After my first hospitalization I began writing. I signed my name, about five times, proving to the staff and myself that I was ready to be discharged. The envelope held against my chest contained reading material, a diagnosis, and copious sheets of paper with lightly drawn animal sketches. Two weeks in a hospital, sitting at a desk by a caddy-cornered television, holding a styrofoam cup of decaf coffee, I'd sit listening to news stories while skimming through piles of xeroxed copies of coloring books. This became the precursor to many more manic months that would eventually and periodically follow.
Adolescent behavior is uncertain, but a child that runs off into a wooded enclosure to scream until collapse is significantly more uncertain. More often than not, when a child screams, an adult comes running. But when the source of the scream is just as misplaced as the child, it will only become an echo lost to the wind. When feeling lost becomes a constant what else is there to do but draw a map, or in this case, animal sketches.
Have you ever cried hysterically while laughing? Not producing tears from a belly ache caused by momentary elation, but two conflicting emotions? Imagine dowsing yourself in gasoline and running into a burning home to get a drink of water. Picture yourself flying through the air, wind caressing your face, but you can't fly, and right before you hit the ground you only just realized that you jumped. No child can prepare for this, as much as an ignorant parent can help their child clean wounds that will not scab over. Medication will become a bandage, and if the wound can never heal, the bandage will eventually be ripped off.
Art therapy before therapy was introduced was sitting on the bedroom floor, fashioning little cut-out rectangles, hole at the top, and string pulled through and wrapped around my big toe. A blanket pulled over my face, just to know what it was like to rest in peace. But you know, kids will be kids, or so they say.
Aspirations to be an artist should have been the first clue that mental illness had come and was here to stay, but the dreamers of the world ruined that. You start painting happy little trees, and two months later you're medicated in a hospital room with the faintest idea of what a tree even looks like, let alone the fact that because of these unimaginable trees you are able to breath. But you are breathing, and slowly you are able to grasp a pencil, and soon after you are able to draw these trees, these happy little trees that you not so long ago had forgotten about. And you lean your face down, nose touching the sheet of paper, and you inhale. You feel reborn. Not exactly home, because, well, you're not home, but you're comfortable in your new skin. This new skin leads the doctors to explain to you that you are manic. You nod your head, obligatory nodding, seeing as how your mind is elsewhere, many places in fact, thinking of all of the ideas you'd like to put on paper. And soon enough you're signing your name, multiple times, being discharged with your diagnosis. This is your enlightenment you're told. This is the first day of your new life.
But it's not. The cycling wasn't explained. And you failed to read the paperwork given to you that was sealed in the envelope. Instead you tore it open to procure your drawings and discarded the rest of the contents.
Those drawings lead you to college. To be the artist you know you are.
You bleed for your work. Figuratively, at first. Until you decide to find a new medium. You put yourself into your work. Red smeared all over a canvas. Curled up in a ball on the floor, losing blood quickly, eyes slowly closing. And when you wake, with tubes in your arm, and hands secured to a bed, you wonder what season it is. And what the trees look like, whether they are barren or blossoming.
Then you smile.
You smile because you remember what trees are.
If only you could find a pencil.
Wake up. You need to get up and do something. All you have done is slept. Get up. Wake up. You're wasting time. You're wasting yourself. You're useless. Get up. Wake up.
How many sleeping pills does it take to end this? Where can you purchase a gun, illegally?
Wake up! Get up!
Remember that time you were a child. The phase you had with melting pen caps on lightbulbs? I'd walk in your bedroom and hear a sizzle. You standing in front of the source. Black-handed. Sometimes red-handed. Really depending on which pen you tore apart.
My poor peculiar, special little boy.
It's time to wake up.
You must get up now.
A shot of Jack and a lager.
Scribbling on napkins.
Little one box ideas.
Multiple pens. Different ink.
Exacto blade, one that looks like a carpenter's knife.
Some masking tape.
Never deny the importance of masking tape.
Keep drinking. Keep producing.
Try sleeping in the morning.
No need to wake up from this high. Walk home. Keep procuring ideas.
Take a nap on a desk.
Buy a bus ticket.
Wake up six hours away from home.
Look for a terminal.
A heart is most likely a bed.
It stays asleep.
Home, in a bedroom.
Curtains drawn. Shoulders carrying the weight of the world. I'm tired and I can't move and my body hurts and my eyes keep tearing. And I'm curled up and I don't want to feel like this. And the incessant ringing of the phone is unbearable. And I'm being told to wake up, but I think I'm dreaming. And this reality is absurd. Any reality is absurd.
And maybe I'm not sleeping.
Who's to say I'm even laying here.
My eyes can't be open.
Both eyes are fucking closed.
Why can't I get up?
