Today I’ll share yet another poem I wrote during my 1990 admission to Parkside Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
If yesterday’s poem demonstrated how my associations had loosened (in the psychotic sense), if it betrayed the way my brain was processing (or not processing, as the case may be) something we’ll loosely call information, then today’s piece provides the same kind of evidence, indicating even more strongly how strange my “thinking” had become.
“I am in my own mind, / I am locked in the wrong house.”
—Anne Sexton, “For the Year of the Insane”you wonder why I am sick but you must come to understand that apple trees drop apples before they’re ripe and the apples rot. you must come to understand that I am made to think of kitchen utensils and screwdrivers which belong in separate drawers but which for me are all mixed up with cotton balls and alcohol and clothes pins that are used to hang laundry on the line. doing laundry is a difficult chore. i have trouble getting the spots out, getting blood out of panty crotches, so that when they dry, they dry stiff more like cardboard than cotton. (25 march 1990)
I apparently went round and round with this during my stay at the hospital, as I have several variations in my journal. I won’t bore you with the embarrassing awfulness of any others.
Please know though, that I have no earthly idea what this means and will rightly claim the insanity defense, for what it’s worth. What was I thinking? Likely, a strong case could be made that I wasn’t thinking with anything remotely resembling reason, let alone sanity.
But then again, maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, maybe my inability to make sense of this is a lesson in learning to develop empathy for myself, for who I was at that time.
How scared I must have been! How confused!
And what about others, the ones who are still struggling, right now–in real-time?
Let’s remember them————————