A Mental Patients' Union
Two poems by Paige Murphy and a moment with Unica Zurn
Paige Murphy offers us two of their poems with an explainer, which we normally don’t publish, but this one is charming and about a trout, so we’ll make an exception.
“The title for the first poem refers to the image that is sort of the founding symbol of the (psychiatric survivor's movement) in the UK, a fish trapped on a hook. inspired by psychoanalyst Karl Menninger's analogy:
‘When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked on a line and finds himself unable to swim about freely, he begins a fight which results in struggles and splashes and sometimes escapes. Often, of course, the situation is too tough for him. In the same way, the human being struggles with his environment and with the hooks that catch him.’
The image was included on a manifesto published in the 1970s proposing a mental patients’ union. The other poem is inspired in small part by Unica Zurn (emo vibes here).”
If you you like what follows, you can get more of Paige and other poets at their Power and Pleasure in Poetry event at the ICA on April 13th, as part of the Decriminalised Futures exhibition, or read them in Salvage. RA.
fish on a hook sticky detoxified organs crystalline pink sugar fluff legal insanity cocoa butter for posterity handle-less door for long life no knickers lamb heart positive mental attitude small steps to clonzepam jelly custard complete loss integral to structure operation condor it’s not as if there were never conspiracies of unliveability 300 cameras a day as if they don’t broad daylight murder with legal consensus like names dates badge number drinking poison infected air proves it like the perversion of love reason kindness british values priorities dropped picked up confused born in the lost & found stories earlier heard body touched squirmed the words for it don’t stand up in court your dreams may not be submitted as evidence consciousness graphs only madness made sharpened with violent vacant intent theres words words words for it for some creatures still exist fangs in language demutilated animated hole the verbs equal blunt wield wield them at the head that’s where you kill
seedbloodsilk I squat over the mirror to stare into my cunt at the sickness of my labour extended into my kidneys and the despair perfumes droplets I spill my drink on purpose so I’m not tempted to smash the glass no I didn't finish Vol. 1 either it’s getting so cold I think I’ll have another - Paige Murphy Further reading: Gary Indiana on Unica Zurn for Art in America.