A VISION OF BLOOD DARKNESS

Has your consciousness ever been in blood darkness?
Where the black all around your soul is palpable, though you can’t touch it
And you can’t seem to see through the blood darkness
And two funny guys next to you at the bar—
One sitting next to you and the other—his pal—standing
Give you the time of day, almost care
But not enough to touch you through the black cloud
Encompassing all of you except a fragment of mind
Just poking through into the light, to the two funny guys
They make a joke about Ordinary World by Duran Duran, popular those days
It’s playing on the bar sound system, and I listen to Ordinary World
Twenty years later and I think of those two guys
And how they were almost comfort

I needed comfort badly, all alone with my psychosis
Which my psychiatrist’s professional distance
Didn’t afford, all alone in psychosis and no insight
Little mind available to understand if there had been an explanation
Neuro-transmitters, serotonin, norepinephrine, bipolar with psychotic features
And, maybe, someone to tell me I’m still a person
Understanding’s comfort, any comfort, like the young couple
Who worked at Subway and befriended me—which meant
More than hanging out together, us guys—total acceptance we both craved
And I didn’t wonder about what had become of my ambitions
Like my old friend over the phone thousands of miles away
Made me feel like I wasn’t all alone while he was on the line
In blood darkness, though I was still

Psychosis and its consequential changes in my life
Derailed ambitions, transforms identity, remaking self, patched-up fragments
Changing the way I attack the world’s scarce opportunities
I wouldn’t say I attack, now, as then,–before
And changed direction into the path I followed to here
Becomes life as I know it, self as I know it
Trajectories of identity and it’s not a matter of
Adjusting to circumstances—I, in fact, am the very circumstance
Blood blackness and emergence into such sanity as I possess,
Such stability as content the psychiatrists, which is measured and categorized
Into functioning and I am categorized as High Functioning
Even though to me, 40 hours is a stretch, not like before,
And people wag their heads at me and think me lazy
Blind to the blood darkness following me like a malevolent shadow
And I can’t make them see the light, not even in a dissertation, textbook, poem

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