WHEN MY ILLNESS WASN’T MY LIFE

My illness once was my life, when I was the bipolar poster boy

When I needed, I needed to know, needed help, needed support, community
My illness was all bewildering—new to a shattered world, my world
When the fulness of my life sunk into my illness
My identity reposed in the drop-in center
When the eyes of all consumers waited upon me
My category slotted me High Functioning: the drop-in center super consumer
When my illness was my life and I befriended NAMI’s salve
My life and acquired competences sent me all across the US
When my story lectured at local, state, national, and international conferences
My recovery article published me in university journal and recovery workbook
When my illness was my life and I was a textbook label, the bipolar poster boy

My illness echoes in my every life outside the doors of the drop-in center
My recovery calls me to thriving stories outside psychiatric textbooks
My illness recurs but ritual chant in archaic language of quaque hora somni pills
My recovery fashions me in the image and likeness of a wholeness I always was
My illness wrapped me in clouds, warped self-image flashing fragments past self
My recovery closes the textbook identifiers written upon a terrible chapter
My illness fades in the clarity now illuminating the mind it once dominated
My recovery lives as a poem, a song, a choir of friends, a cathedral of love
My illness shadows my awareness as a backward glance into the dark
My recovery belies the stigmata that would mark me as unholy, unwhole, ill
My recovery nearly makes me an unbeliever, that there ever was a time

My illness was my life, when I was the bipolar poster boy

POETRY: A LAMENT

A well-turned phrase

Captured sound of sense

Perfect expression of a truth

Wanting to be told

 

Clarity through word choice: diction

Sentence construction arrangement

Of ideas architectural development

Meaning made through artistry

 

Word play alliteration assonance

Rhythm rhyme resonance meter beat and feet

Imagery symbol simile metaphor

Epic, Allegory, Lyric, Ode, Elegy

 

Truth-telling when there was truth

If there ever was truth

Language scripting reality thought

Feeling words substance signification

 

When there was something to say

To grasp, ponder, moved sonorous sentiment emotion

Sad melancholy somber pleasure ecstasy

Pathos passion feeding and watering cultivation content

 

Transmission of wisdom, speculation, ideation of mood

Tradition taught sought lived into

What matters to be a human

Telos of poesis making humanity

 

When capricious arrangement of words

Wasn’t calculated to obfuscate deconstruct plot sequence

Rearranged syntax disjunct

Verbs subjects objects meaningless