Tag Archives: mental illness

A Thorn

She’s awake again, I realize, as I myself tumble out of sleep,
to land agitated and out of sorts in the bed, empty of her.
I see the kitchen light shining up from beneath the door,
and realize she’s can’t sleep, so she’s at the table writing.
This thorn in her brain that drips blood into her thoughts,
and scabs over her sweet nature, wounding her light.
This thorn that that festers and infects her dreams, hopes,
and that can’t be pushed out of the soft pink of her dreams.
I get up, still only in my underwear, and by dim light make
my way to the bedroom door, to got to her, to offer love.
Her head is down, and she’s wearing a ratty, pink bathrobe,
typing away at her laptop, not even a glass of tea beside her.
I wrap my arms around her chest, and kiss her head, that still
smells of her favorite strawberry scented shampoo, now discontinued.
She shrugs off my embrace, and continues typing, feverishly,
as if the thorn were a sickness that could be sweated out by words.
I go back to bed, but can’t sleep, knowing how she’s hurting,
and furious and full of fire for the broken world she’s found herself in.
About 4 AM, she finally comes back to bed, but she’ll have to wake at 6.
She takes off her robe, gets under the covers, cuddles up close to me.
“The horrors come so easily.” She says, her face buried in my shoulder.
“Sometimes my heart burst with love for all things, but I can’t write those words.”
“I’ll just stare at the page, wanting to fill them with visions of innocence and sweetness.
But the horrors are always there, just flow write out, never ending, so skillfully made.”
Exhausted at last, she falls asleep, but she sighs and whimpers, still not at peace.
Will hard scare tissue grow over the thorn, grow over it’s insult to her mind?
I kiss her head, and her cheek, whisper the sweetest things I can think of
into her ear, to try and reach out into the darkness, to leaven this pain.
I feel her heart racing, pounding to be free, in her thin, strong, saint’s chest.
The horror inside her world and outside in this one run her down, a fox in the hunt.
The thorn is stuck so deep, can I or anyone else that loves her pull it out again?
Is it’s wound and poison in there forever, blood poisoning all the way to her soul?
I kiss her lips gently, and sing an innocent song to her, to soothe her dreams.

Testament Of Witches

Lawson McGhee Library on a Friday Morning. Mental health day.

A real one. The demons and furies and mad, guilt stricken mobs

all out in the open prairie, beneath the holy bowl, in my mind.

The sun is soft, but growing hot, in the simple, one pane windows,

as I sit, trying to dream a new dream that lets me escape, not fear

the light and heat of the coming summer, all the poisons sweated out.

Hide in the thick and close non-fiction stacks, away from the windows,

and most other people and their nitpicking and accusatory eyes of green.

I look for the testament of witches, the last words of a blasphemous prophet.

And I don’t like the wide open places, too like the prairies without cover,

easy prey for the demons and beasts and the stars that tear your soft flesh.

Deep in the stacks. Deep in the quiet. Deep in words not motivated by lust.

And evening falls, the most cruelly banal part of the day, the deadest inside.

And I must walk in open territory of The Fort, with my demons, and with drunks.

A book I carry my finally reveal the Words of God, in a dark and raging story.

Broken Winged Angel

Felicity came, ethereal spirit, broken winged angel.

I lay on my side looking at her in the dark of the room.

Her light flickered and was ashen grey, blurry at the edges.

She was dreaming, a moment of sleep out on the front.

She sent her light to me, as I lay in the mental asylum,

slipping away from her and what remnants remained of hope.

Her smile was strained, and she held her side, chest rising laboriously.

Even in dreams we hurt and we bleed and the demons come to claim us.

I had been awake all night, and now I could make it through, for she came.

Her light walked towards me, still in her tattered and dirty uniform.

She crouched beside me, and she stroked my cheek, looked into my eyes.

I saw the light becoming distorted, I saw the horrors blotting out her hope.

Tears filled my eyes, and I felt shame again at being broken, and left behind.

Through her light, she kissed my head, tenderly kissed my lips, wiped away the tears.

The war was here and it was everywhere, no escape from the blood, the loss, the bitterness.

She stood up, and then flickered and disintegrated and then was gone, her eyes lingering.

She can never stay, only comes in the dead of night, and is losing herself out on the front.

