Dear Father

Dear Father
Oh Father,
I see you pour that drink, your chosen elixir
Just one more you say,
as your hands tremble on the bottle.
Military special, pure amber whiskey
But this is no self love
It’s self destruction
enabled with love
Do you remember when
you forgot the world
So enraptured in your drink
You forgot to pay the mortgage?
Every time I rode with you,
I looked for the opaque 7up glass
Filled with iced amber liquid
and prayed police would look the other way.
I never remember a time
when your glass wasn’t full.
Oh, you’d promise an empty glass
innumerable times.
Do you remember when
you ran into the coast guard
And my 17 yr old self
had to pick you up from jail?
Then it was mandatory AA meetings
and a pledge to cut back,
but that only lasted
for just a little while.
Even when the cancer consumed your body
The cravings demanded answer
So one of us would
hold the glass to your lips.
I don’t know what was worse for you
The cancer or the addiction
Both all consuming
and deadly
Oh Father,
Even though you’re gone,
I hope you know that you were loved
despite your horrible illness
You were never your addiction
Even though it was a part of you,
We remember the steadfast person,
And will forever cherish those memories
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B52, Baker Act

B 52, Baker Act

4:00pm, ambulance ride
The order of white knights saves the day

4:30pm, hospital waiting room
I stare at my lacerated wrists in a daze

8:00pm, evaluation
The doctor determines that I’m a danger to myself.

8:30pm, admission
Psych techs escort me beyond a locked door

9:00pm, sleep
I fall into a deep slumber, the first in three nights

7:00am, nurse turns on light
Time for vitals

7:30am, get dressed
Don’t wear any underwire or strings

8:00am, breakfast
grits and eggs yet again

8:30am, medication
I swallow the pills like a good patient.

9:00am, music therapy
Let’s sing along to, “I’ll survive,” and other songs.

9:30am, meet with doctor
Affirm the retreat of hallucinations

11:00am, psychotherapy
Analyze meditation techniques; what a snooze.

12:00pm, lunch
Escape the unit for a trip to the cafeteria

12:30pm, lunch meds
More meds to keep the anxiety at bay

1:00pm, art therapy
Today we are covering journals

2:00pm, psychotherapy (again)
I get to radically accept that my mental illness is real

3:00pm, rest time
It’s shift change on the ward

3:30pm, read time
How many reader’s digest can I read?

4:00pm, outside time
Run around in the courtyard like a chicken with its head cut off

4:30pm, meet with social worker
Figure out a date of release, hope it’s soon.

5:00pm, dinner time
They really feed us well. Chicken or salad?

5:30, dinner meds
Cause one must take some meds with food

6:00pm, psychotherapy group (for the third time)
DBT strategies for emotional regulation, cause I’m disregulated.

6:30pm, visitation
Always hoped for, but never expected. 2 visitors today.

8:00pm, snack time
popcorn and yogurt, oh my!

8:30pm, night meds
Cause some meds make you sleepy.

9:00pm, tv time
All good patients gather around the screen

9:30pm, bed time
Time to stare at the curtains and make devious plans

10:00pm, pacing time
Cause you don’t want to carry out those plans. Lap 1, lap 2…lap100

11:00pm, sleep
Another night on the unit, how many more, who can say?

Stigma

Stigma
I see phantoms where there are none.
“You must be demon possessed,”
The pastor said.
“Let’s consult an exorcist”
I told my boss I had bipolar disorder.
“She must be unreliable,”
He thought.
And didn’t renew my contract.
The stranger pointed
“She must be dangerous,”
She said
As if I carried a gun or knife.
From inside myself, a tiny voice:
“I feel bad so I must be bad.”
Overwhelmed with shame,
I hid my differentness.
Stigma, a virus spreading
across America
The antidote: Empathy, compassion.
Your voice can spread the cure.

