mind didn’t fit, dug into a pit

Imploded in rage, refuge and cage,

Tears and screams, mind’s means,

Behaviour awry, not knowing why.

Medication upped, hospital tried,

ECT thrown in, I knew they lied;

Alcohol solace, body traded for love,

Wrong foot wrong shoe wrong hand wrong glove

escape through soulless days and nights,

hating loving fighting flights

Needing to die, not knowing why.

Optimism burst, self-image worst, but a person first.