Mania, O Mania

At first it was a brain on fire
cruel nights, razors, psychosis
gods talked and demons caressed
you are Eve, Mother Mary, Whore,
anything your brain tells you
you threw all your belongings out
the window, glass cut you, you tried
to hurl yourself out, only stopped
when a wailing mother dragged you
to a straitjacket, and stale hospital
beds, the ward couldn’t hold you,
the drugs drowned you, but your
madness still frothed to a foam
the voices and sobbing Devil were
sweet, horrible, murderous, splendid
the nurses were angels, your parents
were predators, you couldn’t remember
your name – Iris, Puck, Persephone –
you cycled through myth encyclopedias
a new delusion to wear each day,
Depakote and Seroquel and Clonazepam
they all sounded like veneral diseases,
but you swallowed the medicine anyway,
nurses checked under your tongue, a
gulp of water to make them go down,
you scribbled mania in rainbow pencils
lit the ward up with rabid laughter,
it took four years to find yourself
again, and truly, you never even left
the hospital, because inside, you still
carry the skinhead Buddhist monk on crack
the beautiful olive diplomat’s daughter
the girl who picked her wrist wounds
the words of the pagans and poets, you
are a walking mausoleum, and bipolar bodes
unwell, chronic, there is never an escape.

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