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de Pony Sum May 16
I

I recall in tranquillity

Fever-dive hours.

Once I saw a sailboat listing

Upon a great-waved sea

The sea was I and so was the boat

I could not see any stars

For the blasts of ocean-spray



In what quiet cove can I go hiding from a storm

Blasting up the cartoid artery and flooding through

The cognitive estuaries, over-spilling memory’s tributaries?

Tell me where I might make my stand against my wrath?

Might a clever present play the future off against the past?

Am I to live only in the lacunae between foretelling & recollection

In the times between guilt and dread when, exhausted of mental flight,

Whether backwards or forwards, the mind drifts in easy content?



We shall build a tower

let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth



II

Behold, a shattered glass bowl that held doubts

They multiply in shattering

As each beam of light

Crosses every glass splinter

It breeds a new splinter

And a new lance of light

Fecund heresiarch



Absolute clarity lies within

That lit glass rubble but the trouble

Is that so does everything else

As in Borges’ library up in that tower



III

Do you know where your right hand is? Walking through a shop and not knowing whether you’ve assaulted someone heedlessly. Analysing each moment of your past like a sicko prosecutor. The fears iterate by sinister Darwinism, seeking cognitive blind-spots. Did I mutter threats of violence to that child? Did I insult that shop attendant? Mixed memory and aversion form a rancid bin-juice born decaying.



IV

I came to the stairs

There was a wobble in her voice

By each step her voice rose higher

So I rise to her and she calls with greater urgency

And I rise to her with greater urgency

She and I can only meet after escalation shatters

Past the horizon of panic and further-

Past the sea rock of worn defeat

She and I must be one.

I sprint.



V

Imagine that someone came to you in the middle of the night, stepped into your mouth and began to grow through your capillaries. They were not content merely with habitation, their constant insistence was that you must keep grafting dead organs and limbs onto yourself. You become a born-again Frankenstein (don’t be a pedant) with all the zeal of a convert to an undead lifestyle. The new limbs are heavy, and stink, and burn up your flesh with septisemic fire and ****-flood, but the man who stepped inside your mouth begs you stitch on more.



VI

The inside of a head becomes lonely as it becomes crowded

The only things that elbowed through those crowds

Were other hauntings

Brief dune-sedge love in salted ground

Warring wrath against money made world

Twin engines of raging-love and loving-rage

Racing for diversion and the exaltation of rebellious motion

Circulation round the track kept my blood in motion

Rammed down winds to bellow my lungs



Political contention, war, courtship, frenetic study

Vain dreams of greatness, discontent

Which gave me a little contentedness

To declare permanent war or endless love

And so to terminate surrender in unutterable resolution

“Optimism of the will!”- clenched hands, though they wobble

In the obsidian lands where resistance gave no comfort

Resistance still gave sustenance

Just as all the previous Sugatas



VII

Life is so long. Are you so innocent? You are tired. You dream of a gentle place. You saw it as anyone might imagine it- holy light on wild-flowers, easy with its comforts, free with its joys. To be such a place it had to be distant from this world and sealed against you.



VIII

Maybe I just wasn’t ******* often enough?

Victorian life is better novelised than lived

Hysterical, neurotic, guilty, phantasmal

Maybe I wasn’t drinking enough?

A friend called me the Ayatollah

In respect of my beard and sobriety



Hume and the Buddhist sages pronounced that persons are aggregates without greater unity. I find myself a bundle but there is no liberation here. The parts rub against each other like cans in a grocery bag bruise fruit. Or perhaps I am the curate’s egg.



IX

Give me a seabird’s wings

On the cliffs, about forty meters over the crab pools

I dream of ascending with the gulls, but higher

Diving and again rising in alliance with wind

What waves perturb the gull are brief

And if it is to end by hawk, that too is brief

Yet I would rise higher still, till I sat on a perch

Overlooking time and the jolting succession of moments

Above the waves of kings, ministers, exchequers

Yet if I am not to reach that exalted perch

I will be low enough to observe the bright net

Of refracted sun that plays upon the hills of water

Give me a seabird’s wings



X

Easier perhaps to talk of the accoutrements of terror and the reflections it invoked. Easier to do that then to photograph medusa. Yet I do remember being confused as to whether I was more guilty or more afraid. It seemed important that I be more guilty than be afraid, but it is hard to feel guilt while facing knives. Consequently, I felt supplementary guilt at my thin guilt.



