And I’ve seen that it’s possible
to never come out of hell
and that any revisions that are made
are made in the rain.
I knew a guy at MPC on Delmar
twenty years ago now who with trembling fingers
would chain smoke
discarded cigarette butts he found
and whatever was going on in the sky
was contending in his own mind.
He was closer than I can explain.
Other patients would talk about him
and various rumors and reasons
for his condition were passed around.
I felt that they all fell flat.
I don’t know what could explain
the sheer dignity and unutterable grace
of someone so painfully and somehow
beautifully cast about.
There’s somebody somewhere
paying for every little thing that we do.
Repetition (in the Lacanian Sense)
I can write about orchards and vines and I can write about the Greyhound and the Metro and I can write about Orpheus going down or Red errupting when they stole his Doritos and now sometimes I feel like I've been walking along the bottom of an ocean for forty long years with only the Beatles and Jakob Dylan to comfort me and how I'm ready to tap out of this wrestling match but I can't keep the metaphors straight and anyway in kicks the Ativan and we begin again. Okay, that's literal. Something much greater than sex is going on. My nurse thinks the Ativan is causing early onset dementia. Look, I've been demented since day one. It's only helped me making verse. It's been about twenty-seven years since I could tell you what I did yesterday. Decades have passed since my community support worker took me in because I'd taken a month of meds in ten days. Yes, I know, I suspect I've already said all of this. Forget Whitman Ah, so it's the moon that's been influencing me. All these years and I thought it was the sun. What a fool I was ! I mistook being terribly uptight for stability. I thought letters involved restraint. I've been thinking a lot about myself and what I've discovered is that the structure of my negative symptoms, the wonder wall, is slowly coming apart. I had a pleasant talk with an intelligent and amiable older woman today and when I came home I felt safe and understood. Maybe later when I put on the Bach some feeling will come. Maybe I'll feel like going somewhere. Maybe when I try to take a nap I'll actually rest. I'm becoming devout! My mind's still a little messed up and I'm still writing poems all day with lots of cuss words and I'm still cussing out the devil and I'm down with all the forms of witchery but Christ is handling my dispossession and Superman's going to sweep up all my symptoms and throw them into the sun and then plant my flag on the moon. Finally, dear Ladylove, it's happening! The change in consciousness we talked about to change my stance. There's a sign and it doesn't have to be a sign. It's all about aesthetics and forgiveness. Forget Whitman, John Keats is going to be my guide! Measured By any sane stable measure in the heavily belated late liberal free neo-conservative market, I'm an abject failure. People malign Little Marx but without him and the mixed economy I'd be dead meat. On a side note I would mention that I might already be dead meat because I think my blood stopped flowing. But that's for a different poem. Maybe they should make social programs for poets. Rotten teeth? Check. Afraid of sex? Check. But without some capital there'd be no marginal friction. And regardless of whatever psych evals they give they still don't know where poetry comes from. You can be a loud asshole and write quiet poems. You can be silent for years and then come out with some bombastic revelations. I thank my good buddy Chief, who remarked when I said I was a loser, “Artists are held to a different standard.” Witness Everything's complicated but I'm doing my best to sort it out. Okay, yes, I take a lot of meds and they've kept me from completely freaking out and having to hit the hospital. But there's a grand fake edifice being built behind me and I'm starting to believe that it might, in fact, be real. As once at Barnes-Jewish I said to the psych nurse, “So it's true. The government is watching me.” “But not in the sense you're suspecting,” she responded. But seriously, folks, let's not get bogged down in the mire of semantics. Some weird shit is going down and I'm here to witness it. My Discernment My repeated trips to the Underworld or the Wilderness or whatever you want to call it have in some manner left me weakened. I'm not going to quit doing what I'm doing but it would be nice to say I've learned what I needed to learn. A huge breakthrough came when I got up to leave my room and somehow the door was already opened and when I got to the elevator it opened before I even pressed the button and no one was on it and my immediate thought was not that this was from the devil but that it was a great gift and wonderful sign from God. What's to Love I walk a little quieter when little Enoch is around. I have said that he is holy. I know that you, dear reader, would probably think that he's clearly suffering from some unknown malady. I can't tell you what we do here all day but there is a structure to it. There's a rhythm. You can call me the drummer. Today I discovered a secret method for rising out of hell. But don't tell anyone! It's five hundred milligrams of Clozaril. I think though I'm not sure that I'm the only one in the know. Walking in the rain's different from looking out the window. I arrive later at Tower Grove Park with my notes and continue to put down the penetrating paranoid vibe and so, I can take part in the psychotic discourse but what's much more interesting to me is figuring out those tulips and what's to love. Loud Bell Parkview Place has finally grown into my home after only fourteen years and I love my beatnik room and last night on the patio I actually was thinking “eyeball” and “eyeball” because I was noticing the beautiful lights and the beautiful 70's architecture and I felt some god was preparing me to roar and I've slowly come to understand the presence of evil. I've been so sick and I just thought that everyone or everything was sick as well. I feel like I'm going to a wedding. Somebody's about to give birth! There's a beautiful spirit all about us which is taking its shape in the brain. Send this stuff to the true psychiatrist! And speaking of trysts I'm wondering just where Dr Valentine is now? You get so down and defeated and afraid but you keep on fighting and after fourteen years or so you enter into a positive transactional analysis and what freaked you out about everybody dissipates. So don't dwell on that guy running rampant throughout Manhattan so angry and unconscious and just at the beginning of picking up on language because you know that loud bell eventually came to the fore. A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Matthew Freeman