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The Words


Why do you have

so much stuff

they ask me

as I work to get

admitted to the

mental ward the

night of my 39th


I'm a professional I

think, it's hard to

get them to keep

you, but they're

not interested in

my reasons for


they want to know

why I have 20 books

and more magazines

that I can carry

and other questions

that I forget to

answer before they

come to the next


I couldn't remember

how to pack

and words were more urgent.

They leave me cold

on a gurney and

tell me nicely "Now

don't you wander

from here" and I

pile the books

around me while

I wait for someone

to bring me sleep

and stop the words.



“Hey Nutcase”


says Julie on the phone

friend magnetized the first day of

pre-school, neither of us two years old yet

now both 39

I've answered the payphone in the mental ward

we're veterans of rehab and psych wards

Julie's in her apt. where the next door mariachi music is too loud

She can make me laugh so loud

The wardens run over to shush


We compare psych med side effects

we hate,

the relative merits of institutional food

who makes a better temporary best friend

the depressed borderline who sleeps 18 hours a day

or the girl in the dissociative fugue

who's perfectly normal 30 % of the day but sings to

herself in Spanish the rest of the time.

Twice a week at Miss Anita's house

for yoga class and carrot juice when we were 4. 4 times

a month at the psychiatrist now,

          talk & medication checks,

          doing the 21st century asana -

                   we could give a class