We shall build a tower

let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth



XI

The future is boundless, not only ahead but sideways

The patterns of your inferences only ever ape

The subtle causal chains which bind the forward momentum

Of the world whose surface you cling to

The mind is stretched between times and possibilities,

Beyond any accommodation by mental sinew and bone

The heart successively roars and fizzles



XII

I came to the living room

And it was filled with ash

Though I never smoked

Or sat by fire

I made an ink of that ash

And began to write these verses

upon my arm



XIII

He is there, and I smile into his oblivion

He never loved you, so ideas of romance

Had the character of Banach-Tarski’s sphere

He is gone now, other suburbs, other worlds

I do not miss him, except on special occasions

My affections were never lost, except perhaps at the first moment

Dead on arrival

Yet still worthwhile



It is right to rebel against most things

But not you, oh sweet tyrant

It’s good odds you kept me breathing



IXV

We do not sit upon heaven’s throne

Nor are we the rebel, cast down like a slash of lightning

We are the flesh that raised our gaze

Half wondering, half begging

The dance is ending, where is the bridgegroom?



XV

How rash are those who clamour for justice?

(I have been among them)

Life is wide, deep and changing. We are excesses

Of identity, act, motivation.

Of miscalibrated judgement and selfish grasping.



Do you think you would be clean under heaven’s eye?

Were there a book that contained each numbered thought and small deed

Of yours wouldn’t you shred it, burn it and eat the ashes?

I wouldn’t. I would give you that book. Press you to read it.

I do not think you would like me, but my terror is to be misunderstood

I fear that you will think I am a different kind of monster than that I am.

So I give you my promise, that should an angel scribe that book

I’ll give you a copy.



And I promise that if you ever give me a copy of your celestial biography

I’ll try to shut the my eye of judgement and open that of mercy

It’s simple self interest. Chesed pro chesed.



XVI

Can we remember pain? In our mind’s eye we might

See rose fluids or, under that, a startling glimpse of pearly white

Laid open by a scalpel. We shudder back. We peer forward.

But who has the pen by which to bind agony?

“Sharp”, “dull”, “throbbing”, “irritating”, “intense”

Wholly feeble, as if a snake tried to wander with its vestigial leg bones

But that is where we find ourselves- thirsty for conveyance in a desert of names

We can only hope to articulate pain through our inarticulateness

Just as, by chance, static on a television set captures a snowstorm



I remember wandering the streets, sobbing and calling for divine fire to **** me and all the other wicked. As I wept I listened to pop on half smashed headphones. What would it take to make you march through city streets weeping and calling the fires of an unknown God?



XVII

I ascended to the attic

To store, retrieve, invent

A mnemonic parade

Without volition my hands

Raise the dust in small incantations

How does one dislodge a fake memory?

Or terminate the routine of shuddering



I see

He and she are here, interlocked eye-beams

I am not in either eye

In this attic I lay in the pattern of my veins

I am sinews. Whether these gobbets

Be thought or flesh I am in neitherway free

I am chained by my own substance

Above me powers contend in the air.



XVIII

Think now

Life has many cunning passages, contrived corridors

And issues, deceives with whispering trepidations,

Guides us by vanities.


After such knowledge what forgiveness?

Forgiveness after such knowledge what?

What forgiveness after such knowledge?

Knowledge what forgiveness after such?

Such knowledge what forgiveness after?



IXX

In metamorphosis the tissue is not merely subtracted from and added to inside the pupae, rather the whole flesh devours itself, save for microscopic clusters (imaginal bodies), becoming a soup of cells. What unites both life-stages is scarcely more than a double-helixed teleos. Yet memory persists.

We shall build a tower

let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth



**

If I could but seize the wax of Icarus

The tailor of Ulm’s fabrics

Etana or Bladud’s crown of feathers

If I could but fly, I could seize the sun’s silver

Forge a mirror by which to demonstrate

The storm that rends the head

Of some shivering soul you know

Forgive a thief that stole for you and

Shelter all, for you cannot see their weather



XXI

To find a point of collapse at which

loss and victory die.

