I will.

I will not tolerate this inability to choose a gender.
I will not tolerate those who are excessively fat or far too slender.
I will not tolerate those that say they are a ‘polyamorous lover’.
I will not tolerate it when I am called ‘brother’.
I will not tolerate ethical or other food choices.
I will not tolerate all these foreign voices.
I will not tolerate different religious beliefs.
I will not tolerate people walking around outside without briefs.
I will not tolerate those shaven heads.
I will not tolerate those natty dreads.
I will not tolerate loud bells or any other calls to prayer.
I will not tolerate the incorrect use of their, there or they’re.
I will not tolerate a lack of compassion.
I will not tolerate outlandish fashion.
I will not tolerate underwear on show.
I will not tolerate inane, pointless lyrical flow.
I will respect, accept and protect each choice you make.
I will understand your decisions are not mine to take…

A Life Worth Living?

I’ve pleaded with my heart to stop beating
Begged for my lungs to stop breathing
Wished for my eyes to shut for the last time.
Claimed death as my only goal
Asked the Devil to devour my soul
Prayed for God to punish my crime.

I’ve wanted love to leave me cold
For my family ties to let go of their hold
Given reason to violent men to end my life.
Pushed away all chance of hope
Admitted that I really can’t cope
Caressed my wrists with a cold, sharp knife.

I’ve been dizzy with desire at the water’s edge
Trusted the wind on the highest ledge
Not cared which way I’d fall.
Allowed speeding traffic to make my choice
Been silent when I could’ve used my voice.
Responded positively to suicide’s call.

But I’ve changed the way my hatred works
I’ve taken it off me and given it to jerks
Decided I’m worth each breath I take.
Planned ahead for the first time in years
Allowed joy to be the reason for my tears
Accepted that part of my life was…just a mistake.

I’m sharing these thoughts with freedom from pain
Knowing I’m far from being happy or sane
Controlled each moment is all that I’ve done.
Loving isn’t the only way I spend my days
But, I’m hoping this happiness stays
I’m enjoying the silliness, the smiles and the fun.

Why is it important for me to stay sober

Before Xmas the delightfully delicious Jane Kabey spoke of doing a dry January for Mind. I agreed, she thought I was saying “Yeah Yeah”, I was in fact saying “Yeah.” and meaning it. Eventually getting her to accept that I was being honest I readied myself for a hard month.

My drinking has ruined my marriage, destroyed my relationships, broken my friendships, lost me my jobs, and changed my health both physical and mental beyond recognition.

I do not drink in the morning, nor do I shake in need of a drink, I do shake in pain after a session of drinking, the pain in my neck and head is excrutiating, the hidden memories of what I’ve done are in other people’s stories of ‘crazy Carl’.

I have been arrested, charged and let free before I’ve sobered up. I have fought strangers, hurt girlfriends, come to; at home, in strangers flats (dressed and naked), in the company of police, on the street, in clubs and pubs without any idea how I’d got there, inside, underneath and on top of lovers and strangers, I have soiled many pairs of underwear to the point of no return. I’ve spent, stolen, lost, borrowed more money than I’ve earned.

99% of my problems with police stem from drinking.

On the 7th January I went to court to try to get a stay of eviction, arrears came due to the bedroom tax, I knew this was happening but couldn’t face any truths because of what happened after my Uncle’s funeral, I don’t know what happened apart from I had been drinking from the afternoon, I came round in an Indian restaurant with my cousin asking me to pay my part of the bill and leave. From that moment until the 7th I had hidden, from my family, most of my friends and my problems.

Things happened around me, through me but not to me. I wasn’t there or here. I was ashamed of my reflection, even though I didn’t know what I’d done.

Changes were going to happen, it didn’t matter.

Jane decided, for good reasons, to do her sober month on her own and I became part of team ‘Cheeky Half’ .

Meantime life came and grabbed me enough to do the stay of eviction, the judge dismissed my case out of hand. I asked my housing officer what I could do to keep my flat, he said I needed to pay 75% of my arrears. I borrowed the necessary amount from my Mum and a friend, the Housing Officer then said I needed to get the other 25%! Waves of pain hit me. My brother came to the rescue.

