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martedì 6 dicembre 2011

SARAH KANE, 1: 4.48 PSYCHOSIS [completed around her death in february 1999; on that day Sarah Kane cut her wrists, took an overdose of sedatives and hung herself] [the powers of horror]

[4.48 Psychosis was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London, on 23 June 2000. The cast was as follows: 
Daniel Evans 
Jo McInnes 
Madeline Potter 
Directed by James Macdonald 
Designed by Jeremy Herbert 
Lighting by Nigel J Edwards 
Sound by Paul ]


(A very long silence.
– But you have friends. 
(A long silence.
You have a lot of friends. 
What do you offer your friends to make them so supportive? 
(A long silence.
What do you offer your friends to make them so supportive? 
(A long silence.
What do you offer? 
a consolidated consciousness resides in a darkened banqueting hall near the ceiling of a mind whose floor shifts as ten thousand cockroaches when a shaft of light enters as all thoughts unite in an instant of accord body no longer expellent as the cockroaches comprise a truth which no one ever utters 
I had a night in which everything was revealed to me. 
How can I speak again? 
the broken hermaphrodite who trusted hermself alone finds the room in reality teeming and begs never to wake from the nightmare 
and they were all there 
every last one of them 
and they knew my name 
as I scuttled like a beetle along the backs of their chairs 
Remember the light and believe the light 
An instant of clarity before eternal night 
don't let me forget 
I am sad 
I feel that the future is hopeless and that things cannot improve 
I am bored and dissatisfied with everything 
I am a complete failure as a person 
I am guilty, I am being punished 
I would like to kill myself 
I used to be able to cry but now I am beyond tears 
I have lost interest in other people 
I can't make decisions 
I can't eat 
I can't sleep 
I can't think 
I cannot overcome my loneliness, my fear, my disgust 
I am fat 
I cannot write 
I cannot love 
My brother is dying, my lover is dying, I am killing them both 
I am charging towards my death 
I am terrified of medication 
I cannot make love 
I cannot fuck 
I cannot be alone 
I cannot be with others 
My hips are too big 
I dislike my genitals 
At 4.48 
when depression visits 
I shall hang myself 
to the sound of my lover's breathing 
I do not want to die 
I have become so depressed by the fact of my mortality that I have decided to commit suicide 
I do not want to live 
I am jealous of my sleeping lover and cover his induced unconsciousness 
When he wakes he will envy my sleepless night of thought and speech unslurred by medication 
I have resigned myself to death this year 
Some will call this self-indulgence 
(they are lucky not to know its truth) 
Some will know the simple fact of pain 
This is becoming my normality 
37 38 
21 28 
It wasn't for long, I wasn't there long. But drinking bitter black coffee I catch that medicinal smell in a cloud of ancient tobacco and something touches me in that still place and a wound form two years ago opens like a cadaver and a long buried shame roars its foul decaying grief. 
A room of expressionless faces string blankly at my pain, so devoid of meaning there must be evil intent. 
Dr This and Dr That and Dr Whatsit who's just passing and thought he'd pop in to take the piss as well. Burning in a hot tunnel of dismay, my humiliation complete as I shake without reason and stumble over words and have nothing to say about my 'illness' which anyway amounts only to knowing that there's no point in anything because I'm going to die. And I am deadlocked by that smooth psychiatric voice of reason which tells me there is an objective reality in which my body and mind are one. But I am not here and never have been. Dr This writes it down and Dr That attempts a sympathetic murmur. Watching me, judging me, smelling the crippling failure oozing from my skin, my desperation clawing and all-consuming panic drenching me as I gape in horror at the world and wonder why everyone is smiling and looking at me with secret knowledge of my aching shame. 
Shame shame shame. 
Drown in your fucking shame. 
Inscrutable doctors, sensible doctors, way-out doctors, doctors you'd think were fucking patients if you weren't shown proof otherwise, ask the same questions, put words in my mouth, offer chemical cures for congenital anguish and cover each other's arses until I want to scream for you, the only doctor who ever touched me voluntarily, who looked me in the eye, who laughed at my gallows humour spoken in the voice from the newly-dug grave, who took the piss when I shaved my head, who lied and said it was nice to see me. Who lied. And said it was nice to see me. I trusted you, I loved you, and it's not losing you that hurts me, but your bare-faced fucking falsehoods that masquerade as medical notes. 
