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In the Psych Ward


A choking terror detonates the psych ward:
drug-blank faces of fellow patients who mind
their minds, who converse with shadows, won’t eat
or bathe until sweethearts call and beg they try
at being, at swallowing swill and saying please,
ask what must be kept down to leave, get told nothing.

Friends come, ask what I need, I say nothing;
I am nothing but furniture to this ward.
Guilty as a white jailbird, I am the worst warden to please:
How could you? How could I? Why mind
autumn for the sum of its deaths and not try
at fixing something simple, something salty to eat.

Stomach scoured raw with pill dust, I eat
fruit cocktail, limp veggies, want nothing
but am told I can’t get out if I don’t try
to be the tasty fairy of cheer sugaring the ward,
chin up, giving up the gray ghosts of my mind
that say, Damselcunt, Call our names sweet, please.

Here, Doctor, my chapped little hooves, if you please,
take their measly bites of meat. I am no good to eat
but will pay a thousand bucks a day for you to chew my mind
into something that purrs gently, stirs for nothing.
I give you my word —(disorder)— I’ll shine up this ward
with whatever chemicals you’ll give me. I’ll try to try.

Herr Doktor, I’m tired of speaking of how I tried
to get out of this body. How I failed. Please,
can I have a pen again? Dark words aren’t wards.
Nothing but sporks to cut gristle, we use fingers to eat.
Someone’s carved, Help! I’m Alive, into ecru with nothing,
someone with ingenuity, a razor spangled mind.

Dread in the heart, heart in the fatty mind,
I pretzel my legs, breathe, give meditation a try,
mutter my mantra quietly: Let me be nothing,
Let me be not a thing, Let me be. Please?

I’ll eat all the sour milk shit I’m given to eat.
I’ll not touch all the mirrors. I’ll take life as my ward.

O mind of thunder, mind of thick night, please
the white coats, try, say the drugs work, eat,
censure nothing-wishes with vigilant ward.



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