I am broken and cannot be by her side. I weep bitterly. I slip away into tormented sleep.


There are still stacks of opened boxes, the windows still uncovered,

but I feel somewhat safe, being back from the road, and behind a

row of thick trees.

Just a couch and my laptop, and the plastic, toy horses my kid sister

played with when she was little, before the demons started an endless

war in her head.

I sit Indian style in front of them on the floor, hardwood against my bare

ankles, playing with them, trying to make stories and find the right childlike

spell that will make her whole again.

My kid sister, not a kid, now a woman, sleeps upstairs, still plagued by bad

dreams even then. The demons don’t let her be. I can’t call down the angels,

and I doubt God saying doesn’t forsake us.

I put on puppet shows for her, about King Arthur and Guinevere fighting Satan,

and make up ballads of Archangel Michael fighting Satan, casting him out forever,

giving her hope her ware can be won.

At night she’ll sometimes sit outside on the back patio, even as winter comes,

in her nightshirt and jammie bottoms, listening to melancholy hymns on her

headphones. Even with God, this world is bittersweet.

I remember, when she was little, I was her favorite brother, and she followed me

like an angelic familiar, like the hope of a new morning even after a long dark night,

and I remember playing with the horses she so loved.

And she could make me see, in my older and lazy third eye, that we were riders on

the steppes and on the plains and the ancient mountains, priests and warriors in the

world so resigned to evil.

And I try to call that magic now, re-open my third eye so I can make my way to the battle,

so doesn’t have to fight alone, so she can be happy and wild yet again, be Michael chasing

Satan out forever, so she can be Gabriel, telling the world what it needs to hear.

Lake June

Cara shivered in the dark lake, the very end of summer,
maybe already to cold to be out in the water, and with
the sun gone under, just a low, raw red on the horizon.
She tread water in the cold lake, not wanting to go back,
back to the lake house haunted by better, sweeter times,
to the troubled thoughts, troubled sleep, she always faced.
But finally, she swam back, leaving by even the fleeting peace,
of being alone, and not having to face anyone, and their endless
questions, endless assumptions, assuming they knew it all.
She emerged from the water, started to dry with her beach towel,
and it was now pitch black, the lake house lit with hazy gold light,
a beacon from another time, a time she could barely recall now.
Last night of their holiday home for the season, back to Walchula,
where all her friends had already left for college and careers, marriage
and all that adult stuff she still couldn’t put together, here at 23.
Cara went inside and her mother smiled at her, told her to get showered
and dressed so they could go to her Uncle’s for the end of summer family
get together. Cara smiled, did as she was told, dreading all of it.
Now dressed in white blouse with a bow, and knee length black skirt,
She waited on the front steps to go, wishing the she could defeat the
madness, the disorder and chaos in her mind, all the shit holding her back.
Always tired from fighting through the jungle of her thoughts, feeling as if
she was macheting her way through it eternally and never getting to the
other side, to the clearing, or the grasslands, were all was open under the sun.
The night was cool, the air still, as she waited for her mom and dad to come,
and for them to go to her Uncle’s, and to try and make it through, to have
a good time, and not feel all those eyes upon her, all those judging “Good People”.
For just a moment in the night, she could rest.


I push her on the swing, tied to the tall branch of the giant tree in her front yard.

It’s not like when we were kids, but it’s still sweet on a warm late April afternoon.

We are quiet, lettingĀ  the wind whisper and the leaves rustle, the sun warm us.

She’s back in town for Spring Break, and I’m having one of my calm spells, all is well.

Her slim shoulder blades are warm under my palms, as I softly push her up and up again.

The tree is the Tower of Babel before it was struck down, when we could both speak.

Another year has passed. She sends funny cards for my birthday, and a book store gift card.

I write her poems that I email her college account, wresting beautiful words out of my unquiet.

My uncle joked when we were kids that we’d get married one day, but her angels were stronger.

Her angels were stronger and she is still a child of the sun, and I fight to climb back to daylight.

Demons, like wasps in caterpillars, plant their fetid seeds in your dreams, eat them from the inside.

She looks up through the leaves to the blue sky, and there’s still one of her angels holding my hand.

She asks if I want to go with her to Roland’s for supper tonight, says it will be her treat.