Your truth, your lies, not mine. 
And while I was believing that you were different and that you maybe even felt the distress that sometimes flickered across your face and threatened to erupt, you were covering your arse too. Like every other stupid mortal cunt. 
To my mind that's betrayal. And my mind is the subject of these bewildered fragments. 
Nothing can extinguish my anger. 
And nothing can restore my faith. 
This is not a world in which I wish to live. 
– Have you made any plans? 
– Take an overdose, slash my wrists then hang myself. 
– All those things together? 
– It couldn't possibly be misconstrued as a cry for help. 
– It wouldn't work. 
– Of course it would. 
– It wouldn't work. You'd start to feel sleepy from the overdose and wouldn't have the energy to cut your wrists. 
– I'd be standing on a chair with a noose around my neck. 
– If you were alone do you think you might harm yourself? 
– I'm scared I might. 
– Could that be protective? 
– Yes. It's fear that keeps me away from the train tracks. I just hope to God that death is the fucking end. I feel like I'm eighty years old. I'm tired of life and my mind wants to die. 
– That's a metaphor, not reality. 
– It's a simile. 
– That's not reality. 
– It's not a metaphor, it's a simile, but even if it were, the defining feature of a metaphor is that it's real. 
(A long silence.
– You are not eighty years old. 
Are you?  
(A silence.
Are you? 
(A silence.
Or are you? 
(A long silence.
– Do you despise all unhappy people or is it me specifically? 
– I don't despise you. It's not your fault. You're ill. 
– I don't think so. 
– No? 
– No. I'm depressed. Depression is anger. It's what you did, who was there and who you're blaming. 
– And who are you blaming? 
– Myself. 
Body and soul can never be married 
I need to become who I already am and will bellow forever at this incongruity which has committed me to hell 
Insoluble hoping cannot uphold me 
I will drown in dysphoria 
in the cold black pond of my self 
the pit of my immaterial mind 
How can I return to form 
now my formal thought has gone? 
Not a life that I could countenance. 
They will love me for that which destroys me 
the sword in my dreams 
the dust of my thoughts 
the sickness that breeds in the folds of my mind 
Every compliment takes a piece of my soul 
An expressionist nag 
Stalling between two fools 
They know nothing – 
I have always walked free 
Last in a long line of literary kleptomaniacs 
(a time honoured tradition) 
Theft is the holy act 
On a twisted path to expression 
A glut of exclamation marks spells impending nervous breakdown 
Just a word on a page and there is the drama 
I write for the dead 
the unborn 
After 4.48 I shall not speak again 
I have reached the end of his dreary and repugnant tale of a sense interned in an alien carcass and lumpen by the malignant spirit of the moral majority 
I have been dead for a long time 
Back to my roots 
I sing without hope on the boundary 
Sometimes I turn around and catch the smell of you and I cannot go on I cannot fucking go on without expressing this terrible so fucking awful physical aching fucking longing I have for you. And I cannot believe that I can feel this for you and you feel nothing. Do you feel nothing? 
And I go out at six in the morning and start my search for you. If I've dreamt a message of a street or a pub or a station I go there. And I wait for you. 
You know, I really feel like I'm being manipulated. 
I've never in my life had a problem giving another person what they want. But no one's ever been able to do that for me. No one touches me, no one gets near me. But now you've touched me somewhere so fucking deep I can't believe and I can't be that for you. Because I can't find you. 
What does she look like? 
And how will I know her when I see her? 
She'll die, she'll die, she'll only fucking die. 
Do you think it's possible for a person to be born in the wrong body? 
Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you for rejecting me by never being there, fuck you for making me feel shit about myself, fuck you for bleeding the fucking love and life out of me, fuck my father for fucking up my life for good and fuck my mother for not leaving him, but most of all, fuck you God for making me love a person who does not exist, 
– Oh dear, what's happened to your arm? 
– I cut it. 
– That's a very immature, attention seeking thing to do. Did it give you relief? 
