Triptych

1: Pink Slipped

There isn’t much to do here.

Activities are limited to

clicking at the t.v.

and becoming intimate with

one’s misery.

So

I write this in crayon

on the back

of a hospital menu:

big looping letters that

meld into each other –

my handwriting gone back a

quarter century

(when lowercase “b’s”

and lowercase “d’s”

were used interchangeably.)

They won’t allow me a pen,

or a pencil,

in case I use it to open myself up

and all that stuff that is so helpful,

on the inside,

makes its way out

to become

nothing more than a

linen change

and a

mop job.

Now…

a gun or a hot-shot?

Absolutely.

But a pen to the neck?

That would be uh

difficult.

I suppose I

overstated myself

to the hospital staff.

I don’t want to die.

Not really.

Not yet.

It’s just that

once again,

I’ve found myself

very ambiguous about

living.

 

2: Home For Awhile

The constant

swish-swoosh-swish-swoosh

of my fellow invalids

slipping by

in their orange

state-issued

rubber sandals

is the soundtrack which attends

my attempt to push through this

Seroquel haze.

The fog is thick, but I keep moving,

wading through a stickiness

that is both my flowing blood

and all that lies outside me.

I am scared

to reach the other side,

but I can’t lie down in this muckhole of

my own filth and excretions

for this could be the time

I don’t

get up again.

The time for

flailing about in panic has passed

and given way to:

waiting rooms devoid of the standard units of time,

replaced with med calls and meal times,

rubber furniture,

pastels and whites.

A world without edges…

Unit D-1:

an “L”-shaped ward

populated by humans best described as

if it can go wrong

it will.

A gang of castaways hamfisting their crayons,

coloring outside the lines,

rocking back and forth to

an unheard rhythm,

shuffling through their laps

on heavy-medicated legs,

staring through endless sitcoms

with heavy-medicated eyes –

more lid than ball.

Here is where staring at the wall

is a cherished past-time.

Why not?

All is as it should be.

For this is the place where time grinds down

in pain-filled friction,

everyone half awake

stealing glances:

uh does anyone else notice the absence of movement

among those clock hands?

Always just before someone

has the chance to tantrum,

the clock gives,

skips

a few numerals and we’re pacified with

the handing out of sedatives

or a third

of our daily calories.

These muttering

ghosts…

conversations started with one man

half-finished with another.

If you’re not a fan

of this particular brand

of insane,

then

move on…

no-one cares…

no-one remembers…

Wait a second.

Hold on a minute.

These words are soothing in their own way

but they are

only

words.

Can anyone

tell me how long I’ve been here?

 

3: A Diorama Of The World At Large

There was

a quick knock at the door

and before I could answer

it opened.

-Just doing my rounds.

-Of course, I said.

-Now don’t get smart with me.

-Okay.

-You know, they’re having group. You should join.

-I’m alright.

-It’s music therapy. It’s fun. I think

you’d benefit from it.

-This is therapeutic to me.

-Sitting in your room, in the

dark, alone?

-Yes.

-Oh are you journaling? she brightened.

-No.

-Writing a book?

-Trying.

-Wow. That’s interesting. What’s it about?

-It’s hard to say.

-It’s personal… she sympathized.

-What I mean is I don’t really

know what it’s about. There’s no plot. Like life.

She looked at me.

-Come to group, she said and walked off.

I got up, closed the door, and sat back down

in the rubber chair at the plastic desk.

I waited

till I was sure the group was over and

left the room.

I did this

day after day.

The leaves lost their color and

fell to the ground.

One day a door opened

for me

and I got in a taxi

and left

the others

still shuffling through their

deceptively simple

labyrinths.

I know it sounds retarded

but I am still not sure

I really left.

Chalk me up

as an artsy little bitch

but I swear I’ve yet

to find a map

telling me where I am at.

 

A.M.

(Drugs and Culture)

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