How did I get here again, I mused,
as some of the other patients exchanged
parts of their lives with each other,
I watched and waited for Jesus Christ to
walk through the security door and bless everyone,
I don't know which is more numbing,
the depression, or the meds,
Laughing outside, a tempest inside,
Listening to the rustle of the nurses' uniforms
as they half-whisper, "Lights out",
Hoping I'll sleep peaceful tonight
and don't see the ghosts of my past
with their hollow eyes,
The older woman two rooms down from me
yells in the late night hours in despair.
The young psychiatrist is handsome,
which is more awkward for me
with my social anxiety,
I promise him I won't jump off the roof,
and kiddingly ask for a beer
with no alcohol in it,
Remembering too much a photo in
the extended family album of my mother
in disheveled drunkeness,
holding her Camel cigarette with mascara
smeared under her eyes and sitting with
just her bra and slacks on,
Geez, what a legacy,
Woman never took much pride in herself,
I wait in line for the balm of the psych meds.
(Regina Elliott is a poetess and Navy veteran who resides in Swannanoa, NC, USA with her husband Mike.)
She lost her friend of over thirty years
because of my madness,
and did not tell me.
Should her desire to spare me pain
spare me guilt?
I should be doing more
when all I do is hear her,
a saint with diabetes,
cooking and cleaning,
healing with artichokes and bleach.
Only blinks interrupt
wrinkled eyes reflecting my awe.
(Caroline Am Bergris is from London and uses her experiences with both physical and mental disabilities when writing.)
this thing has
on it now
and I've never
(Keith Landrum writes, paints, works, draws, and drinks in Chattanooga, TN, USA)
the bouncy ball man’s bi-polar journey
unlike the yo-yo
with its advantage
of a straight trajectory
into the heavens
where he dances unabashed with comets
using astroids as castanets
while his castilian boot heels click across the sky
his silky sable hair being blown
by cosmic wins
his head thrown back
as a gleeful song
rises from his throat
the blessed cold and dark
do not bother him
takes him past us
and as he passes
he laments the fact
that we don't see him
in the depths
the pressure is so onerous
like atlas or the turtle
he struggles to hold up
his own world
the cursed heat of pain and sorrow
subjecting him to
merciless vexing light
and unbroken rage
eventually sets him alight
and as he burns
what comes from his throat
sounds nothing like song
but as does the phoenix
he will rise from the ashes
once again a passerby
in the land of man
he still laments the fact
that we don't see him
but this time he wonders
( Linda Imbler is the Kansas based author of “Big Questions, Little Sleep.” )
The garden of the gut –
flora and fauna,
lush as a jungle,
seeking perfect homeostasis
at all times
as nutrients are absorbed
and toxins are flushed
out of the central hub
to constantly create
the organic system anew
as a holy temple
beyond the pale
can be divined
from the source
through the synapses of the mind
which acts as an antenna
by tuning in to vibrations
and energies that pulse
which have yet to be
by the incomplete theories
of modern science.
There is more happening here
than can be seen or heard.
There is a truth that burns
far hotter than any gadget can measure.
There are answers found within the soul
which cannot be discovered through simple observation.
There is a love which resonates at such a high frequency
that only a pure and open heart is able to experience it.
There is an infinite and eternal state of perfect peace
which can only be gleamed when the body
and mind are completely clean.
There is a path which leads to the Kingdom of God
that is paved with intentions
that glimmer more brightly than gold.
(excerpt from Happy Hour Hallelujah)
Daring the Impossible
A thousand beams of buried lies
hiding just behind those twinkling eyes
and it’s not a shock nor a surprise
when the truth bursts forth into the light
…but enough with all the silly rhymes
for while they might be fun to dance around with
this really is no laughing matter
More like a disaster
that comes to bear
as a tired witness
of the despair
born from a thousand years
of tragedies piled on high
when dropped from ivory towers
Bombs of broken apathy
disease a disillusioned populace
when the wicked wages of war
become too heavy a cross
Sad is the state
of abysmal affairs
spreading as a pestilence
across the earth
How long, Lord, how long?
