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Heidi Werner Sep 8
So often I feel that I do not exist
And I have wondered what it would be like
to allow myself to
Just­ outside your field of vision
Blending in with the nothingness
that borders the outskirts
of your periphery
I want to be where I am not
Exist in liminal space
in emptiness
as nothing…
Broken charcoal
pencils and crayons
are all just as useful broken
as they are whole
A broken mirror
offers you your own reflection
but it is still you
Heidi Werner Sep 8
I imagine walking on a balance beam
I have only just gotten the hang of it
Before this moment I had always fallen off.
I know that I'm going to mess up
I keep telling myself
“its ok to mess up you’re still learning”
Yet I feel an overwhelming need
To be successful, just this once.
To complete my walk.
And I do, I complete the walk.
So, because things have gone well
I walk again, and I find success
I begin to trust my own two feet
I walk again and again and again
Each time I make it to the other end
Each time I become more prideful
This next time I move too quickly
I try to go faster, still making it
I stagger half-way through
But I think nothing of it
So I hasten my step
And I stagger again
But my mind blocks out
The possibility of falling.
I go faster and faster
Until I am at a full on sprint
No longer am I teetering
On this beam below my feet
I believe that I am perfect
No one can touch me
I believe that I am the best
And that no one else can go this fast
I am in competition with the entire world
I am in competition with only myself
Only myself
I am nothing
I am a fake
I am useless
I am ugly and worthless
And the exact opposite of perfect
I quickly mask these thoughts
Telling myself
“You can push through”
And for a time I do
I have boundless energy
I can run as fast as possible
I make it to the other end of the balance beam
Then suddenly an impulse
My body takes over
And without explanation
I am flying through the air
100 miles a minute
Crashing into a bottomless abyss
I lie still for a moment on the mat below
Looking up towards the beam
Where I once stood so proud
I pick myself up
I decide I am an elite gymnast
And I am an astronaut
I am a long distance runner
And a 5 star chef
And a doctor
And a bird
And a rock climber
And a rock
And a brilliant professor
And an angel
And a world renowned artist
And, and, and, and
I twirl around and dance
I sing to no one
I am an opera singer
I rush to the water fountain
It is Niagara Falls
Splash, “watch out, you’ll get wet”
I say this to an audience of no one
I am an actor on broadway
“Ain’t no one round here as good as me”
Then in my periphery
There are shadows
I cannot stop moving
Never stop moving
If I stop moving the shadows will crawl around me
Creeping in through my nose
My mouth and my ears
Telling me things I never want to hear
So I run
I run so hard and so fast
That I forget everything
I am existing inside each moment only
I don’t know where I am or where I am heading
but I continue to run
Until I am surrounded by trees
And I remember everything again
I remember the balance beam
Why did I leave the balance beam?
It felt natural and simple
to just walk
to just walk and stay balanced
Why am I in the woods?
And then the thoughts come
And the shadows come with them
So I climb a tree
In hopes that the shadows
Will pass quietly underneath
I am painfully quiet
But the thoughts are still here
I cannot hide
I cannot run
I cannot get away
They race in my brain
They course through my veins
They are evil thoughts
They taunt me, saying
“This world is without reason”
“Your life is pointless”
“You are crazy”
“You will never be anything”
“Jump! jump! jump!”
I am high up in this tree
I am safe from the shadows here
But the thoughts never leave
I cannot break free
So I give in
Maybe if I listen to them
I will release the pressure that builds inside me
Suddenly I am compelled
To leap from this tree branch to the next
I fling myself through the air
believing I will fly like a bird
Because the thoughts said I could
I black out as I fall back to the earth
Suddenly I am on the ground
Not even remotely sure
Of how I got here
I lie there for a few moments
And then out of the corner of my eye
I see the shadows
They move through the woods like smoke
Like a black fog
Like death creeping towards me
So I quickly pull myself to my feet
And I am in a full on sprint once more
I don’t know which direction I am headed
Or where I am
Or if I'm even running
And then it hits me
A car
I am on the highway
flying over the hood of a sedan
Crashing into the ground
My skin burns as it moves across the asphalt
I become a mound In the middle of the road
I imagine that I am a pile of dirt
I will not move
I will just do what dirt does
What does dirt do?
My body burns, my skin is on fire
Can dirt catch fire?
The world moves slow
Does dirt move faster than the world around it
Does dirt experience time differently?
Someone is talking to me
Which is absurd
Who talks to dirt?
Sirens crowd the traffic of my cochlear nerve
It is the only thing I can hear
My brain starts to malfunction
Like a computer flooded with a virus
I hear the siren repeat
It loses a note with each repetition
Until all I hear is one note
One note
I close my eyes
I am completely numb
Something in me knows I have to fight
“I've forgotten what I started fighting for”
I believe that if my eyes are closed
No time passes
I allow this break in time to go on
I need to separate myself from time for a moment
Allow myself to think
To reassess
To gather what has occurred
What has occurred?
Feeling a little panicked at the thought of not knowing
I open my eyes
I am in a room
I try to move
But my body won’t listen to my intentions
I look down and see metal rods sticking out of me
Now, I remember
I am a robot getting serviced
That’s all this is
It’s probably why I malfunctioned
No biggie
a robotic technician walks in
she asks me how I feel
I answer
“What an absurd question,
Robots do not feel”
She looks at me with kind eyes
“Ok, thanks for your input”
She leaves the room
Closing the door behind her
The darkness licks at the bottom of the door
It seeps through and envelopes the room
I cannot see
I hold my breath
I do not feel
I give up
The darkness begins to course through my veins
It twists through every corner of my being
Walking through the corridors of my body
Leaving menacing thoughts in its wake
Then, without warning
Everything becomes red
Red feels like pain
It tastes like needles
So I try to occupy my mind with things
Anything to distract me from the pain
I scream audibly
I scream a song
If Im singing I am distracted
“I'm a little teacup short and stout
Here is my handle here is my spout”

I imagine all this
Stuck inside my own mind
Making up foolish stories
But, this is what it's like
This is what it will become
This is what I will become
Bipolar seeps through my brain
Attaching old forgotten pathways
Lighting them all up at once
Then with similar speed
Making them all go dark
In and out, up and down
A never ending merry-go-round
But, somewhere in all this
Is me.

— The End —