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.


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.


a gun or a hot-shot?


But a pen to the neck?

That would be uh


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



2: Home For Awhile

The constant


of my fellow invalids

slipping by

in their orange


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,


a few numerals and we’re pacified with

the handing out of sedatives

or a third

of our daily calories.

These muttering


conversations started with one man

half-finished with another.

If you’re not a fan

of this particular brand

of insane,


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



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.


-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?


-Oh are you journaling? she brightened.


-Writing a book?


-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


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.



(Drugs and Culture)


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