Tag Archives: bipolar

This Mood Of Mine

This mood of mine, 
serotonin desert,
endorphin drought — oh,
science be damned:
to put it plain, I’m killing me
and I don’t know why.

It’s been so long
since a manic storm
took its toll upon me
that I almost miss it.
Almost. Folks assume
those highs are a pleasure;

let me tell you: no,
no and no again. The crest
of that wave rises too high
and the adrenaline lift
only makes you too loose
to handle the damage

when you plunge
to the trough 
that waits below.
Right now, though, 
I’d welcome the ride
as a change of pace,

for mood of mine, bipolar’s
trench, shallow grave
that deepens
as I lie in it,
I swear I will fight you
as long as I can.

This too shall pass, some say.
This too shall fade away
and I will remain, 
but none who speak of this can say 
what will be left:
a man alive or a mummy,

a nest of bones weathered
to leather scraps and white junk
or a croaking mess begging
for anything wet at all
to drown in. To put it plain
I am
 killing me

and although
it might save me
to do so,
to trickle forth a little pain
for public view,
I can’t even cry.


What I Should Have Said At My Exit Interview

I should have said
“consider me”
more often.

I should have cared less
that they did not.

I should have
made them feel at least
some small pain
upon attempting
to change me.

I should have considered
myself more often, earlier,
less shamefacedly, less
amenable to their molds.

When they said, “We want you
to just be your best self,” I should have
looked around and realized
who they thought I was
or could be. I should have known
that I was too odd to be myself
for them, since when I was myself
I was too odd
and uncomfortable for me.

I should have just seen
the short care they extended,
the impatient worry, the limits of 
the grace they could afford me
as I made my way sputtering
and thrashing through.

I should have just said that — 
maybe I could have avoided
those nights alone at conventions,
in business hotel rooms
at three in the morning,
unable to sleep, air conditioning
turned up to sub-zero level,

wondering 
how the hell I would handle
five meetings tomorrow
when I couldn’t even get up
and turn the Arctic away
from my skin,

wonderding
if this is how my body would feel
next week, after I finally did it,
after I was finally dead.

They told me leaders
and managers needed to be
less moody. I should have said,

yes, I know.

I should have said
at the beginning of this
that you should not think of it
as a poem of regret,
or sour grapes;
rather, this is
published research

on exactly how a system
built for narrow health

can and did
without a malicious thought
by anyone
who fit inside 

strangle someone
broken wide open
at all seams

who still cannot fathom
a return to anything
that anyone inside
might call “normal.”


Warm Salt Water

Spent this life sipping
warm salt water
in drops, only

warm salt water
and only in drips and
drops,

yet am expected
to taste sweetness
easily and reject

the only taste 
I’ve ever known
at once, with no thought

as to how all those
dribs and drabs of salt
may have burned

my ability to taste
anything else.  You do 
not understand how

oceanic it is in here,
how such trickling
pleasantry and joy

disappear into
that sea with no 
trace; meanwhile

warm salt comes
relentlessly, in bits and
blips, filling, spilling.

Spend a life sipping
those and see
what happens when

another flavor offers itself
to your tongue. See how
it feels to understand that

what you are meant to love
cannot touch you now.
See how you cry then:

it won’t even
feel like a loss as you
sip the drops,

as you shrug off
the suggestion
that there could be 

anything else for you
but the sip and the 
slipping away.


And They Said

First
I was a moody child
and they said I’d grow out of it
Next
I was a moody teen
and they said it was normal
Then
I was a troubled young adult
and they said it might be a problem
Truth was
I felt from birth that I’d swallowed a dragon
and all they said was that I needed to buckle down
Later on
I could feel the dragon growing huge in me
and they said I needed to “man up” somehow
Of course
I began to sample all their pills to kill the dragon
and they said prescribing was an art not a science
In addition
I talked about it incessantly in offices to chase it out
and they said it was a slow process
All the time
I kept bouncing from dragon love to dragon rage within
and they said don’t worry it smooths out after you hit 40
As 40 approached
I felt the hollow of the cavern the dragon had gnawed out of me
and they said there are some cases that are just stubborn
As 40 passed 
I felt now and again pure flame spouting through my pores
and they said there’s a chance you are one of the unlucky ones
As 45 passed
I had a moment where I thought the dragon was gone
and they said you seem happy
As happy passed
I pulled and tugged on the dragon to make it go
and they said oh come on grow up this again
Now is the moment
I assume I am mostly dragon now
and they shrugged and said we’ve got nothing
and they said you’re a shell full of monster
and they said if only there were still swords and heroes
and they said are you even listening
and they said
and they said
and they said


Combatting Despair

I do not trust
what is called “joy”
longer
than a second or two
beyond its initial arrival

or the feeling called
“despair”
for any longer than that
either

preferring instead
to poke at each in turn
until they morph into something
called
“closely watched anxiety”

which lasts and is
genuine

because I call it so
and can understand it with my head

while joy and despair
(not unfamiliar to me
but never completely welcome)
being more emotions of the marrow

are too bone deep
and beyond thought
to be trusted
to endure

the joy may leak free and leave me in despair
the despair may freeze in there
and still me

thus leaving me either way
in despair
too deep to break apart

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Seeing Clearly

Sea change today,
if you can call it that
this far from the ocean.
Overcast, cooler;
all the notes struck
by recent sunshine
have turned minor.

Sunday, I heard voices inside.
They were bells tolling an ending.
Tuesday, today, I hear nothing
but the neighborhood,
quiet at last.  Everyone’s
at work or school.  I should be
working too.  I am working,
in fact, or so I say when I’m asked

because I’m glad not to be interacting
with anyone right now.  Too many
voices from outside still
the ones inside,
and I want to be able to hear.

They were silver, nugget-rough,
precious.  They cut me
when I pressed them.  They told me
what I already knew, so I trusted them
and feared them.

I don’t hear them now.
Maybe it was the sun
and warm earth, drying audibly
after days of rain,
that spoke to me
and suggested that I needed
to die.

I don’t know why light
would amplify sound,
but I do know I can taste
a terrible scent of ocean
on the wind today:
a dull flavor, lead dull,
no glint to it.

I await the return
of the sunshine
with my ears
cocked and afraid.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

A Voice At Easter

Today, early
on Easter Morning,
I reached the start
of the long awaited
final stage:

I heard a voice,
perhaps
my own voice, more
lyrical than usual,
urgently describing
over and over
an arm and a motion —
some arm holding
a long blade
slashing, its arc
aimed between
a clavicle and a throat
and the throat in danger
was my own.
This kept happening
till the day
was almost over.

I tell you,
I have expected this.

I did not know for sure
how it would be,
and while I’m not happy,
there are at least
concrete issues now
to consider and solve:

how I can be standing inside
the body with the knife
and be also the body
that the knife divides;

or how the voice can
be my own
and still foreign;

or why this all began
as I looked at the daffodils
and enjoyed the sunshine;

or why I still carved the ham at dinner
against my better judgment;

what the voice will say in the morning
or why it was quiet after I spoke back —

think, I tell myself.

Think hard, figure it out.
Think.  Don’t feel.

Whatever you do,
do not feel.

Push that stone
back over that particular door.

Blogged with the Flock Browser