remembering what it means to be human

under the tyrannous spell of the Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex,
we’ve forgotten what it means to be human,
daily swallowing
a false ideology
in the morning
and at bedtime
with a glass of water
on a full stomach,
terrified of the visage in the mirror.

I ache as I reflect on the many ways we’ve forgotten ourselves,
forgotten that to be in this world
is to feel pain, to yearn, to hide, to ruminate, to struggle.
to cry and scream and curl up and freeze for hours,
years, if left unexplored.

to be human is to fall in love with life and ponder death,
to burst forth like a flaming star
and fizzle into the darkness of despair.
to resist and defy and say no and fight back
and name “normal” the slave driver of the human spirit that it is.

to the Institution of Psychiatry, I have this to say:
you call us crazy for challenging
the false claim you’ve staked on what it means to be human,
and I’ll concede your stragey has worked quite well:
today a society cowers at your feet,
desperately waiting to be taught how to smile.

today the media, government, police, schools, and
average person on the street corner are
trapped unawares by your trickery,
believing that those of us who
call you into question are
in denial of the gravity of emotional pain.
menaces to society.

the irony.

I challenge you, Psychiatry, to give us all you’ve got:
dismiss us, laugh at us, call us insulting names out of
your fifth edition of fraud.
lock our bodies up in prisons called “hospitals” and “group homes”,
our minds in prisons called “medication”,
our selfhoods in prisons called “mental illness.”

Do everything you can to try to silence us
because you can’t
and you won’t
and you know this
and it terrifies you.

you know that you’re entire existence is built on
fear-based fantasy and myth,
and that the human spirit will prevail
for it’s the one thing you can’t enslave.

kept up by this at night (I wonder, do you take Ambien?), each morning
you hide your insecurity behind
a white coat, puffed up chest,
and prescription pad.
you’re so good at performing that sometimes even you forget
that it’s just
on a set of smoke and mirrors.

we all know that one day
you’ll be buried in the darkest annals of human history,
alongside other dehumanizing institutions of social control and annhilation
that came before you.
And already we feel the stirrings of a world
beginning to awaken from your decimating spell,
and remember once again
what it means
to be human.

It’s happening, Psychiatry,
and it’s for your own good.

Mulberry Tree, by Vincent van Gogh

Mulberry Tree, by Vincent van Gogh