Category Archives: Poetry

Ode #4

Our human mirror is smudged by your false promises,
your stories sold to us in bright, shiny bottles and
neat, crisp labels pulled from
your Bible of Dehumanization.

You’ve covered our glass with a thick coat of deception,
your intoxicating fumes distorting what we look like,
what we think it means to be human.

Beneath this dense coat of your greed,
(for your pockets are lined with the exploited tears and fears and unchecked joys of those of us who feel and think too much for your liking),
our patient, human Truth awaits us, a nation of patients.

To struggle, to suffer, to yearn, to seek: this is the Truth of why we’re human.

Psychiatry, I have scraped you from my mirror, and
I have wiped the glass clean to see a stranger looking back,
this human being I’m only now beginning to know, to love, to trust.

I have peacefully buried your remains in an
ever-growing graveyard of labels and pills, for
I must tell you, Psychiatry, that
I am
but one of many
who’ve wiped the mirror clean of you
to see a new face looking back,
beautiful and human and free.

On the Subway (Life After Psychiatry)

Life after Psychiatry:

I feel the music;
the rumble of metal on metal;
the energy of fifty strangers
breathing, sneezing, sniffling, humming, living,
brothers and sisters recognized for the first time;
this heart in my chest, my heart, pumping life.

There’s a depth of sense unavailable to the pharmaceuticalized body—
only in liberated hindsight do I know this to be true.
Never could I know this while mired in
that numb, cold wasteland seeping out from a thousand orange pill bottles,
a wasteland once so familiar
that I was sure it was home.

Home, today, is this subway car,
these strangers,
the air in my lungs,
my body’s verve, pulsating, alive.

Home, today, is everywhere, now that I’m free.

A Remembered Truth

over the span of thirteen years
you altered my sacred chemistry,
slicing off my budding adolescence
and throwing it to a pack of
ravenous beasts.

you warped my body
so that it no longer knew
how to listen to itself,
and my sexuality: you turned her into
nothing but a lonely ghost of the
fourteen-year old girl
you swallowed whole.

you turned my brain into a
wasteland of toxins,
a pharmaceutical sewer
for you to bathe in daily.

of the countless possessions you took from me,
there’s one I haven’t yet reclaimed,
and perhaps never will:
Memory,
which you spooned into
your greedy mouth
with the caps of a thousand pill bottles,
devouring it whole,
smacking your lips,
satisfied with just another human treat.

yes, my life’s scrapbook
of moments lived,
however dark and twisted
many may have been,
you took from me,
burning its pages to keep you warm.

pill hustler,
preacher of false promises,
creature of greed,
you took from my mind
years of life lived.

I have forgiven you this
because I choose not to be
your emotional slave,
and I have forgiven you this
because of all the memories lost to you,
one was too strong to stay in your stomach,
and returned itself to me
on a warm spring day only a few years ago,
when it whispered gently in my ear,
“You are a human being.”

and because of this remembered Truth,
I have pulled myself from your sewers
and am free today to build a lifetime
of new remembrances that
you will never again feast on.

These Words

Words: so many of them
after my name,
for so many years.
Bipolar.
Depressed.
Borderline.
Anxiety-disordered.
Eating disordered.
Dually-diagnosed.
Alcoholic.

These words swallowed me whole, spitting out
a shriveled hunk of barely human,
which sat there rotting
on the doctor’s table,
a specimen for countless professionals to see.

These verbal boxes—
these labels— yes,
they sometimes seem to offer
relief.
An answer.
A sense of belonging.
An explanation for the seemingly
inexplicable fucked-up-ed-ness of
being human.

But really, what do they do
but other us, segregate us,
separate us from the essence
of ourselves?

To shed these labels is to walk forward
into the unknown,
the indefinable,
the completely terrifying.

To shed these labels is to walk forward
into the infinite space
of human experience,
where true freedom awaits,
unspoken.