There is no easy escape, it’s true
we’ve all these problems, and know not what to do
We whine and moan and blame each other
but no solution through such means is discovered
The only answer that’s worth a damn
is when united we decide to stand
To pluck both the apple and the mote from eyes
behind which our oppressors hide
But there I go again with rhymes
when words are meant to be drawn as lines
Upon the sand to be clearly seen
by all those of us who still dare to dream
About a time born so soon now
when faith and hope are fully allowed
To enter unto the hearts of Man
as we come together with a foolproof plan
That breaks the chains with which we’ve been bound
and opens our hearts to the holy sound
I’m not afraid to sing such a song
for I know there are others who will sing along
As together we raise our voice on high
and give peace on earth one final try
(excerpt from Happy Hour Hallelujah)
( Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found.)
A figure lies forlorn on the steel-bed.
Strapped to catheters and tubes and a blinking monitor, covered with blanket.
Breathing slowly, in the ICU, where antiseptic smells and a deathly silence combine and strongly prevail, magnifying the tread on the bare floor or the scratch of a gifted golden fountain- pen or the muffled coughs around---borderlands of life and mortality ever shifting so arbitrarily; everything is clinical, measured, cold and couched in expertspeak, total Greek to the hapless carers, blinking eyes, in a dim shrine.
There, yet not there--- slipping.
Emotions are strictly forbidden entry in this rarefied province. Inmates are at the mercy of the machines and mechanical gaze, gesture and tone of the guys in the white. An imposed order and sanity on apparent turbulence of different kind.
We are just numbers here!
Pain. Suffering. Weariness of soul. Exhaustion. Stress. Hope against flickering hope. The moods varied, all collide in such a cramped space both material/mental, strange alchemy.
Doctors arrive; exit, with the accuracy of the subway trains of a wounded Paris---automated, punctual and precise, ferrying thousands to destinations scattered.
Every minute, every footfall counts by the billing department.
Outside the mystery of an ICU, sits a hunched figure on the bench, on this balmy Mumbai evening---teary; shell-shocked; silently praying to a chosen god out of a million, for comfort and mercy divine, in a polis where everybody is rushed. Expecting miracles that can defy the verdict of approaching death. Bewildered, yet looking for some opening in a cul-de-sac.
Faith Vs fact; Optimism Vs commerce collide. The wait can be terrifying inside/outside. Uncertainties are killers.
Mind refuses reality.
Healing might occur any time!
Hospitals! They are the real places for re-learning on the human condition and existential angst.
And a bonding among patients and their relatives---a shared experience of loss and gain, across assorted geographies and demographics.
And a will to survive in a most bleak place where fresh beginnings and exhausted endings happen simultaneously in a never ending game.
The waves crash near the coconut clump
where the ocean comes up to kiss the sands
of the beach secluded from touristy feet
and talk to the matted brown kid about
long boats, fishing, laughter, boisterous dad.
The young kid gets lulled by these sounds and
dreams of a shack, a coughing mother and siblings
eaten by a hungry typhoon one horrible day.
They often remind of things that will not be
Waves---crashing, hissing, singing
their own symphony that resurrects the dead
for the sad orphan and others orphaned of many
for a mind on a rewind mode.
( Sunil Sharma is a Mumbai based senior academic, writer, freelance journalist and editor with 18 published books).
There’s a wall that gaps between the meaning of my existence
and the meaning of existence in general.
It’s a wall I can’t climb,
a wall without measure,
a wall without borders.
Because of this wall is why I’ve been blind for so long.
It’s why I leave the lights on at night.
It’s why I cover my face with shadow figures not wanting anything to remember my complexion.
It’s a wall made up of everything I’m afraid of.
Things that make a paper-cut-throat gush with the screams you never knew existed.
Things that cause teardrops to not only fall but instead break the barriers of sanity.
Things I don’t like to speak of.
Like how when I was younger,
I couldn’t differentiate between sane moments and the moments where everything seemed perfect
yet I was a suicide-time-bomb ticking away.
As if an alarm were trapped in my wrists.
As if a god were dictating from inside my veins,
from inside my bones,
until I exploded with the questions never answered until it was too late.
These are the things that make my stomach curl into the fetal position
until I rebirth new moments of wanting to be alive.
These are the moments I can’t relive until I can actually live again.
This wall, this wall of terror within my heart will never crumble
until I can leave the past in the past and remember that my future is bright.
This wall is a concrete resemblance of power,
a mountain so planted in my thoughts
it can never be removed.