– No. 
– Did it relieve the tension? 
– No. 
– Did it give you relief? 
Did it give you relief? 
– No. 
– I don't understand why you did that. 
– Then ask. 
– Did it relieve the tension? 
(A long silence.
Can I look? 
– No. 
– I'd like to look, to see if it's infected. 
– No. 
– I thought you might do this. Lots of people do. It relieves the tension. 
– Have you ever done it? 
– ... 
– No. Far too fucking sane and sensible. I don't know where you read that, but it does not relieve the tension. 
Why don't you ask me why
Why did I cut my arm? 
– Would you like to tell me? 
– Yes. 
Then tell me. 
– ASK. 
(A long silence.
– Why did you cut your arm? 
– Because it feels fucking great. Because it feels fucking amazing. 
– Can I look? 
– You can look. But don't touch. 
– (Looks) And you don't think you're ill? 
– No. 
– I do. It's not your fault. But you have to take responsibility for your own actions. Please don't do it again. 
I dread the loss of her I've never touched 
love keeps me a slave in a cage of tears 
I gnaw my tongue with which to her I can never speak 
I miss a woman who was never born 
I kiss a woman across the years that say we shall never meet 
Everything passes 
Everything perishes 
Everything palls 
my thought walks away with a killing smile 
leaving discordant anxiety 
which roars in my soul 
No hope No hope No hope No hope No hope No hope No hope 
A song for my loved one, touching her absence 
the flux of her heart, the splash of her smile 
In ten years time she'll still be dead. When I'm living with it, dealing with it, when a few days pass when I don't even think of it, she'll still be dead. When I'm an old lady living in the street forgetting my name she'll still be dead, she'll still be dead, she'll still be dead, it's just 
and I must stand alone 
My love, my love, why have you forsaken me? 
She is the couching place where I never shall lie 
and there's no meaning to life in the light of my loss 
Built to be lonely 
to love the absent 
Find me 
Free me 
from this 
corrosive doubt 
futile despair 
horror in repose 
I can fill my space 
fill my time 
but nothing can fill this void in my heart 
The vital need for which I would die 
– No ifs or buts. 
– I didn't say if or but, I said no. 
– Can't must never have-to always won't should shan't. 
The unnegotiables 
Not today. 
– Please. Don't switch off my mind by attempting to straighten me out. Listen and understand, and when you feel contempt don't express it, at least not verbally, at least not to me. 
– I don't feel contempt. 
– No? 
– No. It's not your fault. 
– It's not your fault, that's all I ever hear, it's not your fault, it's an illness, it's not your fault, I know it's not my fault. You've told me that so often I'm beginning to think it is my fault. 
– It's not your fault. 
– I KNOW. 
– But you allow it. 
Don't you? 
– There's not a drug on earth can make life meaningful. 
– You allow this state of desperate absurdity. 
You allow it. 
– I won't be able to think. I won't be able to work. 
– Nothing will interfere with your work like suicide. 
– I dreamt I went to the doctor's and she gave me eight minutes to live. I'd been sitting in the fucking waiting room half an hour. 
(A long silence.
Okay, let's do it, let's do the drugs, let's do the chemical lobotomy, let's shut down the higher functions of my brain and perhaps I'll be a bit more fucking capable of living. 
Let's do it. 
abstraction to the point of 
I don't imagine 
that a single soul 
or will 
and if they did 
I don't think 
that another soul 
a soul like mine 
or will 
I know what I'm doing 
all too well 
No native speaker 
free form 
obscure to the point of 
True Right Correct 
Anyone or anybody 
Each every all 
drowning in a sea of logic 
this monstrous state of palsy 
still ill 
Symptoms: Not eating, not sleeping, not speaking, no sex drive, in despair, wants to die. 
Diagnosis: Pathological grief. 
Sertraline, 50mg. Insomnia worsened, severe anxiety, anorexia, (weight loss 17kgs,) increase in suicidal thoughts, plans and intention. Discontinued following hospitalisation. 
Zolpiclone, 7.5mg. Slept. Discontinued following rash. Patient attempted to leave hospital against medical advice. Restrained by three male nurses twice her size. Patient threatening and uncooperative. Paranoid thoughts – believes hospital staff are attempting to poison her. 
