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Category: Poetry

Am I Going Crazy?


This poem was originally published October 2, 2014 for national poetry day. I thought it appropriate for this Throw Back Thursday, the Fifth of November. Remember, remember.

Am I Going Crazy?
Am I going insane and dazed?
Am I too lost to face this?
And what will it cost to escape?
Nothing is right.
I am so scared.


Surrounded. No way out.
Count the walls. One. Two. Three. Four. Where is the door? Someone please, show me the door. I don’t see it.
Everything is the same.
The light is bright. Pleasant, not harsh like before. What is this before? Nothing is before. All is now.
Now. Soon it will be later, but that will be now too.
I need something. Smell, taste, sound. All I do is see. Eye before eee, except after see. Not that see. See.
My arms will not move. Is imprisoned a feeling? Is immobile a state you can embrace? I try to turn my head, but I can’t. My neck is frozen in place, but I cannot feel what holds it.
Do you understand? I cannot feel. Do you know what that is like?

Inhale deeply. The only sound is my breath. Don’t fluorescent lights hum? I strain, but nothing. Silence.
I cannot scream to bring sound to this place of sameness.
Smell. Surely there is something. The canned air of an institution. Can you not smell air when it is stale?
Inhale again. Nothing. Not the faint smell of bleach, not the smell of cheap air freshener covering the scent of human waste and sweat. Those I have smelled before.
There it is again. Before.
But I do not smell it now. And all is now, now, now.
Now I smell nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing, see only soothing, plain light.
Mellow light.
Haunting light.
Might as well be nothing light.

I cannot lick my lips. Something surrounds my tongue so it to cannot move. My lack of feeling extends to my mouth too. I don’t know what it is.
I cannot taste it. Cannot taste the sticky dryness of a morning after sleep induced by alcohol or pills, it matters not which. Nothing.
My one sense, sight, fills my world with boredom. Does time pass?
Well, does it?

Nothing is right.
I must escape this, no matter what the cost.
I am lost, too lost to face this.
I am going insane and I am dazed.
I am going crazy.
I am so scared.

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Eyes close. There is nothing to see. The room is dark, the ceiling above
the same shade it was last time you looked.
How long ago?
Five minutes? Jesus, please let it be
five minutes.
A glance at the clock. Not five. Three. Why not
two more?

Eyes close. Where is the off switch for my mind? How can I stop
these dreams, these images? Why must they
choose now to come?
five minutes? Jesus, please let it be
five minutes.
A glance at the clock. Not five. Two, this time.
What happened to five?

Eyes close. There is nothing to see. The room is dark, the ceiling above
the same shade it was last time you looked.
A blink?
All I get this time is a fucking blink?
Not five minutes. Not two.
Don’t glance at the clock. It won’t be good. Won’t be…
What happened to two?

Dry eyes. They won’t even blink now. There is no respite from
the constant, meager light. The ceiling above the
same shade as the last time I looked.
Five minutes, two minutes, a blink?
No. Not a goddamn thing.
I might as well get up, since I’m sleepless.
What else should I do?

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As many of you know, often even just as a form of therapy, I write some free-verse type poetry. It is likely crude, even offensive to true poets. But I wrote this recently. This is a holiday gift to you.

Change. It evokes in us a feeling of fear. As if in embracing it, we
will not something new gain, rather might
experience loss. We fear what we possess is scarce, and in letting
it go, moving forward
we might never recover what we left behind. We hold on fruitlessly to
poison. Grip sickness tightly to our chests, embracing day after day the
harm. Whispering to the hurt the words: “I love
you. I love you. I love you.”
While it stabs us, screaming in rage: “Die!
Do not seek to live! Die!”

Something changed in me yesterday.
Not for want of trying before. For try
I had.
For who wants to live in a storm
of jealousy, fear, anxiety, dependent upon another
for the security of one’s soul?
I surveyed those surrounding me. Enabling those
who did not love them to maneuver
their feelings, govern their actions, the unwitting
control born of fear.

Fear of loss. Fear of rejection. Fear their lover
might yell. Their soul mate might begin a conflict
over a misplaced dish, a toilet seat left up
or down.
A roll of paper around a cardboard tube, be it
towels or that meant for more private business.
Their lives were filled with anxiety, that un-medicated
might for them spell “The End” whether by their own
hand, physical or psychological consequence.
Heart attack.

So often, I thought myself above it all. Seldom swayed
by the opinion of others. Rarely dependent on their view
of me for my self-esteem. My confidence arising from the well
of belief.
Belief in myself. Belief in the ultimate logic of
the world around me. Inner peace was my desire, and yet
for some reason my search was thwarted. Instead I fought.
Fought for peace. Expecting it from conflict to rise.
Struggled against the world and those around me for possession
of my inner sanctuary.

My heart was attacked. Not by one against which I must defend, and
keep out. But one who, with gentle knock, simple affirmation, offered
an insight. The fault we see in others is so often the area in which
we fail.
Dependence. Jealousy. A sense of divine right. Anxiety. A fear of
what those around me might find lacking in me, and thus deride rather
than embrace.
Peace lay there, an offering of acceptance boxed not in indifference, often
my packaging of choice, but rather in love.
Heart attacked.

Rather seek to keep out the invasion of true
compassion and kindness, instead I shouted the order loud and without
reservation. “Open the gates!”
Open. The invader came, not with sword, and shield, but with a look that
compelled me to set mine aside. My companions within fled from the
power of the new presence. Fear, anxiety, dependence, and jealousy took
flight, not looking back. An embrace, both welcome and new, overtook
a place in my chest. The new invader and I became one.

A change. Accepted, not repelled. Not brought on by yet
another source of dependence. For in holding on to that which is
so precious, surely we become dependent again. And it on us, our happiness
tied to mood.
Secured by fleeting feelings, rather than loyalty. Loyalty, not a feeling but
a commitment, one that when true leaves no room for jealousy, fear, anxiety,
or loss. For it does not selfishly say “You are mine.” Or with false selflessness
proclaim “I am yours.” Rather it says simply:
“I am I,
You are you. So we are we.”

Out fear. I used to fall to you. No more.
Out jealousy. I will no longer try to possess that which is not mine.
Out anxiety. What is worry of tomorrow but negative expectations?
Out dependence. My worth will no longer be tied to the perception of another.
As I push these out, I must in their place put something.


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The Hard Stuff

I sit down to write, Not a song, not a
poem. Not a rock anthem to thrill
the masses, please the DJ’s, or be the pick of the
top 40 stations.

Not a piece of poetry filled with rhythm and rhyme, with all
the right accents, the correct emphasis on
syllables and beats, but what does flow
from my fingers like fire is the story…

A story so personal and powerful that my fingers cannot dance across
the keys fast enough. The words pile on top of one another, the dyslexic nature
of my fingers betrays my ability to correct them. That will have to
wait, because all that matters is the passion, the fear, the anger,
the doubt, the uncertainty. I write to calm the storm of thoughts, the multitude of
voices that surround me, the ones that say,
“Yes, it did happen that way. The pain is real.”
The pain is real.
It did happen.
The throbbing dulls with each word, the fear fades with each sentence, the doubt
gives way to certainty with each paragraph.
I am not a writer to please anyone, but to write the hard stuff, the things
that scare me the most, so in the end
my own soul will be healed.

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