Friday, September 01, 2000

Issue 3

C. E. Chaffin

Sam Vaknin

Dottieann Stucko

Dave Benson

C.E. Chaffin

With Her Fog, Her Amphetamines, and Her Pearls

But she breaks just like a little girl. --

Bob Dylan

Twice you've asked me to leave.
This third time, uttered groggy
and forgetful from a hospital bed,
incensed that you're still alive, almost succeeds.

How glad I am you chose the wrong pills!
How glad I am they found you in the forest!
Yet you are more bitter than the taste of morphine
at how you failed at this, your final failure.

Now I see how you squeezed your eyes
harder than God shut your ears. This is not
a judgment but an observation-- I keep repeating this--
I thought the deaf saw more.

Your sainted dad's an alcoholic
and your noble husband beat you--
you never mentioned it. In AA there's a saying,
"Your secrets will kill you." Yours almost did

but you are now exposed, your pale moon
near full behind the flapping borders
of your hospital gown, blue print-on-white,
(thank God!) not rose-tinted black.

A Dying Fall

Blessed are the deaf asleep.
Sleeping, they hear; hearing, they know.

Knowing, they cannot explain
why their music is always in color.

Do not disturb their snoring,
it is their passionate breath.

Do not wake them to this
strange world of silence

But touch their honeyed skin;
hear the descending submarines.

The Dumpster

This is your dumpster, beaten by usage,
misshapenly blue, blotched with rust
though resilient as steel, still serviceable enough
to mount on a truck.

Throw in what you can bear,
the broken torso of his vision of you
in clay and wire, the discarded water heater
and the towing chains.

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.

Throw in your father
who departed for the eternal suburbs
in a fit of gradual senescence;
throw in your golden retriever,
arthritic and blind, who needs a boost
to stand, christened "Sunny"
for his excellent temperament.

Throw in the plastic tarpaulins
that shield what feeds on darkness,
spore and fungi, throw in
the bitter pomegranate,
the purifying hyssop,
the man-shaped mandrake,
the hemlock and the yew,
all wilted keels of earth's
imaginary boat propelled by tears.

Throw in your confidence, your job,
your mother bearing bad news of your birth,
the striving to acquit yourself
persistently more equal than
those spared your handicap.

Throw in the cigarettes that killed your husband
(though you still smoke two packs a day),
throw in the blackened chest
that housed his far-seeing eye.

Throw in your only child,
the empty fuel can begging fire.
Pile it on a camel (one hump for each Testament),
send it into the desert
to empty you of that emptiness
beyond hope and reason.


Imagine you own nothing--
your body is rented, for instance,
your mind borrowed.

Though all your suffering is real,
you are not your suffering;
your losses cannot destroy you
nor your gains restore you.

Gather love's souvenirs
into a necklace of pain;
when you bless the seasnakes unawares
you will know the weight of it--

Let go!

C.E. Chaffin's first book of poems, Elementary, was published in 1997 by the Mellen Press, available through He edits the online literary journal, Melic Review, and has been widely published on the web and in print. He lives in Long Beach, CA, with his three daughters, and is presently on disability for psychiatric illness and chronic spinal pain.

C. E. Chaffin Sam Vaknin Dottieann Stucko Dave Benson

Sam Vaknin

Prague At Dusk

Prague lays over its inhabitants in shades of grey. Oppressively close to the surface, some of us duck, others simply walk carefully, our shoulders stooped, trying to avoid the monochrome rainbow at the end of the hesitant rain. Prague rains itself on us, impaled on one hundreds towers, on a thousand immolated golden domes. We pretend not to see it bleeding to the river. We just cross each other in ornate street corners, from behind exquisite palaces. We don't shake heads politely anymore. We are not sure whether they will stay connected if we do.

It is in such times that I remember an especially sad song, Arabic sounds interlaced with Jewish wailing. Wall after wall, turret after turret, I re-visit my homeland. It is there, in that city, which is not Arab, nor Jewish, not entirely modern, nor decidedly antique that I met her.

And the pain was strong.

Sally Ann

I wrote, Sally Ann, I wrote:

Shot from the cannon of abuse
as unwise missiles do.

Course set.

Explosive clouds that mark
your video destination.

Experts interpret,
pricking with laser markers,
inflated dialects
of doom.

