Monthly Archives: December 2012

good evening, all spirited

well, goddamnit, didn’t you know that the trees hang with the snow as the branches yearn to know once again of the summer sun or the springtime when it comes; when the rain will render buds and they will bloom and will become the leaves which will only fall again. my goodness, can’t you see the cycle encompassing the trees? it includes the yous and mes. for we are part of centuries whose days repeat, repeat, repeat. so no wonder there are those who feel like there’s a closing to the story as it’s told from history’s enticing glare.

it is only fair to say, they may be right.
but that shit will drive you crazy.

good morning, all porous

seas of humility crash onto shores as the night meets the sun in the usual way; it is morning. and the skies open up in a gentle cascade of rains all falling, yet drifting away. god knows i’m a relatively cheap pioneer, to be fiending for spoils of the final frontier. i dig what is dug out of dirt and discussed like it’s fact; no, it’s fiction. i can no longer trust that the enemy lies like a head upon pillows; lungs swelling, subsiding, as you sit beneath willows weeping for the destruction of past participles. i heave and i toss you a language, so simple, yet misunderstood; yet thrown back with hate devised to bring you nearer to a fiction you crave or the memory of times which you spent inside caves, turning left, turning right ‘til you were dark and depraved. boy, you’ve only gotten lost; you’ve just still to be saved. yes, and not by a savior. no, christ passed away and he isn’t coming back because it doesn’t work that way. for although a life may remain beyond the end of your days as yourself, you’ve mistaken that yourself is yourself. no, you are a patron of organic decries and you’ve yet to make light of the wolves as you whistle for sheep.

goodness, i ramble.
gracious, i speak.

“i am michael”

i wanted to read every comment before i addressed this editorial, but i can’t.  too many are too ignorant.

firstly, this is a god awful title.  all reports on lanza’s mental health – while hearsay, one and all – have stated he had no known history with mental instability.  the child this mother describes is obviously very troubled and i feel for her situation and can honestly not say how the hell anyone is capable of going through it.

but my reply to the vast amount of people (over a million) who have read this and blindly shared it in an attempt to seemingly sway the gun control argument to mental health is that it seems you are less than half aware of what you’re doing.  

so here is my reply:

i am michael.  i suffer from bipolar I disorder.  though i am currently stable (though not currently taking prescribed medication) the last few years have been an incredibly difficult, heartbreaking, and often mind-shattering journey to better understand my personal thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the reality around and within me.  my illness reached its peak earlier this year when i slipped into a severe manic state, unable to sleep or eat for days; my mind racing; my body growing weaker.  late one night – when i finally felt as if i may be able to get natural, healthy sleep – i had an intense panic attack and was rushed to the hospital in a daze.  

two days later – while on my way to a therapy appointment – i became crippled with fear and began to hallucinate.  long story short, the psychosis which had presented itself as a side effect of my lack of sleep, dehydration, and malnutrition found me in the low security psychiatric ward of the hospital where i remained for nearly a week.

let me state plainly that i am not now, nor have i ever been, nor will i ever be a physical threat to anyone.  as a writer, much of my work addresses peace and understanding, my disgust for machismo in our society, and the hope to spread feminism (that is, holding “feminine” qualities such as empathy and kindness in a higher regard than, let’s say, the straight up phallic nature of guns and missiles).  

my own views – which i will be the first to say are a clear combination of my natural disposition and of the upbringing i received from two greatly intelligent, gentle, and spiritual parents who taught me, among so many other things, right from wrong – have me trying to explain that mental disorders do not necessarily influence your being a danger to yourself or others.  i spent years thinking of suicide, but i never attempted it.  perhaps because i believe that it is not my – nor anyone’s – choice to end ANY human life.  perhaps because i have had such strong emotional support from my family.  or maybe i’m against all violence because (though i’d hate to admit it) i was raised to turn the other cheek…that you may receive another slap but at least you’ll be symmetrical, so to speak. 

i’ll also say very briefly that my time in the hospital was unbelievably horrific.  i cannot begin to explain what i may have looked like to others, but i will say that i was very obsessed with forming relationships with the other patients – and to try to do anything to help anyone else in there in any way – and too often antagonized by select members of the staff.  when the “michael” in this editorial exclaims that his mother is sending him straight to hell, i absolutely understand.  i thought, very literally, that i was in hell.  literally.  i had called my therapist, he brought me to the hospital, i thought i was dying, i was taken to the psych ward….i cannot overstate that it felt like hell.  and again, i literally thought i was either there or in a waiting room ready to be sent there.  it was a terrible place (and again, i was on the top floor with the least worst of the afflicted).  and if, for example, i could have played an instrument or breathed in fresh air or lain in the grass or taken a walk or been fed non-institutional food or given someplace i could actually sleep instead of being placed in a room with a total stranger when i was already terrified, my mania would have subsided long before it did.  and i will add that whatever drugs i was given exacerbated my mental and emotional problems during and in the months after my stay.  

and so yes, mental health and its treatment need to be addressed in this country.  so does poverty, malnutrition, the pharmaceutical industry, education and  parenting, to name just a few of the things that make mental health issues worse.

i feel for the woman who wrote this and wish i could tell her what needs to be done.  but unfortunately, that just isn’t something i think i can do.

but i will say, i am michael and i am not violent.  i may have screamed at you in the past.  i may have spoken aloud that i wished to die.  i may have made you very uncomfortable with my choice of words or actions.  but i need you.  we need each other.  please don’t just put me in jail.

i have recently posted a blog entry of my initial visceral reaction to morgan freeman’s statements regarding the atrocity in connecticut and its connection to mental health and the gun debate, which i’ll include as a link.