I say yes, and I almost feel normal, like a real live human, having friends, going out with them.

She hugs me, and she seems so small in my arms, so much gossamer swallowed by my weight.

She gives me an extra squeeze and she walks to the porch, waves back at me before going inside.

I wave back, and then walk down the streets that seem so mocking, so dark in their amiable light.

Tonight I will see her, and we’ll have a good time, and I’ll keep that ember to fight the hungry wasp.


Ariadne, golden thread,

when I was left in the labyrinth

to be devoured by The Minotaur,

led me, through the endless halls

and lightless days and awful cold

and the terror of the beast

back up to the light, back up to

the sun, and the warmth of summer,

away from The Minotaur’s devouring.

Golden thread, alight and golden,

shown in that bottomless pit,

through the catacombs

as I shivered in that bitter bleak,

as the fear of the beast hunting me,

the fear of endless dark in it’s belly,

to hold onto, thread through shaking

hands, and follow back to the sun,

to warmth of daylight and life in bloom.

Ariadne, standing there, as I came out

of the pit, that bottomless pit, holding

the end of the golden thread in her hands

hands that let it go as I emerged, and stroked

my face and wiped away my tears, and raised me up

and showed me the sun was still there shining,

and that the beast had not won, The Minotaur

had not taken my soul as a feast, that I was out

of the darkness, and it all could be wonderful again.

From The Other Side Of The Ocean

Out in the desert, on the way to Los Angelas, on a family trip.
Tired from riding all day, down from the green, cold mountains
into the sparse and bright desert, the reptiles and snakes around.
It was almost sundown, the sunlight melting away, and the night
coming down, and with it cold, cold I’d fought I’d left back home.
I never knew it got cold in the desert.
You, little sis, all awkward sharp edges and mussed hair, stood
on the edge of the railing of the pull off, looking west, to the sea,
to city shining like a golden bowl in the distance, incense to be offered.
You were growing, and I was almost grown, and it wasn’t easy anymore,
like when we were young and would play together, knew our world better.
I would be leaving soon for college. You would be going to junior high.
In the fading light, the velvety and gauzy sunset still lingering, I took a picture.
It would capture you, hugging your self, the wind fluttering that wild mop of hair,
the eyes so sad, the beginning of you calling the angels to hold you.
You heard the camera click, and turned to me, an odd look in your eyes,
both tender and distant, as if trying to call out my name from the other side
of the ocean, as if to pull me to you, locked away in the sun.
I put my arm around you, and you buried your face in my side, and it felt
calm and holy, like silence was a true hymn and speaking an unforgivable
It was the last holy moment for us, for so, so very long.

Wedding Day

Awake in the night, watching sparse snow flakes fall,

wishing I could see the demon that is out there,

that can see me so clearly.

Hot, black coffee, because what is sleep? What are dreams?

Rebekah is in my mind, poetess, the impossible good thing.

Not her, not any other woman, will ever be at my side in these moments.

I lay down in my bed, knowing there is no hiding from the demon, he knows all.

My enemy is closer to me than any passing women ever was, knows me true.

The snow stops, the night goes on, and I dream of being innocent.

Of kissing Rebekah on our wedding day.

Just dream.


A Vibrating Star

She’s wearing a long sleeved white sweater,

black capri pants, and plain white tennies.

Mother is fussing over her, smoothing her hair,

telling her it will be alright, she doesn’t needĀ  lucky pennies.

Her first date tonight, something like a normal kid,

something good in this world that’s taken so much.

She turns to me, the one found her that cold night,

when she was almost lost, beyond the sun’s touch.

Her eyes hopeful, but unsure, calling for reassurance.

I smile kiss her head, tell her it will be real swell time.

She smiles, all light from a vibrating star, her light

finally escaping a black hole, making dreams rhyme.

I take her picture, wanting to hold onto this moment,

hopeful and beautiful and sweet, after we almost lost her.

The demon did not win, we saved her in time, but he is patient.

I know that darkness falls again, can’t defeat, only defer.

The doorbell rings, and she squeals and is so ecstatic.

She found a boy who loves her, who will be her brave one.

Me and mother hug her, and then she runs to the door.

The boy is there, hugging her tight, consolation for what can’t be undone.