Poetry Showcase from Theresa Werba (formerly Theresa Rodriguez)

High Anxiety

Oh, come and view the workings of an over-anxious mind,
The day-to-day of black, cold darkness that can paralyze;
So full of hidden terrors and foreboding that in kind
I wonder what catastrophe might soon materialize.

For wakeful nights keep sleep away with worry and with dread;
A feeling of impending doom that flutters in my heart;
I fight in vain to overcome the unknown, but instead
I lie awake and wish this apprehension would depart!

This is a covert, secret place unseen by outside eyes;
I wear a coating of some calm to masquerade the fear,
And try to cloak, conceal away; but then I realize
I am an open book and my proclivities are clear!

What horrors I invent! What terrors and calamity!
And yes, worst-case scenarios are ever festering;
For when the palpitations come, I wish that I could see
A better situation than what I'm engendering.

Instead, I quiver and in trepidation I can quake
In endless combinations of my mental wonderings;
Distortion causes all my equilibrium to shake,
Because I cannot cease from such tumultuous ponderings!

What would it be, if somehow I could live without this weight,
And future tense would only be a present tense to me;
Oh, then I could live in the moment, in this pleasant state,
And be completely free from all this high anxiety!

To Be, or Not to Be Medicated

To burst unfettered in the manic way,
The talking mouth that cannot stop to rest,
Are you to say I should not be this way,
My fast brain bursting full of better, best?

I sing, I write, I make—but can these be
If creativity is dulled inside of me?
If sentience devolves to reticence,
To fit the current psychopharma sense,
How can I make the songs I sing so deeply
Or make the heart that hears it cry so sweetly?

I burn with heat as my pen works the page.
How can a dullard bring the sage words of a sage?
If neurons fire, then why misfire mine?
My flame will burn right out, without a rhyme!

You seek to keep the highs and lows at bay.
You wish to even out the peaks and pits:
But how can trees wave branches in the air
If they become attenuated bits?

My burst is lost! I love to burst!
I love to bear a child in a poem!
I love to work twelve hours at a thrust
To give in words a newly-labored tome!
I love to touch! I love to feel!
I love the sounds and hues of silk and steel!
If diamonds and rust escape the censoree,
Why do you seek to take it all from me?

“Ah yes, but see, you are complex:
Your mind is broke and needs a kind of fix.
We cannot have you run abouting—
Living, breathing, singing, shouting—
And thinking toomuchtoomuch, too—
So this is why these meds are good for you!”

Ah yes, I know!
The points on a momentary snowflake sparkle so!
And yet, if you were to smooth it smoothingly,
What shape would then the perfect snowflake be?

In fairness, I do go low to the abyss.
This pit is not when twirling my skirts
But rather when I’d render splits
Into my skin until it hurts.

I can make tombs of closets or my bed.
For sleeping hard and long can make you dead.
(But to a point) because I wake again. 
'Tis true this ebb can flow out in the end.

Ah, to straddle polar poles and not to sway!

Healers of neuron makers and transmitters,
Give me back my brain’s peculiar fritters!
Pharma, grant no side-affected me,
And Psyche will dance in manic revelry!

Cut Sonnet

What will begin as thought will end in deed.
A striking of the skin of flesh and heart
And then the friction giving way to bleed
With red relief, like tears which know no part
Of reason or of sanity, but flow
Responsive to the need to rip and see
A mirror wounding from without. Although
One can touch, the other is not free—
Except in reciprocity, to splay 
Itself, the earthly to the earth.
And then this ugly skin-ding will display
Until the salve of time will show its worth.

For memories can thus become unmade,
And pain can ease and even scars do fade.

The Word-Birth Sonnet

I gave birth to a poem the other day,
I labored for twelve hours in a rhyme,
I centered, conjured, wombed, throbbed, then gave way
To empty out the fullness of my time.

As in the waves and ebbs and flows of life
By blood and pulsing, bearing down its course,
I think, I gestate; for the pangs of strife
Are sperm to my ripe, beating ovoid source.

Oh I am aching! So intense are all
The squeezings and the earnest tides of pain;
I move about, then settle in to cull
With open heart my brain canal again.

For writing is the labor of the mind;
And I have birthed my children all in kind.

Sonnet Sonnet

To write of love, or speak of other things 
Like life or death, or such philosophy 
As might stir up an eager mind, which brings 
It to a bold, enriched reality: 
Oh, perfect, lovely forms! With such delight 
The poet and the reader can obtain
A revelation of new thought, in light
Of what the mind on paper may attain. 
For Petrarch, Shakespeare, and then Spenser offer 
Us cripple-rhythmed beauty in a way
That is uniquely to the point, and suffer 
Condensed and distilled thought to have its say. 

For I can surely rest my heart upon it:
I love these three forms that are called the sonnet. 

*From Theresa:  "To Be, or Not to Be Medicated" has been published in my book Jesus and Eros. "Cut Sonnet" (a sonnet about self-harm) has been published in my book Sonnets. "The Word-Birth Sonnet" and "Sonnet Sonnet" have also been published in Sonnets. 

Bio: Theresa Werba (formerly Theresa Rodriguez) is 60-year old poet, author and voice teacher who was diagnosed with autism in her 50s and bipolar disorder since her 20s. She is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs (Bardsinger Books, 2015), Longer Thoughts (Shanti Arts, 2020), and Sonnets, a collection of sixty-five sonnets (Shanti Arts, 2020). Her work has appeared in such journals as The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Wilderness House Literary Review, Spindrift, Mezzo Cammin, The Wombwell Rainbow, Serotonin, The Road Not Taken, and the Society of Classical Poets Journal. Her work ranges from forms such as the ode and sonnet to free verse, with topics ranging from neurodivergence, love, loss, aging, to faith and disillusionment and more. Her website is http://www.bardsinger.com, where you can view videos of her performance poetry and find information about her books. Follow Theresa on Instagram and Twitter @thesonnetqueen.

Wolfpack Contributor: Theresa Werba

Poetry Showcase from Theresa Werba (formerly Theresa Rodriguez)

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Theresa Werba

5 poems & sonnets from Theresa Rodriguez

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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