Carcinogenic Poetry Recap No. 2


The first time I met David, he bit me.

I am standing outside the hospital, the old gates to the hospital, Victorian arches, that are lonely left, un-instituted, and substituted by modern housing, housing us, separately, Barrat-barracked solitude. David is with me, he stands near me, still nervous after twenty years away. Today is supposed to be a celebration. We’ve come to show him that Grove Park, that dark Victorian bedlam has gone. It is not a celebration. It is a dancing on graves, brave laughter of the survivors of the system, cistern pumped and thumped so many times it blunted, became blunt. We are blunt in our un-feeling, our, oh so revealing, blindness to what is right before our eyes, is wrong before our eyes.

The first time I met David, he bit me.

I am standing outside the hospital and I at least smile, my wry-dry-trying-to-be-empathetic-turning out pathetic smile. This is his pain not mine. I cannot borrow it to look good. I shouldn’t even try, but I do. Twenty five years of ward-ridden bored-written boredom are his to forgive. He does not. He remembers the beatings and the rapes, the hunger and the hurt, the lies to his parents, when they came, if they came. We all hid him, hid from him, like that aunt you never spoke of, choked on the Christmas cards your mother sent; poor recompense for the unvisited, the forgotten.

The first time I met David, he bit me and called me “nurse”. He had a fear of tall men with glasses. The care plan said…”Autism is his world, you are the uninvited guest. Learn to speak his language”. I have never read a better “Care Plan”.

I am standing outside the hospital, and David turns and takes my hand. He wants to leave, not touch me. I understand. We go. And that is the end of it. The taking of stock, the paying of debts for a social work system that never even knew. These are his pains, his wounds, and I am grateful they are his, to forgive, let go….or know forever.

The first time I met David, he bit me.

I can see why.

Si Philbrook lives in Brighton (UK) and is married with two kids. His day job is working with people with learning disabilities. As a poet he has been published online and in print in various journals and e-zines including: Poetry Monthly (UK), The Recusant, Eviscerator Heaven, Heroin Love Songs, The Copeland Love Poems Collection, LIT UP MAGAZINE, The Argus Newspaper, Cherry Picked Hands, The Plebian Rag, and others.

Originally published on December 3, 2009 at Carcinogenic Poetry.

Carcinogenic Poetry Accepting Submissions

Carcinogenic Poetry is a brand new poetry blog publishing poems of the absurd, non traditional and new thought writing as well. The truth is to lies like cancer, and with this fact in mind, Carcinogenic strives to bring voices that radiate among the independent and underground lit realm. The work at Carcinogenic Poetry speaks. Already a number of poets and writers have lined up to share their work in a presentation of indiscriminate creativity and truth.


 Some poets who’ve been featured at Carcinogenic Poety:

Peycho Kanev

A.J. Kaufmann

Carly Bryson

Holly Jaffe

Kevin Reid

Richard Fein

Michael McAloran

Howie Good

Si Philbrook

Michael Lee Johnson 

There is more  great work to come from Carcinogenic Poetry. If you’d like to share your work, please send an e-mail to michael (dot) aaron (dot) casares (at) gmail (dot) com. You may send up to five poems in the body of your email. Please include a two to three line bio. You may submit previously published work, but you must inform us of where this work has previously appeared. Simultaneous submissions are fine as well, but please let us know immediately when any work in submission has been accepted for publication by another entity. Authors and poets keep all rights to their work, but Virgogray Press & Carcinogenic Poetry reserve the right to archive your work and use in future print editions and/or publications. At Carcinogenic Poetry, we are not concerned with your publishing history or acquired degrees, we just want the stuff you believe in.


Other Publishing Opportunities

Though Virgogray Press is closed to chapbook manuscript submissions for the time being, we are still accepting submissions of work for the above mentioned, Carcinogenic Poetry, and our Virgogray Press Chapbook Anthologies. The VGP Chapbook Anthology Series has a new publication scheduled for release in the first months of 2010 called “America Remember” and is an anthology of poetry about the philosophies and ideas that founded the United States of America. If you have poetry or prose or polemics in this vein, you are welcome to submit your work to Virgogray Press. Those accepted for publication will receive two contributors copies. Unfortunately we cannot offer monetary payment for the publication of author’s work. Work considered for publication in any of the Virgogray Chapbook Anthologies must be previously unpublished and simultaneous submissions are discouraged! The new deadline for “America Remembered” is January 22, 2010 so please send in your work soon!

Virgogray Press Chapbook Anthologies are released quarterly and collect poems thematically calculated to fit the vision of the issue. The next anthologies will have the theme of “mothers” so prepare your poetry and prose and get it over to us.

If you’ve read or purchased any of our previous anthologies, you know it is a collection of voices that has no bias to style or development, but ring through with a clarity that originates with the gifts of the creative. Submit to the Virgogray Press Chapbook Anthologies… “America Remembered” is waiting to hear you.