EXPECTATIONS

A whole community of us; a whole culture

A drop-in center, network, support groups, community clinic

Psychiatric symptoms so severe; we understand one another

We all knew each other when I was there

Yet, since we aren’t raving, regular people who see us expect

We function as if our symptoms are not severe

Who don’t understand us as we do one another

Grudge against government hand-outs

Which I barely function well enough

To be denied

Barely function

Function well enough

Just well enough

To be shamed by my co-workers’ expectations

That I function better

As if I didn’t have an illness

Not understand

That it is my best and I do have an illness

And so the whole community of us who understand

One another, our culture, our community, our symptoms

“You have an illness;” she said, “You shouldn’t be working.”

TIMECLOCK

I limped and struggled through it all

In an unforgiving, uncaring world

“Punch a time clock,” the world insisted

But I can’t even wake up, get out of bed

–I’ve slept my own weekends away—

What have I done to deserve this?

Punch a time clock

So I limped and struggled through it all

I had to

Some would say my work was half-assed

Not knowing, not caring about the extent of my effort to get out of bed

“I can’t see your bipolar disorder.”

Don’t care

Punch a time clock