Melleril, 50mg. Co-operative. 
Lofepramine, 70mg, increased to 140mg, then 210mg. Weight gain 12kgs. Short term memory loss. No other reaction. Argument with junior doctor whom she accused of treachery after which she shaved her head and cut her arms with a razor blade. 
Patient discharged into the care of the community on arrival of acutely psychotic patient in emergency clinic in greater need of a hospital bed. 
Citalopram, 20mg. Morning tremors. No other reaction. 
Lofepramine and Citalopram discontinued after patient got pissed of with side affect and lack of obvious improvement. Discontinuation symptoms: Dizziness and confusion. Patient kept falling over, fainting and walking out in front of cars. Delusional ideas – believes consultant is the antichrist. 
Fluoxetine hydrochloride, trade name Prozac, 20mg, increased to 40mg. Insomnia, erratic appetite, (weight loss 14kgs,) severe anxiety, unable to reach orgasm, homicidal thoughts towards several doctors and drug manufacturers. Discontinued. 
Mood: Fucking angry 
Affect: Very angry. 
Thorazine, 100mg. Slept. Calmer. 
Venlafaxine, 75mg, increased to 150mg, then 225mg. Dizziness, low blood pressure, headaches. No other reaction. Discontinued. 
Patient declined Seroxat. Hypochondria – cites spasmodic blinking and severe memory loss as evidence of tardive dyskinesia and tardive dementia. 
Refused all further treatment. 
100 aspirin and one bottle of Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon, 1986. Patient woke up in a pool of vomit and said 'Sleep with a dog and rise full of fleas.' Severe stomach pain. No other reaction. 
Hatch opens 
Stark light 
the television talks 
full of eyes 
the spirits of sight 
and now I am so afraid 
I'm seeing things 
I'm hearing things 
I don't know who I am 
tongue out 
thought stalled 
the piecemeal crumple of my mind 
Where do I start? 
Where do I stop? 
How do I start? 
(As I mean to go on) 
How do I stop? 
How do I stop? 
How do I stop? 
How do I stop? 
A tab of pain 
How do I stop? Stabbing my lungs 
How do I stop? A tab of death 
How do I stop? Squeezing my heart 
I'll die 
not yet 
but it's here 
Every act is a symbol 
the weight of which crushes me 
A dotted line on the throat 
I beg you to save me from this madness that eats me 
a sub-intentional death 
I thought I should never speak again 
but now I know there is something blacker than desire 
perhaps it will save me 
perhaps it will kill me 
a dismal whistle that is the cry of heartbreak around the hellish bowl at the ceiling of my mind 
a blanket of roaches 
cease this war 
My legs are empty 
Nothing to say 
And there is the rhythm of madness 
– I gassed the Jews, I killed the Kurds, I bombed the Arabs, I fucked small children while they begged for mercy, the killing fields are mine, everyone left the party because of me, I'll suck your fucking eyes out sent them to your mother in a box and when I die I'm going to be reincarnated as your child only fifty times worse and as mad as all fuck I'm going to make your life a living fucking hell I REFUSE I REFUSE I REFUSE LOOK AWAY FROM ME 
– It's all right. 
– It's all right. I'm here. 
– Look away from me 
Why am I stricken? 
I saw visions of God 
and it shall come to pass 
Grid yourselves: 
for ye shall be broken in pieces 
it shall come to pass 
Behold the light of despair 
the glare of anguish 
and ye shall be driven to darkness 
If there is blasting 
(there shall be blasting) 
the names of offenders shall be shouted form the rooftops 
Fear God 
and his wicked convocation 
a scall on my skin, a seethe in my heart 
a blanket of roaches on which we dance 
this infernal state of siege 
All this shall come to pass 
all the words of my noisome breath 
Remember the light and believe the light 
Christ is dead 
and the monks are in ecstasy 
We are the abjects 
who depose our leaders 
and burn incense unto Baal 
Come now, let us reason together 
Sanity is found in the mountain of the Lord's house on the 
horizon of the soul that eternally recedes 
The head is sick, the heart's caul torn 
Thread the ground on which wisdom walks 
Embrace beautiful lies – 
the chronic insanity of the sane 
the wrenching begins 
– At 4.48 when sanity visits for one hour and twelve minutes I am in my right mind. When it has passed I shall be gone again, a fragmented puppet, a grotesque fool. Now I am here I can see myself but when I am charmed by vile delusions of happiness, the foul magic of this engine of sorcery, I cannot touch my essential self. 
