Last week I spent a couple days cycling through psychosis & depression & dissociation in one of my regular bipolar episodes. During that time, I found great comfort in communicating via text with an old friend. The language of those messages captured the visceral nature of my episodes, how I see & feel & disperse in the world while in those states. With a light touch, I've crafted that conversation into a poem that I think mimics the shame & worry & sincere panic of my episodes & its aftermath. I thought it might be helpful to contain such motion here.
APOLOGIES TO THE HELP
The night hours did tick, but little comfort
Did I find. I fell from the bed, half-jostled
Awake with arms out like Jesus then face-
Planted on the hardwood floor, & hurt
My back, the space around my body loud
& blurry. I try to ride it like a skateboard
But you know, the occasional scraped
Knee. I am a tumble. I am a frost, a slick
Hillside. I am an ancient hole. I am a forgotten
Tune, sailed back pleas. Shut it down,
I say through my fingers. To deescalate.
To deflate. Let’s wake up & witness how
The colors mix in the morn. Lots of blue
Anthems, now browns. The loving scratch
By the barbed wire of worry. I don’t complete
Them, then incomplete I am. I don’t reconstitute
Then destitute I am. It is like he said, The clouds
We are and terrible things inside happening.
Why am I this way? Why aren’t I a pelican?
But who deserves a hug & how can this
Sandwich even care? What a mess. What a man.
I am covered in pudding while everyone else
They cry into their corn salad. It is truth
But you might rather eat a stick of butter. Classic
Safe word, when it is not safe here, the howling
It gets loud, the elbows bumpy. Plus I smell
Horribly from a day that does this. I might
Try to pick some flowers into the morn.
I wish this poem might land, but nothing but
Seizured bits & ankled syntax. You wouldn’t
Believe this exhaustion. Part liar, part illusionist.
My hands stink & are sticky. Okay, this is when
It happens. The wife leaves, friends disintegrate.
Even my mother went whoa. The blabber & the blur
Disrupt & chop. Sorry to lose you. It was a deal,
Respect even in the weeds. Yes, but are there you
Or though not. It rattles too loudly. I am a foot
For trying. This life aches too loudly for my liking.
Oh supposed so. I’m just tottering on the edge
Of madness, not a new thing. Yes, the grinding
But I have some skills in balance. To not jab you.
To not spook you. Time helps & honoring
My five senses, or more, helps & lemonade
Helps & sleep, if it ever comes, helps, & tight
Teeth helps. Just letting myself squirt, beaten
By the sound of the taste of the worry. It is
A real breakdown, cracked almond. I should go
Feel some grass, hear an owl. I fluster, so don’t
Worry, don’t decade, do song if ever I don’t return.