I sat in sturdy chairs built for unsteady minds
and for 120 minutes listened to
from a slack-mouth addict who ought to know
Some bullshit about hope.
The red-haired schizoid is bobbing frantically, maybe
she wants to believe He’s right.
That boy with the broken glasses
(he’s a thief, and older than he looks)
just wants to get out of here.
Me, I am shaking my head because what he’s not telling us
is that his head never did get screwed on right-
rehab and psychs didn’t hammer it down hard.
Otherwise he wouldn’t be here promising us greener grass-
He’d be busy with all that Hope.
No one sane would ever come back.

Most of the time I lazed on couches with scars on the leather
and torn-up cushions with no stitches
I stared at an old mural of hot-air balloons
they must have been vivid some day
but now
they’re floating bulbs of jaundiced paint.
A little boy peeks out of one of the baskets

what a prick-
I bet he’s glad to look down
at the little crazies stuck in gravity
I stare at him and swear.
that one day he will come down, maybe all the way
to the 7th ring-
who knows what sin
lurks in that faded

My nails chipped at my skin
one layer, two layer, three
then blood.
Little marks the width of a fingernail speckle my arms
the manifest scars of hysteria.

My father brought my dancing shoes- handed them
to a nurse who cut off the ribbons
so I couldn’t drop from the ceiling.
I wondered who made that worry
Some dancer who ran out of breath, I guess.
It didn’t matter to me
Now I could whip down the halls in centrifugal
turning, turning, turning
till a pucker-mouth nurse took the shoes away.

They unlocked the doors on a Wednesday morning
two days before Christmas
My parents cried, and my brothers
smiled in bursting moons.
And I exhaled, to think
that the worst was over!

Two years later, five nurses
held me down
as a doctor shoved a tube into my nose
and slipped tattle-tale bracelets on my wrist
Starving body, shrinking mind-
that is how it goes and goes.


11 thoughts on “(rehab.)

  1. Wow. I just traveled back to rehab and experienced it all over again, as if it was the first time. Amazing imagery and detail. Some of the most simple shit that happened there is what you hang on to the most. It was a place that gave me hope and saved my life, but at the same time a place of immense despair. Loved the line “I sat in sturdy chairs built for unsteady minds” and the detail about the painting. If this is autobiographical I hope you find peace and know that I feel and understand your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many good things one could say here. This is raw and brave, and at the same time done with so much evidence of writer’s craft. The dancer/ribbon line made me think of Isadora Duncan. II is especially brilliant. Devastating (in the best ways), this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “floating bulbs of jaundiced paint”. I really love that hahah. You took me back to my mental institution days. Fuck that.

    “…a nurse who cut off the ribbons
    so I couldn’t drop from the ceiling.
    I wondered who made that worry
    Some dancer who ran out of breath, I guess.”

    ^^ Very brilliant. Shows me I have a lot of growing to do as a poet.
    Poignant read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for all your feedback. Those are horridly difficult days to go back to. But we’re still here, and thus stronger than whatever it is in our heads that tried to kill us. I hope you find/have found the utmost freedom and peace in your recovery.


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