Mixed (Manic) Precipitation – A Poem

You all seemed to like the last poem I posted, and I hope you’ll enjoy this one, too! April is, after all, National Poetry Month. So, you may be able to expect more poetry in the coming weeks.

“Mixed (Manic) Precipitation”

I exist somewhere between
the depth of salt water
and the misty clouds in the sky –
but my mind is in both simultaneously.

So when it rains, tears tumble out,
yet fill me, all at once.
So the crushing pressure of depth
and the thin air, sharp breaths,
fog my thoughts beyond recognition.

Beautiful landscape, scattered downpours,
of words that just don’t fit, and over saturate.
I’m gathering raindrops to assemble them:
two incomplete, thousand piece jigsaw puzzles
mixed up, but I won’t stop until each one is perfect.

And you try to tell me the task is impossible.
I laugh in your face with immeasurable confidence.
But you hear the tremors of fear,
threatening to break open the ground,
in each word,
in each syllable,
in each tone.

I know the flooding will overtake eventually,
the knowledge lying in a swampy bog
in the forest of my mind. The water’s rising
and a part of me sits huddled, shivering, lost.

But I can’t listen to your sun-shine voice
guiding me back. Your words can’t quell the storm.
“I love you. And I’m here. And I’m not leaving – ever.”
But I can’t find peace and comfort from without.
My connection to the clear skies of reality is depleted;
stuck inside, and I can’t hear you through the gales.

But I see True North at night, and it calls.
So I tread lightly through the rising waters,
knowing I need blue skies –
even  if it means not dancing in the rain:

past the tangled vines of mangled thoughts,
the knotted, gnarled trees rotted with disease
and the high-water landscape
of my sopping wet, beautiful mind.
I slosh my way toward clear skies.

“They Closed the Asylums”

Sometimes, I don’t write long posts about my own stories. Every now and then, I write poems. This is one of them. I initially wrote it after visiting my brother when he was at inpatient treatment in a place that was clearly once an “asylum”, but is now labeled a “Retreat”. (but it’s still very asylum-like.) I wanted to capture the feelings of being inpatient, especially in a place with so much history. Since my own hospitalization, though, I wanted to also make sure the narrator of the poem could either be the patient or the visitor. The poem has seen some serious revision, and I wanted to share the finished product with you. I hope you enjoy.

“They Closed the Asylums”

The room captures the auras
of past patients and restrains
their spirits of madness and beauty
tightly within.

Fluorescent lights create an unearthly glow
and illuminate 100 years of decay
(layers of paint can only hide so much)
and the locked window, rusted bars,
cages our reflections.

Small talk, how’s the food?
repetitive motion, catch and release
we toss the blue stress ball at the wall.

The echoes fill our ears
when the conversation dies.

This room has held hundreds of souls
and now, it holds ours tight.
It squeezes, but we don’t speak.
The air thickens, but we just breathe deeper.

Until it’s just you and me,                                                                                                                        and the ceaseless pounding

of stress relief in compacted foam
ricocheting through the room,
the endless thudding                                                                                                                            slowly driving the ghosts insane.