SLAP: my face, the pavement, my cursing soaped-up tongue for having to jump the fresh McDonalds, guts of half-eaten sausageeggcheesehashbrowns and plasticpaperstyrofoam spilled every morning.
A poem I’m penning, inviting a glimpse inside of <insert whatever label or diagnosis>. I have no idea. I only know the feeling, “Fix it, Mother Mary. It hurts.”
I. Verses on the Dust
Would someone dust
the dining room table and the family prayer corner?
Neglected under crumbs and dust, they’ve become grey ghosts.
I have the courage to grumble, but not to approach.
In the library, the wall of saints stares at me while I stalk past
blank-eyed Mary, Jesus with the gentle eye and the severe one, my patron as if she’s stuck in desert beyond the Jordan again, waiting for communion.
Sneak past to kitchen, back to the jungle upstairs,
where grape ivy climbed the walls to the skylight and the peace ivy, the philodendron
suffer, under-grown, longing for light.
Banished here like me because of other demons- cats gnawed them.
I lay down on the cold vinyl to ponder the peak of the ceiling
chipped paint of midnight blue, starless blank,
Whoever painted this room saw my end of days.
I work here most days, afraid to tiptoe down
to light candles before the saints and chant
the words of the books on the shelves,
or inhale the spice of prayer curling, fervor
burning up. This too triggers the demons.
I’m at battle, do I disappear
or fight back? To pray is to fight.
To sneak to the kitchen for a salad that I will eat alone upstairs
where the demons don’t gnash is a shadow of life.
I try to slip past the glossy walnut table but ancient mail and treasures I’ve purged call me out.
I wave at detritus of a life I used to live.
Send these to my sister, give these to the needy.
Off is where I go before the demons thrash:
“Chewing too loud.”
I know the demons disguise their complaints-nagging, self-righteous, over-mothering-
Walking through the room the floor sags, joists creak. Too much of all but gentleness, patience, kindness, self-control.
Upstairs I gorge myself on the fruit of my deeds.
When I’m not comatose I stare at the blank blue eyes of my life.
On any one night, I type up a one word poem:
“Ode to My State of Being”
But the technology erases me and writes
me an elegy.