Holiday Blues

Deck the Halls with smiles and gaiety
Tradition says to me
But all I see are shadows of loved ones gone
standing beyond the Christmas tree
And my heart aches,
longing once again to see
My Grandmother in the kitchen
preparing ham biscuits
My Grandfather playing Santa
and handing out presents
My Dad, oh dear Dad,
capturing all the festivities with his camera.
But it isn’t to be
For they are gone, and I’m still here
You may call the colors of the season red and green,
But I call it blue
The only happiness to glean
is on January 2nd, after the holidays have passed.
Until then, I’ll stand on the sidelines
hoping to make it through
Deck the Halls with sighs and grimaces
For that’s the truth of the season

Depression’s Shadow

Depression’s Shadow

Sadness;
I am nothing.

Devoid,
I stand alone.

Empty,
I grasp for hope.

Hopeless,
Tears fill my heart’s ocean.

Sleep,
An endless slumber awaits.

Pointless,
This is life.

Self loathing,
So much hate.

Pain,
Just make it stop.

Apathy,
Why should I care?

Breathless,
Why should I breathe?

Lifeless,
Why should I live?

My soul,
It is in want of meaning,
Crying out,
Desperate for the end.

Yet, a shadow lurks
Beyond the last tear,
Beyond day’s old pillow impressions.

A shadow,
A glimmer
Where hope yet lies
Cast when the light of my eyes
Had yet to dim.

Maybe tomorrow I shall grasp it
And make it a part of me.
But for tonight,
Tonight I shall close my eyes
And wait;
Wait for the nothing.

Divided

We are at Rock bottom.
Divided, a canyon wall separates those of the left and right.
Walking together on separate paths
Seeing altogether different facts
In these #metoo days
Should men worry about being accused?
Or should woman worry about being believed?
“It’s a scary time,” both proclaim
Are humans causing an Earthly detriment?
Or is the Earth warming on her own?
Surely, it’s only one way or another.
And the other is just a conspiracy.
Should we be America first
And celebrate the almighty dollar?
Or should we embrace globalization
And work together on each other’s wealth?
Should I stand
And pledge my allegiance to the flag?
Or should I kneel
And protest institutionalized racism and brutality?
Was the reason jobs fled the heartland
Was because of cheap labor elsewhere?
Or did modern technology automate processes
Replacing the human?
Will no one offer a path out of this abyss?
Certainly not the man in the oval office
Whose 2am tweets dig deeper holes,
And taller walls with barbed wire fences.
And certainly not the Establishment Left
Whose positions have been bought and paid
By the dark money corporations
That they decry of the Right
Somewhere in the middle
a lifeline exists
Someone must have the tools
To bridge the divide
The Mason Dixon line has been drawn in the sand
Unless a solution is found,
The war will wage on
Tearing our country apart.
Let us let go of out heartfelt beliefs for a moment
And consider the truths of the other side.
Let us come together at the top of the wall
And be undivided.

Ode to Dr. Ford

He was a favorite uncle,
A babysitter,
A neighbor,
A classmate,
A brother in law,
A cousin,
A modeling agent;
A familiar face in a young woman’s life.
A touch unwanted,
A photograph taken,
A sleep disturbed,
A shirt removed,
A moment stolen,
A scream muffled,
A No unheeded:
“No, no, no, no!”
And then:
Fear,
Shame,
Guilt,
Pain unending;
Broken.
A whisper in a friend’s ear,
A rebuke and a cold shoulder:
“Boys will be boys.”
“Why didn’t you say no louder?”
“Why did you wait so long?”
“How dare you ruin his reputation!”
But I say to you:
Make no excuses for his atrocities,
Collect those tears and triumph over your fears;
Let no man take away your humanity.
You are:
Strong,
Valiant,
Valued,
Righteous,
Courageous.
You are more than the sum of his actions;
You deserve to be heard.
Shout from the rooftop for justice;
You survived.
Now, keep surviving;
Live, and live well in spite of the pain.
But don’t fear to grieve innocence stolen,
Or face the naysayers; there are many.
Each day is a puzzle piece of solace returned
Each day another opportunity to bring your light into the world.
Just Shine.