Like convicts in shackles
they walk with a shuffle
they spit out words and teeth
dentists are for the middle-classes.
pliers do the job and are cheap
Medication keeps the head voices quiet
strait jackets no longer necessary
submission comes in a syringe
or a pill bottle.
smiles when they come,
disappearing quickly at the recollection
of not having asked permission.
spontaneous acts are not allowed for
community treatment orders protect
people from themselves
Long as you take your meds
don’t talk too loud
don’t take up too much room,
don’t pick up butts in the street
don’t scare children and old ladies
then you can live out in the community
- with the rest of the mentally well
Institutions are a thing of the past,
Copyright Mary Pomfret Published in Windmills 2011