Never be consumed by the tsunami of my ambition.
Never become a path I can easily walk to the other side.
It’s this wall that keeps me afraid at night.
Keeps me from jumping the fence of my mind to the other realm of my reality.
It’s this wall I can’t replace with one easily escapable.
It’s this wall.
This wall I find so unmistakably hard to confront.
This wall that has never been moved,
never been shaken from my psyche’s foundation.
Never been remembered as anything but a traumatic remembrance.
But everyday for the past three years,
I’ve found myself staring at the wall.
Whispering ideal chants and hopeful phrases into it’s core.
Until I’m not afraid anymore.
Until I realize borders cannot define my destination.
This wall will know I will not bow down again,
I will not crumble to it’s mass.
Or answer the echo calls bounced off its sides to scream lies into my soul.
NO, I can now turn the lights off,
I can uncover my face from the shadow world
and face the wall with unveiled freedom.
I will conquer,
I will prevail,
I will tear down the wall until each piece is nothing but particles of dust on life’s shelf.
The wall will never again define me
this wall will never again be resurrected.
I am free...
(Levi J. Mericle is a poet from New Mexico whose work has appeared in over 30 Literary magazines and journals from over half a dozen countries).
I dash beneath the arch,
down past the boarded Legion.
Rain comes down in streaks.
The drink has failed to execute its tricks.
Now ordered lawns lapse to a tangle of fields and woods
where hungry feelings stir desire:
Dangerous as diabetic thirst, as fire
pulsing for oxygen.
Psychiatric Nurse in January
Spring feels far away. Distractions of the everyday
neutralize magic. Trees are blossomless.
Weeds crowd spaces snowdrops should poke noses.
A dull drizzle dirties Castle Hill
where the sinister, lopsided monkey-puzzle
looms in my dreams of coroner’s courts,
wrongness in abundance.
I ready my work-bag for Monday’s shift, my plasters
all too small.
The Cat that Comes and Goes with the Mist
We know when it’s coming,
ears to the ground like Red Indians –
like hooves up the track, pawing the earth.
What started as anger – that red roar on the plains –
returns as fear now, fear
shifting like sands.
It’s worse when darkness falls.
Its hunger’s a palpable
gnawing in the chest,
a heart digesting itself.
Light torches, stoke fires,
take to high ground.
It loses interest. Sun will rise.
( Kitty Donnelly is a nurse and a poet. Her poems have been published in Acumen, The American Journal of Poetry, The Fenland Reed, The Dawntreader, Mslexia and has work due out in Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Granta amonst other publications. kittydonnellypoet.com )
The water is sparkling
the truth is sparkling
clean as well;
things are good here
nothing but lone gunmen
and holidays in Oxcala
to speak of,
double parked Bentleys
and snuff films out of
Hair has been left to the head;
the contrition shirts of year’s past
have been traded in
for beach towels.
Things are dandy along Chernobyl avenue;
the dogs are walked, the grass is green,
the clams baked into the sides
of single-occupant abodes.
No time for conspiracy.
The job market is hot.
I think I have a future
in the janitorial
He had a band
and wanted to be on
so he made a cassette
and mailed it off
with plastic ants
and used condoms
they would see the genius
behind it all
(Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canada based poet who has published widely in literary journals and magazines)
my fear scares me
it lurks with a beautiful face
tells a joke
and i am carried
picture perfect photograph
sure, i never wanted to do that anyway
it is punch a hole
in the membrane of your fears
or sit in all day with the TV for company
stroking your cat named jealousy
why can i not be involved
because you don't participate
your courage fails you
a bad hand of cards
you short circuit on the thumb of your failures
and give up
far too fast
i pop that into my mouth
crisps, fizzy drink
bloated, tummy a hard rock
while activities are plundered
i pop that into my mouth
fattening up for that bikini
make that call
tap out the digits
number on screen
finger hovering over the call symbol
yes, i am gonna
coming down on that symbol
phone to my ear
a person answers
the voice of a stranger
ask for help and explain the reason
the receiver is a bloom of flowers
a sprinkler in the heat
a window open to a stuffy room
happy to help
you are a gem
why did i need to eat that
( Katie Lewington is a UK based poet, and book blogger)
( https://katiecreativewriterblog.wordpress.com )
The Beautiful Space-