Concerning man and what he makes,
other than scrupulous laws, is that time is of most importance. And as any morally ethical man will tell you, or not tell you, is that time is money.
Now because time nor money grows from trees, it is essential to value them
as entities of the Earth. Valued like trees and plants. Well, some plants. Usually not plants referred to as "tree."
Man made are the laws that produce
a moral oral. Remember, Lady Justice is blindfolded, not gagged.
Time does not exist.
Money is not real.
Only was real when measured in gold, but note the age of the dollar,
and see the change.
Hands on a clock were assembled with hands and a smock. Built in a factory that produces black clouds to join the natural white. When the white clouds drain, the different smells of ground enter the air, and sometimes you get mud, and sometimes that peculiar smell of blacktop on a warm summer's day enters the nostrils.
Whether man is suppose to steal the fruit of this land, or become nutrient for the fruit of this land will never be agreed upon, because of ego over Eco, but I'd like to think that that is a constant and everlasting reminder that this is a cohabitation. Maybe what is natural and taken from this Earth will always be plentiful. But maybe we will pile too much on our plate.
Contain too much in jars.
We can write.
Educate and enlighten.
Hope that ego
never destroys Eco.
Concerning man and
what he makes.
Tattered and torn the curtains sway in the wind
The old boards moan and creak, cobwebs with forgotten meals
Images of times long past, with fresh paint and loving care
How beautiful the past, way back when
Now, its pain so evident that it saddens
The old boards still retain potential for greatness
In the cracked and broken windows of the old abandoned house, I see my reflection
I close my eyes,
and where did I go?
Oh why doesn't anybody know,
Dearest dear, of yesteryear,
How come I still hear the chill of your voice,
In my deaf little ears?
Along a long road,
With nowhere to go,
Oh in life you bet on yourself,
Thinking it's the best bet in the book,
And then you break down on the side of the road,
And you find yourself alone, alone,
And you weren't a very good bet after all,
You put yourself there.
You open your eyes,
now it's darker than when you had them closed,
You hate the lights in the distance,
Because you remember when you shone,
Oh it is sickening, leave me here,
Leave me alone, alone.
Along this road,
This road, well I lied to you,
My love, My now absent heart,
My queen now deparated,
Smart, just like all the others,
I lied when I said this road goes on,
goes on and on,
I lied when I said it was a long road.
Sometimes, you just gotta fold.
Know it all in theory never practiced
Waddles and quacks
Assumptions under false pretenses
Opinions often criticize
Judgments without a clue
What is proof?
Wasted life and selfish acts
Yeah, what do you know?
- to my sister, Karen, I know you just threw up your dinner. Please stop. I would give my life to erase the scars from your body and the pain from your stomach. You are beautiful and I wish I looked like you. I know. Life is hard and it never feels good enough, but that's okay. It doesn't have to be. I'll hold you and hug you and love you. I love you. I am so sorry for calling you fat when we were little. Sometimes I think it's my fault and I just want you to be okay. I just want you to be okay. You are so beautiful. More beautiful than anything I can think of, inside and out. I love you.
2. to my sister, Destiny, stop pushing us away. I miss you and I wish I could build a home for you. I love you even when you become really mean and I cry and yell at you. You can be honest with me. I'm not gonna leave and I know that's hard to believe but it's true. I would do anything for you. I love you so much. You need to believe and accept it.
3. to my sister, Amy, it's okay to grieve. She's your mom. Cry as much as you want. It's okay. I miss you and I wish you still lived here. I know it sucks and it's hard but I am so so so proud of you. More than you know. You inspire me and I love you.
4. to my mom, do you remember? You abandoned us. And that was the last straw. I honestly don't even like calling you mom anymore, because you aren't. We need you. I hate you so much. Fuck you fuck you fuck you. I'm scared that you're not gonna be okay if I hate you but at the same time I don't really care anymore. Do you remember abusing me? And trying to kill yourself and scaring me? Why? What did I ever do? I just wanted you to love me.
5. to my dad, i'm scared i'm turning into you. I'm drinking too much and I like it. I just want all the sad to go away and it and sex helps. I don't want to be like you. You're never there when we need you and you think we're supposed to be fine. We're kids! I want to be a teenager, but you stole that from me. I don't believe you anymore. Isn't that sad? I miss you daddy. Where did you go? You're not the same person anymore. Why?
Permeating the depths through cracks in the wall
The light fades into darkness once more
The hope of its return glimmers
The path to tomorrow is paved with those glimmers
Toward a day when that hope will break the wall
And the future will shine so brightly once more
When no longer remains a longing for more
The glare born in hope is much more than that glimmer
And powdered earth is all that is left of the wall
Light must return through cracks in the wall, darkness can be taken no more, a glimmer is not much to hold onto.