Why do you believe me then and now? 
Remember the light and believe the light. Nothing matters more. Stop judging by appearances and make a right judgement. 
– It's all right. You will get better. 
– Your disbelief cures nothing. Look away from me. 
Hatch opens 
Stark light 
A table two chairs and no windows 
Here I am 
and there is my body 
dancing on glass 
In accident time where there are no accidents 
You have no choice 
the choice comes after 
Cut out my tongue 
tear out my hair 
cut off my limbs 
but leave me my love 
I would rather have lost my legs 
pulled out my teeth 
gouged out my eyes 
than lost my love 
flash flicker slash burn wring press dab slash 
flash flicker punch burn float flicker dab flicker 
punch flicker flash burn dab press wring press 
punch flicker float burn flash flicker burn 
it will never pass 
dab flicker punch slash wring slash punch slash 
float flicker flash punch wring press flash press 
dab flicker wring burn flicker dab flash dab float 
burn press burn flicker burn flash 
Nothing's forever 
(but Nothing) 
slash wring punch burn flicker dab float dab 
flicker burn punch burn flash dab press dab 
wring flicker float slash burn slash punch slash 
press slash float slash flicker burn dab 
Victim. Perpetrator. Bystander. 
punch burn float flicker flash flicker burn slash 
wring press dab slash flash flicker dab flicker 
punch flicker flash burn dab press flicker wring 
press punch flash flicker burn flicker flash 
the morning brings defeat 
wring slash punch slash float flicker flash punch 
wring dab flicker punch slash press flash press 
dab flicker wring burn flicker dab flash dab float 
burn press burn flash flicker slash 
beautiful pain 
that says I exist 
flicker punch slash dab wring press burn slash 
press slash punch flicker flash press burn slash 
dab flicker float flash flicker dab press burn slash 
press slash punch flash flicker burn 
and a saner life tomorrow 
Sanity is found at the centre of convulsion, where madness is scorched form the bisected soul. 
I know myself. 
I see myself. 
My life is caught in a web of reason 
spun by a doctor to argument the sane. 
At 4.48 
I shall sleep 
I came to you hoping to be healed. 
You are my doctor, my saviour, my omnipotent judge, my priest, my god, the surgeon of my soul. 
And I am your proselyte to sanity. 
to achieve goals and ambitions 
to overcome obstacles and attain a high standard 
to increase self-regard by the successful exercise of talent 
to overcome opposition 
to have control and influence over others 
to defend myself 
to defend my psychological space 
to vindicate the ego 
to receive attention 
to be seen and heard 
to excite, amaze, fascinate, shock, intrigue, amuse, entertain, 
or entice others 
to be free from social restrictions 
to resist coercion and constriction 
to be independent and act according to desire 
to defy convention 
to avoid pain 
to avoid shame 
to obliterate past humiliation by resumed action 
to maintain self-respect 
to repress fear 
to overcome weakness 
to belong 
to be accepted 
to draw close and enjoyably reciprocate with another 
to converse in a friendly manner, to tell stories, exchange 
sentiments, ideas, secrets 
to communicate, to converse 
to laugh and make jokes 
to win affection of desired Other 
to adhere and remain loyal to Other 
to enjoy sensuous experiences with cathected Other 
to feed, help, protect, comfort, console, support, nurse or 
to be fed, helped, protected, comforted, consoled, 
supported, nursed or healed 
to form mutually enjoyable, enduring, cooperating and 
reciprocating relationship with Other, with an equal 
to be forgiven 
to be loved 
to be free 
– You've seen the worst of me. 
– Yes. 
– I know nothing of you. 
– No. 
– But I like you. 
– I like you 
– You're my last hope. 