And that sea is now

A vast lake that

Night or day

Forms a perfect twin

To the sky

Over the stones of the tower

Drift currents and sweet, lazy fish

The waves will dance again

But I might hope to dance

With them
Afterword

This poem is allusive to the point of plagiarism, and past that. My purpose is to convey an experience with all that I have and I’ll gladly steal words for that. Given the greed with which I have pilfered the words, I thought a referencing system was needed. Passages in italics are more or less lifted wholesale from elsewhere. There’s plenty of references, parallels and allusions which aren’t italicised. Since italics aren't visible on this platform you can see them here: https://deponysum.com/2020/05/10/deadwater/

The debt to T.S. Eliot is obvious, even in the title. The debt to the Aiken’s Tetelestai and the Romantics (including Eliot perversely read as a romantic) is less obvious. It’s very much a poem about me, and I apologise for that vanity. My story is not unique. My particular kind of OCD based on a fear of harming others is quite common. Yet few talk about it for fear of seeming like a dangerous ******. It is an inherently self-concealing form of mental illness. Especially as I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to avoid the narcissism of self-display even in an anonymous form, but I want to show you this story, lest it be scattered everywhere among the nameless like me, and forgotten.

For those who have loved me.
a May 11
I can't wait
until looking in the mirror makes me smile
instead of cower away in shame
that my face
this vessel that carries me
gives me warmth
yet I hurt her so much
but she keeps me going
it's not fair that I treat her this way
but I can't bring myself to love her
and cherish her like I should

They said it would heal with time
but does time really heal?
or are they just trying to put a limit on how much I can wallow?
shelly May 11
All I have to do is go around the corner
To the other entrance to the parking lot
This should be easy
Driving is easy
I pull up to the road and look both ways
And horror strikes me to my core
The street isn’t empty

My knuckles turn pale as I grip the steering wheel
Like a cross to keep myself from shaking
My foot is on the gas pedal
The direction that this 3,000 pound machine goes
Is under my control
I lose control of my breath

I pull out onto the street

Swerve into the left lane
My mind says
There’s a family next to you
A mother singing along to the radio
A father stressing about his job
A little girl playing video games in the back
Next to her baby brother, still in a car seat
Their lives are fragile
My mind tells me
Slaughter them

I stop at the stop sign and look both ways

Humans are made of paper and glass
They collapse and shatter in a gentle breeze
And with this car I am Prospero
I can call tempests
I can crush their ribcages
Beneath the weight of metal and horsepower
Even if mother and father live
They must live with the empty space
Left behind by their much more tenuous children
I am collapsing under the weight of the power I hold
I am overwhelmed with visions of what I could do
What I might do
What I fear I will do

I turn the corner

I want to reach into my skull
And rip my brain free from its cavity
I do not want it to control me
I have no power over these obsessions
Despite the cocktail of medications I am prescribed
Despite the therapy
The conditioning
I can always pull the steering wheel
These intrusive thoughts will always infect me
They spread from my head to the rest of my body like a disease
I am sick

I pull back into the parking lot
wrote this at a writer's retreat a while ago c:
a May 10
staring off at the blank walls that surround me

I don't think I'll ever recover
from the nights I spent sobbing
staining the pillow with the makeup thats been left on my face for days
I don't even care anymore
the pent up rage
the anger
the disparity
I want it to leave

leave behind the empty vessel that once held a pure soul
wow it's been a hot minute since I've been on here lol. hope everyone is staying safe in quarantine.
OCD
OCD is a mind wreaking thing
that starts slow
just like a rollercoaster
but as soon as we think,
it's the end here,
there is another up and down motion
that controls our head.

It goes out of control
and the kind of restlessness,
it gives, is nobody can think of.
To think beyond its web,
becomes next to impossible.

You lose your sleep or either sleeps a lot
just to hide from the fears that lingers in your head.
Every breath ends with a sigh!
It's horrible!
I have felt it that's why I know it.
2:39 AM - Cadence Aurora / Vampirecadence
Wanna make a deal?
Let's make a deal.
It's just one time.
Don’t do it.
Do it one more time.
Wanna make a bet?
Turn the dial to 5
Watch what happens when you don’t listen.
But you’re gonna listen.
Why wouldn’t you?
It's just one more time.
Laura P Apr 25
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

There’s only so close to the edge you can stand until you fall off.
There’s only so much you can conceal with a smoke, a shrug, and a cough.

But if there's a god, he sure loves a trier.
I'm getting back my rhythm,
that flow that I missed,
kissed the wrong list,
I got so ******.

Punctured my own wheels,
walked up to the hills on heels,
got so tired, readily busted,
Nothing so far tested.

Preoccupied with disastrous hallucination,
I lost my sheer imagination.
took so many turns,
unguided blindly got hit by the red district.

