Hurt, in Black

This is a poem about the night I painted my writing room completely black, shortly after I admitted myself and spiraled out.

I hurt myself today

to see if I still feel

I focus on the pain

the only thing’s that real


Out there, just outside of town, the frozen

snow-a crystallized ocean in the moonlight and icy stars,

their white heat, their white bodies

still against the night’s sheet of winter.

The land a bald moon out the window, the birch trees

black past the fields.

I am painting. Strokes and rendered slides of the brush,

steady, steady focus on the many canvases…

dip, skim,

into “Space Black” the gallon reads.


The old familiar sting

try to kill it all away

but I remember everything


I paint my reflection onto the white walls.

My fiance and child somewhere in the house

maybe asleep. Or not there at all.

Bald white planet out my window,

I trace my eyes and lashes in ebony lashes across

my computer desk. The

white lampshades. The

white picture frames. The

white bookshelves. The

white ceiling and trim. The

white woman in the dark. Voices come at night. I am afraid to sleep.


What have I become

my sweetest friend

everything I know goes away

in the end


My history I remember smooths past me

in a narrative I watch with each brush stroke and stride.

The story, what is this story, I do not know, but

my hands are sweating like they do

in the essays that pour out for my next class

in the morning.


I paint faster. I feed the temperature.

I cannot see me in the mirror anymore.

But I never could, I calmly mouth the words

“I never could…” up to the corner where the walls

meet the ceiling. The

white is almost gone. It must go. The lighting

is changing, hiding me, I hear the dryer’s tumbling

has stopped. But the sun it can’t come out.

I can’t.

I take sanctuary in night. I paint the girl

from my childhood who dreamt of being a singer.

I paint the young woman who stopped feeling in front

of a mirror one Sunday after church. I paint the young woman


I wear this crown of thorns

upon my liar’s chair

full of broken thoughts

I cannot repair

Beneath the stains of time

the feelings disappear

You are someone else

I am still not here


high on ecstasy on the rooftop of a building downtown

in a city I couldn’t get lost in no matter how I tried-and

how she was afraid the control she had been losing

she would lose at that very moment, above the far-away

pavement. I paint how

she never lost that part though, just all the rest.

All the empty pill and booze bottles, amphetamines and cut coke.

I paint her father’s death. I paint her mania. Her depression.

And still, I cannot frame this piece.

I can’t figure out what all this black means,

all this vacancy. I just don’t want the voices

when my eyes get heavy. More.

I just don’t want to wake up and have to take care

of what I built of my life with these numb hands,

Because I am

I am painting

it away and darkness ahead, behind, and now, it’s all I see.


You could have it all, my empire of dirt

I will let you down

I will make you Hurt.

My Yellowed Reminder, The Bell Jar

FB_IMG_1425902949292_edited“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.”

“but when I t came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless that I couldn’t do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn’t in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get.” bell jar

So I have three copies of The Bell Jar.  Well I only need two–because one of them I still can’t bring myself to look at.  But I refuse to let it go.  It means too much.  When I do look at it I feel that old familiar feeling of dread, the bad kind, the kind that is a glimpse of what you know inevitably is 1111111111112wedfcoming.  I was in high school when it became really strong.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew something was mentally off with me around sixth grade, and had cried and worried so much about it in private by then that I had become accustomed to that level of panic.

…until I got a copy of Plath’s The Bell Jar.  An old yellow one with browning pages.  The bold, curly letters in the title.  Her gnarled name–the woman who didn’t make it.  And she was me.  She was so much like me.  Or IS.  I couldn’t read as I read it in class after class.  I was nauseous but unafraid.  When you know something is going to happen to you that cannot be helped, you somehow brace yourself for more pain, and the fear becomes a numb root in your gut.  And these roots had taken their initial digs years ago, and yet I felt too mildly mad at this time of The Bell Jar reading, that I dared myself to continue and explore what felt like a schizoid terror.

I read and read and read, ill and beyond uncomfortable.  My head fell asleep like a limb, and I couldn’t shake it out.  My friends looked different, they talked different.  I was suffocating.  And I learned only later why Sylvia named it The Bell Jar.  Because that’s what I was in–and it was what I remained in for over a decade after until I broke it.  I decimated the mother fucker.  But it took years away from me…  Years away from my life.  I was dead.  I died.  And then it’s as if I had to just be let be for a few years, which came at a very high cost, but I did come back.  Well, no, you never come back.  Someone else does.  But it’s someone better.  Someone who knows that that rot is gone, it is over–I know that better than I know myself.  Okay, okay I’m sidetracking….

