Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Roehampton Collection - Poem

When I and all the other Thalidomide children of the South East of England were growing up, it was a late 1960's world, the apex of medical empire building, that had been initiated burning a path from the Sun, under the gaze of the ever watchful all-seeing eye, through the snake entwined pyramid path of progress, offering new post war worlds of medicinal order, only to be brought to a juddering halt by the news:


Our phocomelic, that is, short or no limbed appearance
Was beyond the believable boundaries of the medical mould
Too disturbingly re designed,
Too much realisation of the way we'd been maligned,
The reality of their arrogant medical experiments,
Were the defects of our radical detriments
The safety-safe state drugs became things that could give grief,
We helped to burst that bubble of belief ,
That everything the BMA did was good,

(that's the British Medical Association with their Vicious Radical appropriation),

Yeah that everything the BMA did was good,
That we could trust them though that's something that I never could,
What they never made mistakes, errors, f*ck ups, disasters,
Because they were Scientists, Lords of the New Church Masters,
The ones that brought us carconegic birth control,
And anti Biotics that put Superbugs on patrol, ...

Back in the day when when in the charts was Peter Frampton,
When psychiatric patients were being kicked down the hallways of Rampton
Way before the cagefight scene was big in Southampton
I was a teenage member of the collection in Roehampton

There were a lot of us kids in that 60's selection
Thalidomatastic customised imperfection
The Societal guilt, from the shock that they'd built,
A brave new world clogged with phocomelic silt,
A by-product of profit; cup filled but can't mop it up
Spilled the left overs, the limbless dregs in the drain,
We no leaf clover truths that brought shame,
Out of court then they claimed, to have admonished their blame
For their lawyers a game to make profit from pain.
No doubt there are some who maintain their erections,
At the vaults that contain The Roehampton collection..............

Lets face it, we the were the first geneticallly modified beings,
Well, technically, that's the tetrant scene, not mutant genes,
As in radically altered but not permanent,
A drug induced tetration - a freak accident .
The price for profiteering from the scientists' whims,
Was lots of little kiddies with small or just no limbs,
All caused by a drug called Thalidomide,
That the BMA-persuaded Doctors had prescribed,

"The company Distillers wouldn't lie!" they cried

(for 4 years it was sold but why did they not stop it?
I think they hid the facts and sold it for the profits)

Purchased from a German company Grunenthal,
They marketed the drug as being good for all
First liscensed then prescribed, the business - doctor relation,
The salesmen for drug companies’ procreation,
Dirty pimps of the products, potions and pills,
Their promises of miraculously relieving ills,
Then the sheer arrogance of contesting the bills,
Not enough the deciept, now they refuse the receipt?

That it wasn't their fault, just a fact in a vault
The historic note taking of the cake you been baking,
And your slices of profit, claiming ignorance while you stuff it,
Into mouths that need beating, as you had us retreating
From your top power lawyers doing deals with Distillers
Defending the indefensible but not billing the killers

So yeah, we were the inhumanically modified U.H.T. cream of the crop,,
But they got no chop, not told to stop,
Carried on in the shop, making cash til they drop.
But evidence got circumstantial and it all went wrong,
When it comes to alarm bell babies we were the ding dong
Even though there was proof, that this deformed youth,
Was preventable foresooth -
"Friends, scientists, Businessmen, lend me your limbs”...
Well of course the profit margin peaked,
In private the drug Company freaked,
At our fall down funky new physiques,
Not off the rack or on the High street,
But in the fact stats that never were released,
Which far too flagrantly in their face,
Brought shame on them - embarrassment, guilt, disgrace,
That they'd been caught out; our parents were sought out,
Put spin on their legal ignorance so we were then bought out,
And forced to settle, by men of fine fettle,
Templared stealers of our health for the heaviest of metal...

There were two collections...the long list of limbs
Testament to the whims of mechanical mind mops,
That solved problems in workshops, far away from the hurt sobs,
The heartfelt plea to the bedroom wall, never heard that sadly strangled call,
The frustration of trying , for hours and days lying,
In prostrated positions, to conform to conditions,
Of appearance not needed, nature so superceded,
With no confessions of knowing, that the seeds they were sowing
Had genes that were growing in directions un planned;
Us, a body of children banned,
Given clipped wings from the BMA Nation - British Medical Association,

Cutting shark's teeth on us with no admission of guilt,
No partner-to-the-profit responsibility built,
Into small deformed hand outs of cash,
Small pawned plasters for such a big gash,
And they tried to make us look normal......

Normal according to the BMA's view of that word.
Physical visage was all to them, for me, absurd
If you didn't notice our difference when you passed us in the street,
That was success! Never mind the mutilation to fit the false feet
If you can't see it then it isn't there,
If they seem normal, then you won't stare,
And think of blaming, the ones who were maiming,
Who prevented us from claiming, so abusive and enflaming
Hell if they had had litigation back then,
The slack men would've been whacked when,
Evidence was tracked to them; not quite Zen...
They let it happen, all the facts didn't flap 'em,
Cos there was dosh to hand over,
Grunenthal's no leaf clover, had already provided,
Limbs were sub divided, for their profit multiplied-ed....

(Posh Brit accent ) "We told you to trust us, now put these on,
never mind that they're uncomfortable, and you feel wrong
never mind that they inhibit your every move,
take away your identity, your beautiful groove,
render you invalid, incapable of everyday things
We're the orchestrators and we're telling you to sing!”

..... And so, in the more extreme critiques,
The most creative reactions of the physiques
To the onslaught of man meddled interruption,
Medically arrogant hateful corruption,
When we manifested body protests which caused such ructions,
Oh this was a set of bods way way beyond liposuction..
...Oh no, to squeeze those flagrant design departures into the pretence facade of formal
normal, first we had to endure the front line fascism, the right of the wrong knives, the
naked gun of control, the fixtures and fittings of cruelty without beauty. I speak of course of
the spiritually bereft phrase that is..... corrective surgery.

If anything represents the evil that our magnificent mainstream men in their flying Medic
dreams do in our name, it is that they cut and chopped and sliced away at Our glorious
Our individuality was terminated, though we'd been born from what they'd germinated
And as I love my difference, others could have grown to uniquely serve their own Bodies
and perhaps the world in outlandishly new ways.
But now they dismembered the club foot to fit the club boot, the extra fingers were
surgically cut away to fit the fake arms
That would only really be put on in for public view, be out grown in a year,
Rejected forever in two, but those forgotten fingers could never come back to do

That personalised swear mime, their own special V sign,
They'd been eradicated, as flotsam and jetsam they were fated,
Potential clever new music never created,
All those Thelonius-esque chords most un satiated,
Gentle caresses unlike any others,
The passionate differences of Thalidomide lovers,
The special loving strokes of future mothers,
The missed high hand holding, comforting folding,
All that pain for conforming, cheap rejects for pawning,
What they were saying was we can just tuck them away,
So you won't have to say,
You were part of the plan, glorified superman.
We were the price paying, for their techno braying...

History shows it was mistaken selection,
The limbs lie discarded in dusty rejection
Now put to display in fact resurrection
The Science Musuem’s Roehampton Collection

Mat Fraser.

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