(A long silence.
– You don't need a friend you need a doctor. 
(A long silence.
– You are so wrong. 
(A very long silence.
– But you have friends. 
(A long silence.
You have a lot of friends. 
What do you offer your friends to make them so supportive? 
(A long silence.
What do you offer your friends to make them so supportive? 
(A long silence.
What do you offer? 
We have a professional relationship. I think we have a good 
relationship. But it's professional. 
I feel your pain but I cannot hold your life in my hands. 
You'll be all right. You're strong. I know you'll be okay because I like you and you can't like someone who doesn't like themself. The people I fear for are the ones I don't like because they hate themselves so much they won't let anyone else like them either. But I do like you. I'll miss you. And I know you'll be ok. 
Most of my clients want to kill me. When I walk out of here at the end of the day I need to go home to my lover and relax. I need to be with my friends and relax. I need my friends to be really together. 
I fucking hate this job and I need my friends to be sane. 
I'm sorry. 
– It's not my fault. 
– I'm sorry, that was a mistake. 
– It's not my fault. 
– No. It's not your fault. I'm sorry. 
I was trying to explain – 
– I know. I'm angry because I understand, not because I don't. 
Fattened up 
Shored up 
Shoved up 
my body decompensates 
my body flies apart 
no way to reach out 
beyond the reaching out I've already done 
you will always have a piece of me 
because you held my life in your hands 
those brutal hands 
this will end me 
I thought it was silent 
till it went silent 
how have you inspired this pain? 
I've never understood 
what it is I'm not supposed to feel 
like a bird on the wing in a swollen sky 
my mind is torn by lightning 
as it flies form the thunder behind 
Hatch opens 
Stark light 
and Nothing 
Nothing see Nothing 
What am I like? 
the child of negation 
out of one torture chamber into another 
a vile succession of errors without remission 
every step of the way I've fallen 
Despair propels me to suicide 
Anguish for which doctors can find no cure 
Nor care to understand 
I hope you never understand 
Because I like you 
I like you 
I like you 
still black water 
as deep as forever 
as cold as the sky 
as still as my heart when your voice is gone 
I shall freeze in hell 
of course I love you 
you saved my life 
I wish you hadn't 
I wish you hadn't 
I wish you'd left me alone 
a black and white film of yes or no yes or no yes or no yes or no yes or no yes or no 
I've always loved you 
even when I hated you 
What am I like? 
just like my father 
oh no oh no oh no 
Hatch opens 
Stark light 
the rupture begins 
I don't know where to look anymore 
Tired of crowd searching 
and hope 
Watch the stars 
predict the past 
and change the world with a silver eclipse 
the only thing that's permanent is destruction 
we're all going to disappear 
trying to leave a mark more permanent that myself 
I've not killed myself before so don't look for precedents 
What came before was just the beginning 
a cyclical fear 
that's not the moon it's the earth 
A revolution 
Dear God, dear God, what shall I do? 
All I know 
is snow 
and black despair 
Nowhere left to turn 
an ineffectual mortal spasm 
the only alternative to murder 
Please don't cut me up to find out how I died 
I'll tell you how I died 
One hundred Lofepramine, forty five Zopiclone, twenty five Temazepam, and twenty Melleril 
Everything I had 
It is done 
behold the Eunuch 
of castrated thought 
the capture 
the rapture 
the rupture 
of a soul 
a solo symphony 
warm darkness 
which soaks my eyes 
I know no sin 
this is the sickness of becoming great 
the vital need for which I would die 
to be loved 
I'm dying for one who doesn't care 
I'm dying for one who doesn't know 
you're breaking me 
ten yard ring of failure 
look away from me 
My final stand 
No one speaks 
Validate me 
Witness me 
See me 
Love me 
my final submission 
my final defeat 
the chicken's still dancing 
the chicken won't stop 
I think that you think of me 
the way I'd have you think of me 
the final period 
the final full stop 
look after your mum now 
look after your mum 
Black snow falls 
in death you hold me 
never free 
I have no desire for death 
no suicide ever had 
watch me vanish 
watch me 
watch me 
watch me 
it is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind 
please open the curtains 

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