(#)common sense arguments

i’m not one to really do the whole rant thing. i’m usually good for a one liner, but i’m going to indulge myself. from the point of view of one afflicted with a mental illness, i hold as my opinion that it’s far less intrepid to blame a relatively unknown and natural imbalance of chemical compounds in the brain than it is to look back at how weapons have evolved from their inception and how our lives are affected by their very existence. psychiatrists can’t even get a prescription right for sometimes months and even then it is an ongoing battle to understand how and why they just ’ aren’t doing what they’re supposed to.’ psychiatry is an experimental science. it helps a vast amount of people, but also hurts a vast amount of people. drugs used to curb maniacal thoughts often make them exponentially more intense and transform a perhaps manic, perhaps angry, perhaps screaming – but otherwise peaceful – human being into something else entirely. and have you ever listened to the side effects of anti-depressants? one is always depression and suicidal thoughts and, in fact, those words are usually – if not always – followed by a statement that the drug may worsen these symptoms. and they often do. the best case scenario sought through psychiatric medication in my experience seems to be to get you to feel nothing. and that is a goddamn disgrace to the human spirit. morgan freeman seems to think turning off the news is a good idea. well, of course it is. he says that third graders shouldn’t be interviewed on television just after a traumatic event. fuckin, duh. he wants you to give money to mental health services because you should because case workers and psychologists do amazing things for their patients and the drugs work for some people. but if for a second you are going to sit and believe that if the man who turned a firearm on a school of small children wouldn’t have been a danger to others if there was no mass media…if you think that he would have stayed a sad, lonely creature stored away in a basement…you’ve greatly misunderstood the difference between a generic description of diagnosed mental illness and what it means for a human mind to be predisposed for any kind of physical violence. i have made the point again and again that if the weapons that we have devised to operate at the push of a button or the pull of a lever didn’t exist, mass murders like these wouldn’t happen like this. they’d still happen because some people want them to happen. a man could be armed with a fork and kill a dozen people before he was stopped. but the fact of the matter is that if 8 people jump on a guy with one fork, one, maybe two people get stabbed. if 8 people rush a guy with a gun, he may have time to kill all of them. i am deeply disturbed by this country’s obsession with retaining the right to bear arms. i am deeply disturbed by anyone who is, though i suppose i respect your often valid points. on a grander scale, i am deeply disturbed that our country spends so much money on making weapons of mass destruction which kill innocent people a great deal of the time. i am also deeply disturbed by the fact that our way of existence is so proliferated with the nonsense and disgrace we toss at each other in the great war of “now’s not the time for that conversation.” i would, should, and can only hope that it is always time for any conversation. and never the time for violence. let’s please remember the names of the victims. sure. that’s a nice sentiment. but it helps nothing, solves nothing, and prevents nothing. i am for the abolition of guns worldwide, but i’m not a child so i know that won’t happen. it won’t happen because animal aggression is a part of our very dna and the gun, the missile, the drone, the tank, etc. are fantastically representative of our seeming desire to mutilate the opposition . but if, for example, you’re one who buys a gun to go into your backyard to shoot at a target or into a hill, i want you to take a moment and think about why you need to feel that kind of power. hit a punching bag, it’s good for you. and if you want to go hunting, be a man and learn to use a bow and arrow. it’s so much more badass anyway……i do pray for the families of the victims of this and every catastrophe. but i am forever annoyed and saddened that anyone honestly thinks mental illness breeds violence. i say, a great deal of violence is caused by subjectively insane, but objectively mentally healthy individuals. we should arm ourselves with profanity. for sticks and stones may break your bones, but words could fucking kill you. and at least you can fire back.

writing is like driving a car at night.
you can only see as far as the headlights,
but you make the whole trip that way.

e.l. doctorow

good morning, all dashing deities

record yourself a scrapbook made of words and pictures too.
devise for me a symptom of your passing through.
i am the phrasing i reuse;
i am the phases of the moon.
i would just sway your moods.

rewind the tape to the moment that you hashed it out –
the setting of a daydream you had found
was just a portrait of a queen
inside a song you wished would be
a caption on the picture that you cast to sea
to catch a wave and be free.

my heaven’s all around.
traverse entire grounds
until you reach the orchard’s wall..
i’m on the other side with a message for you all.
that who is like god is merely beautiful.

sing a song, surrender to your fantasies,
playing like pianos through your sleep.
you are a movement i can’t take;
you are a heart i long to break
before i’d finally fade away
and all the autumn leaves had changed
into a carpet for your garden – anyway,
summer breezes leave you winded in their wake.

but everything has its place.

good evening, all synthetic materials

leave the front door open for the burglars to resist, lest they insist on breaking windows, bursting doors and breaking in.

dissolve no deity so dangerous as to counter love with fear, for he who dangles from a clothesline’s meant to dry in open air.

forego the speakers for a lamppost lighting streets below the sky which hangs like curtains ‘fore the window for to hide no fortune right.

disseminate the darkness and revolt against no tongue which speaks no fiction for your finely tuned piano as you drum on tables worn like jackets, tearing, that you wear and that you’ve worn though you were warned upon your purchase, they would never keep you warm.

suspect no agent of authority to author a memoir that would depict him as a casualty of the calm before the storm he set to tear apart your tepees, curse your tribe and flood the streets; destroy your hopes, destroy yours dreams…no, he only fabricates a scene in which an army marches past the buildings dry and falling fast as bombs explode from right to left leaving no purpose for no vest to shield no bullets fired at no enemy – they can’t retreat. there is no white flag to be seen flown from no ship upon no sea. no one proposing plans for peace.

no, he will be lying.
the drones continue flying.
it’s the rise of the machines.
.wolves all crying.
counting sheep.