When you are mentally ill
Time will push and pull, freeze
And stagnate in your memories.
Your memories –
They are different than others.
Pathways for some, they will
Always be ditches for you.
Deep grooves in your brain
you, everything you care about –
it all gets lost in the wash.
(There was a ditch on the side of the road where you grew up.
Near the school, the YMCA. A classmate rolled his truck into it once.
You drove by in a friend’s car and thought, “shit.”)
You fall into the past with so much ease,
Only realizing how stuck you are when
It’s too deep to climb out.
You fall in,
submerged in the moment,
thrown back into each big regret,
each deep embarrassment
to hash and rehash and hash again.
Your heartache bowls you over every time
Like it’s the first time
All over again.
Pills are teaching you presence,
Present-tense for the first time
In your life.
Sometimes, the silence,
The direct gaze of your mind
Onto a standard scenario –
objects, places, things,
A verb or two,
All related through the obvious
Vs. the relational contortions of your mind –
Sometimes, it’s beautiful.
Other times, it makes you feel
So numb, so lonely.
Trapped in single moments in time
Without ten other thoughts, memories
Joining you, shielding you,
Pecking at you.
To be present is a gift
And it’s also the loss of your
Most constant companions.
But your friends are always waiting.