Saturday, January 15, 2011

The paranoid poet

Between the poet and the grimacing woman
on a beat-up blue bicycle,
lies a blurred wasteland.

She hasn't always been this person.

Her squalid apartment
the letters scrawled in mad ink
that fizz by themselves in my in-basket

the dreamy smile
that makes her look, suddenly, young.

Walking the tightrope with her
ignoring the drop of the past,
avoiding looking down
to recognize the loss
and spinning, headfirst
into dizzying sadness.

The fear that I, too, might unravel
and spin off into nothing.

- - - - - - - - - - -

CM is a published poet, a librarian in a past life and a client of mine. She recently admitted that she suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and fears that she'll be evicted, now that her landlord knows the truth about her. She insists that her mental illness doesn't affect her ability to write poetry.

I worry about her a lot, visit her often and get almost weekly letters from her. Once or twice a year, she'll send me a poem. I treasure those.

The man with the "golden voice" has me thinking of such things... I imagine a government social worker, somewhere, cheering him on, knowing this was coming, all along.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Photo from the Howard Finster collection at the High Museum in Atlanta. I was there recently to see the DalĂ­ exhibit and... wow!


Jayne said...

God bless you for what you do Laura.

Rabbits' Guy said...

How do you do it?

Ruth said...

I wish your client and the man with the golden voice the best. Hopefully the stigma of mental illness is slowly being eroded as people like you talk about it.

dguzman said...

You're so cool, and I'm glad to call you a friend.

Larry said...

Thanks for the post.It reminds me of someone who was very close to me who suffered with a similar type of illness.It didn't stop her from reading poetry either.

TaraDharma said...

lovely and thoughtful Post.

"The fear that I, too, might unravel
and spin off into nothing."

doesn't that just sum it all up? It's why we should be compassionate - it could be us on the receiving end. Cosmically, I guess it already IS us on the receiving end.

Thanks for stopping by -- good to see an old friend.