Toward the end of week two (back in high school now) I still hadn’t dared to explore my mind or question my “off-ness.”  I was terrified of it.  And looking back, it’s almost like I could see my future splayed out before me.  A rot.  Some of the parts in t Read More

Madden Me Back

I have lost the need to be someone.
It’s strange that when
You have one piece left of so many selves
And it breaks, shattering your familiar
reflection, You–annihilated in the howling–
and a certain amount of time
will stop mattering as it goes on, and
You pool into something–a fine new liquid–
black beneath the swollen moon,
and then, a tender solid thing.
An awakened body and mind
Cast about in the water’s mad rush,
not afraid of its depth anymore.
A woman now. And a fire stirs–a heat
I’ve never heard of.
No one ever told me I would rise to
occasions On my own accord.
No one ever told me the soul
Is a hungry, insatiable thing
That pulses so right Once
the wounds and lesions Turn to scars.
I am thirsty. I am watching. I am waiting
Read More

Early a.m. Thoughts on Madness & Hunger

I have therapy today...ehh
I have therapy today…ehh

What is the difference between madness and hunger? Madness gives us something to hang our coats on, while hunger drives us.  Yes, that is it.

My sister had her palm read and the woman told her our father was caught in Limbo.  I can’t stop thinking about that this morning.  Not feeling it.  Just thinking it.

Back to Hunger and Madness.  The difference.  I haven’t quite got the “hunger” part of it yet.  Hunger is the tireless journey, the
Read More

another wonderland poem

alice tells  me to grow older

she has one of those aged mirrors

with the nickel stains

sitting at her stone table

she combs her hair

how do you do?


but alice, I say, you’re not far from here

we’re not far from here

but I don’t recognize my face

through the nickel blotch

and she says come closer

you stupid girl


there is no way out

there is never a way out

this mirror, she says, is our window


My Interview with Mike

Hey all, I’d like you all to check out the first part of a series of interviews I’m doing with artist/self-taught sculptor/and survivor of severe Rheumatoid Arthritis over at Chicks Dig Scars here: Interview on The Untitled.

Here Mike begins talking about what the sculptures are about, why, and the agony and wonders of being so severely disabled at times.  Please follow him, he’s new to the blogosphere and he deserves to be heard (and he’s hilarious).  Chicks Dig Scars


A Sculpture of Me

Me and Mike on the right



My best friend and artist/sculptor Mike made this of me–a portrait of my madness.   He says it’s not

quite finished yet, a few more fixes and then firing it and glazing… He was inspired to make it after I explained to him what it was really like to be psychotic, and he made it for me.  When I saw it I cried pretty good.  No one knows me in the way that he does.  I’ve written about him before in poems and essays (check out my essay on him: Matters of Time and my poem: Mike)–the artist with severe rheumatoid arthritis (has had many major joints replaced: knees, hips, shoulders…) and he’ll be putting

up a blog soon to show his art and his struggles.  Here’s the sculpture of me!!

Fragile Things

At some point everything becomes clear. That doesn’t necessarily mean a good clear, but fact is preferred over fiction when you’re locked up in a mental ward. Again. And it’s snowing out–and worse–it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re thirtieth birthday is coming and you’re little girl must be looking for you. It’s all you can do to decipher the shell-shocked woman-child looking back at you in the tin mirror bolted to the wall above your sink. Here you get your own sink because this time, this trip into the bin, they knew it was much more serious than they had originally thought, and your “security” was upgraded. You have a thought you would usually have–that the upgrade only makes you feel more nuts–but at this point, you don’t feel nuts. You are nuts. I say to myself ‘I’m clinically insane’ and for a moment I believe it’s something to smile about. When the leading psychiatrist told me on New Year’s Day morning that I was clinically psychotic and suffering from complex PTSD, I thought about my mind–clearly–for a second, and I imagined a blue and orange brain-scan image showing clouds of sick. Then I slipped back into the room , in and out of dissociating, and the yellow walls were much too close and I could taste rubber in my mouth and then the Read More