The housing officer promised that the money would be returned to my mum, friend and brother if I was evicted on that day.

The next day I was told that I had lost my tenancy and would have to downsize and join another Housing Association.

The housing officer had promised that I wouldn’t be evicted. That lie still burns me now. There were a lot of arrears. They offered me a flat in the arse end of Rotherhithe that didn’t have enough room for my fridge in the kitchen never mind any other furniture, I refused to accept it that afternoon, stating that I needed to sort my head out.

I was reminded that if I didn’t accept it I would be evicted.

I couldn’t believe they could legally do that to someone, let alone someone as close to the edge of suicide as me.

I searched the internet, spoke to friends, solicitors. 08 numbers aren’t acceptable on my payg phone, my heart was black.

They said I had until the 31st of Jan to make a decision and then move on Feb 3rd. Two days later they rang to say I had until the 31st jan to move out. The pressure was building. I would have lost most of my furniture, living nowhere near anyone I knew.

‘They were doing me a favour.’ ‘I could have been evicted’.’ They were letting me stay at their discretion.’

I visited a friend who knows more than most on Sunday. On Monday I began following their advice but my resolve was dissolving as I contacted the agencies to find that because they had offered me this place they couldn’t help.

Then out of the blue, the housing association phoned again, they had another place for me to look at.

I knew that something had happened to the chain and that I had a chance to finish my search for help. I said I’d ring back within an hour.

Gathering what little resolve I had, I phoned, stating that I’d love to view it.

The kitchen was 3 times the size of the other place, there was a garden that I would have sole use of, most of my furniture would fit or I could store it in the garden…

Without Jane’s initial desire to raise money for Mind, I’d be homeless.

Without my Mother’s ‘death’ money, I’d be homeless.

Without my Brother’s help and support, I’d be homeless.

Without Sarah’s help, I would have been very ill and would now be homeless.

I have a chance to make a new start because of strong women who I have hurt and the unconditional love of my brother.


Without agencies like Mind, Calm, The Samaritans and others many people would be homeless.

Without my family and friends I would have been homeless or dead.

For now please donate to this: <a href='http://www.justgiving.com/CalmCarl' title='JustGiving - Sponsor me now!' target='_blank'><img src='http://www.justgiving.com/App_Themes/JustGiving/images/badges/badge9.gif' width='120' height='90' alt='JustGiving - Sponsor me now!' /></a>

I shall be putting on a show soon for Shelter.

New beginnings.

Reasons not to drink (part 1) Dry January for MInd

The first time I got drunk was on my 14th birthday. We all stole a bottle of Cinzano from a local off licence then had a competition to see who could drink the whole bottle in the quickest time. I won. 1:46 seconds. Shortly afterwards a friend asked me what was wrong. I didn’t feel any different, so I said “Nothing. Why?” He responded that I was swaying. I began to feel the effects and fear of what was going on made me leave my friends and walk home. On the way the police stopped me asking questions. My memory serves thus:

P: Where are you going?

M: Home.

P: Where do you live?

M: 300 Camberwell New Road. NO. We moved 53 Knatchb… NO. we moved from there as well. 32 John Ruskin St.

P: Are you sure?

M: Yes definitely.

P: What’s your name?

M: Carl Kent. No. Carl Chamberlain-Kent.

P: How old are you?

M: 13. NO. 14 it’s my birthday.

The police asked if I would be okay to which I responded affirmatively and continued my staggered journey home. When I got home I laid down on my bed for a minute and then ran to the bathroom. The vile Rosso returned in such a  violent way I thought I was going to die. I had never been sick like this before. It came and came and came again. My body surged with each puke. My eyes streamed, my face strained, more came.

I don’t know how long I was in there, I may have collapsed. No one in my family mentioned it the next morning. It became something that didn’t matter.  I cannot, 32 years later, look at a bottle of Cinzano Rosso without gagging.