Monday, July 19, 2021
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
In the dream, a man with a head as bright as the sun walks the streets aimlessly. His light is not intelligence or a warm radiance, but a sick emanation, an ego shine. The man is me.
The scene shifts. I lie in a dark hospital room. A tiny woman, with hair closely cropped to her head, is whispering to me.
I am touched by what she is saying; the sickness of ego is no longer blazing. A tiny light goes off in my heart. I am freed, enlivened by a tender feeling.
I have this dream during a stay at a psych ward. When I wake up, I reason, “I have an ego, yes, but is it really all that big?”
One evening, later in the stay, I have a panic attack. I struggle until bedtime to keep myself together. I am extremely happy when I can get to bed and just focus on my breathing.
I wake up early the next morning. Something has occurred to me. I have been full of myself, and the panic attacks I have are my body’s way of taking me down a few pegs – I may be book smart, but can’t even rely on the integrity of my own mind on a day to day basis.
I stumble out of my bedroom, take a shower. On the way back to my room, a young woman, Jonetta, stops me. No one pays her much mind – she seems to always be stumbling around, clamoring for attention, with her froggy whisper that none of the nurses or patients can ever make out.
She is really keen on telling me something. I lean in close so I could hear.
“The medicine makes me so sleepy,” she croaks, “I can hardly talk. They need to lower my medication.”
I repeat this back to her, and her eyes light up. “Yes! Yes! No one will listen to me.”
I realize, Jonetta is the woman from the dream.
I relay to one of the (nicer) nurses what Jonetta had told me, but the nurse is dismissive. She says that I don’t know what Jonetta is there for, and I am not a doctor – I couldn’t know what she needs.
Thus, I have learned a little bit more about the helplessness of the psychiatric patient “in the system”. But I have learned more about myself, and I have made a new friend.
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Monday, June 28, 2021
I believe in disco, I do
I have heard the very best
here at Starbucks tonight
#1 singles from the 70's,
strung one behind the other
and this one whose words
I could never make out
"I love the night life
I love to boogie
on the disco roooouuunnnd,
starfloss of morons, you say
and didn't Chic almost make it
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
but I do believe in disco
I do now
they used to dance, you see
beneath a shattered star
in another time
in another world
light, like a thousand fireflies in formation
circling, dazzling, dizzying them
and how we might long for that mindlessness
that sexual abandon
high on mixed drinks and cocaine
they ushered in the 80's
the stupid 80's, all Reagan and spandex and big hair
what could we know of their sweat,
its odor wafting through too much perfume, cologne?
but I know
I have smelled it
and I believe
I do now
I believe in disco
I stand stopped on the bridge
from Old River to where I live
bothered by the diatribe in my head
an argument, political
leveled at a statement
made by a dear, dear friend
a year ago
I have gone too far
for a woman I have never argued with
never had reason to
don't have now
I stare through the metal bridge fence
at the river, the trees below
at my own horror
turn toward the street
meet the laughing gaze of a girl, waving madly
out the back window of an SUV
her smile, breaking her face with light
she is waving at me
this is how it works
I smile, feel the weight of my frown
everpresent these days
lift, a droplet of grace
worn through my rhino’s hide
a long-parched heart