So sorry, I missed my hit list.
Strange, where I got to sit next to the stranger,
followed the footsteps of my demons wicked derringer.

Oh my god, I've lost my mind, it's better to sleep,
Look who is talking, the loser who got easily broke and now he weeps.
Now I'm sleeping, not writing,  although I've got the rhythm and would try to write
better next time.

- shivamrealmyself
#poem #love #poetry #mental #illness #lyrics #hell #demon #back
Jade Apr 15
Spinal column
a stairwell of books,
rungs of untouched vertebrae
avoided by the bibliophile herself

[myself].

Brain is wired differently
than the rest of them.

At first,
I thought it was a matter of being
****-retentive.
A veteran perfectionist
who strives to imagine every detail
as intricately and accurately
as the author must have intended.

Character's faces morph into
sloppy, patchwork collages,
features copied and pasted from
beautiful strangers and
celebrities who played
in the movie adaptations.

Their appearances are both
cliche
and
incomprehensible.

I am told a character is pale,
but can only manage to visualize a complexion
the colour of notebook paper,
penetrating blue eyes mere apparitions
against a wintry terrain--
her ears
nose
lips
misplaced beneath the tundra.

I lay the book atop my collarbone,
its cover pitched into a make-shift tent.

(Cautiously).

Almost as if I am
afraid to disturb
the seriffed constellations
that flicker above my heart.

I stare up at the ceiling
(vacant, as am I),
my eyebrows scrunched
into nooses of concentration,
several minutes passing before
her cheeks gradually begin to thaw,
warming over in an ombre
of pinks and olives.

And I rejoice!

Strike down the tent,
pupils hungry for prose.

But there is always
another character.

In Valley of the Dolls,
a handsome man,
whose hairline I cannot
properly envision

(this makes him less handsome).

This time,
when I lay my book down,
I do not proceed with caution,
the corners of its pages
dog-earing against my body.

Google:

men's hairstyles, 1940's

(I need to commit to memory
three different styles
so the three different males
I am working with
are not trite clones of each other).

I can only manage three pages
at a time
before having to take a break.

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is an exponential task,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting
Jaqueline Susanne's vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

Three pages for me
is strenuous,
as I pause to formulate
images befitting Jaqueline Susanne's
creative vision;
as I look up every word
I don't know the meaning of
in the dictionary;
as I repeatedly deliberate
the same passage
because of my incapability
to thoroughly process the text

on the first
(second...
third...
I don't know...)

try.

Turns out
this is more than just
being ****-retentive.

This is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

I yearn for times of old
junior high
when I could finish a novel
in a day--
ramona and beezus
butterfly lion
the silver donkey.

But even then,
the obsessions were there,
one substituted for another:

the ceaseless gushing
of the soap pump
and dizzying rotation
of the faucet taps.

Could barely hold literature
between my palms
without aggravating
the rosettes of eczema
that had sprout
along my hands,
scoured clean and raw.

Eventually,
I outgrew these harrowing baptisms.

Am still waiting to outgrow
the laborious nature of my readings.

My only antidote poetry,
for it heals me in
every way
fiction could not
[cannot].

The poems do not trouble me,
do not burden me
with overwhelming arrangements
of ink and letters.

Instead,
I confront the English language
line by line,
sedated by the simple
fragmentation
of each stanza.

Because even when fragmented,
these stanzas offer up to me
the written word
like it is ambrosia
when I am starving
for intellect
but cannot feast.

I am spoon-fed words
until I am full--
am reminded that
I am not the stupid girl
I believe I am,
courtesy of my
obsessive, compulsive short circuits.

I do not relate to the cohesion of prose,
cannot deny the brilliant likeness
that exists between the reader
and her enjambment--
both fractured mosaics of metaphor.

I am
as broken
as these verses.

But

it is only as
I shatter
that I am freed.
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Tanner Apr 6
“The problem with sanity is that I CAN’T lose my mind, it’s inescapable.”  
Sanity is a spiral.  An ever-tightening coil, that goes around and around.  

One may find themselves at the beginning, their head perfectly clear.  
But as time goes by, moments of absurdity start to appear, like mosquitos at the start of Spring.  It feeds off you.  Picks at you, like a scab ready to burst.  

Until you finally reach the center and the spiral is so tight it crushes your psyche.  
But the thing about spirals is that they never end, there’s always more.  

You may never fully break,
But you can always turn around and find the beginning once more.  
And just remember,
“Your now is not your forever”
Even if the spiral may feel that way.
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