Hitting the target, you
splinter, a spectacle
of fire and of smoke.

The molten ashes,
the cold metallic remnants,
the core...

A peace accord
between you and your self.


The Toxic
waste of bottled anger
Life belly up.
The reeds.
The wind is hissing
a river holds
its vapour breath
and leaves black lips
of tar and fish
a bloated shore.

A Hundred Children

Tell me about your sunshine
and the sounds of coffee
and of barefeet pounding the earthen floor
the creaking trees
and the skinned memory of hugs
you gave
and you received.

Sit down, yes, here,
the intermittent sobbing
of the shades
slit by your golden face.

Now listen to the hundred children
that are your womb.

I am among them.

Sam Vaknin: I suffer from a few personality disorders. I am the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited"

C. E. Chaffin Sam Vaknin Dottieann Stucko Dave Benson

Dottieann Stucko


Plant legs and arms
             the arms that soak in Life
         choke the light until the eyes grow tight
                 and the mind becomes hazy
     when that mind projects the Whole Being
             without disgust, the cell divides
                 and unplugs the entire thought
                     Desire and React
             give the fibers a chance at motion

The Drive

Not in soul In Mine
         if you were by my side
         by my current holding hand too tight
             now watch her painted frozen face
             be taken to a secret place
touch them
hold them
lose them
             is this contest a challenge
             to question SELF control
                     With the acceptance of humanity
                         I lost their remarks
                 and began to feed the sharks that told


I remember when she said I think I'm loaded. I think I'm loaded.
         and it was the she moaned this it was the way that it
         was sent to me fever and sweat dancing maybe it is Your
         a pity on the idea that I have no idea what I am doing
     there, there instead of releasing the sweaters Pile on more
         labels and sets now now moan and take the sweater off
         there are so many corners and a voice will never answer even if
     the voice is offered will it ever be given and this could be a
         the paint is given when it is said lay the medium on quick
                 and never look back forget the tongue and tape
     certain ills the only wish I wish
         Is without perfume the perfume on the
inside of your elbow a fallen leg could be a strategic maneuver
     but it wouldn't belong to me

Dottieann Stucko: I am a 22 year old art student from Chicago majoring in painting. I'm also interested in music and writing. Last year I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Some of my influences are Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William S. Burroughs, Egon Schiele, Sonic Youth and Scratch Acid.

C. E. Chaffin Sam Vaknin Dottieann Stucko Dave Benson

Dave Benson

The day arced in, thieves of light,
and no one explained themselves.

The differentia was apparent--

It was a soul kiss, a festal way
of seeing. These narcissi, how
How beautiful. Just to notice
things: Diapason of bird
call, thread of babbling
brook. Not to take aim,
not to.


Breathing breaks the distance-

my grasp of the evening,
the shape of my blood-

the fall of light.

The window is open
to gulls crying the
falling light.

it will be dark,
knit with eyes;

an autumnal tangle
of whispers


Spit. Look in the mirror.
You are the last leper of Saint-Lazare.
You are time slowing down, lonely as falling snow.
Look into these eyes.
Figure you're in there.
Kiss of the waters.
Close your eyes.
Remember running barefoot through the snow.
Relax. God kisses your feet.
The trees get more, your breath explodes
into clouds of vapor that twitch and strive
like animals rejecting sleep.
Tonight you marry the moon.
Your progress is blind, your eyes are closed,
you crash through the underbrush. Your eyes are
You forget to breathe for two full minutes.
Saplings beat at your body like truncheons. You know the truth.
You're on your back, laughing. Blood bubbles in your throat,
the taste of iron, spluttering helplessly, your lips a garish red no
one can see.
Close the scene. Spit.

The sun is the song of medieval girls,

it is hidden behind clouds.

It is luck in the fireplace,
glowing, hammering dulcimer
into atmosphere.

We kiss her, though she dies.

Dave Benson, NJ USA. 28, soon to be student again. I'd just like to say that mental illness is a way of, seriously...anxiety, with occasionally severe panic...depression that cycles between minor and major...anyway. I've never been comfortable with the idea of being mentally ill, although i know i am. I guess the question is, especially in the arts, where do you draw the line, and why do you feel the need to draw it?

C. E. Chaffin Sam Vaknin Dottieann Stucko Dave Benson

Thursday, June 01, 2000

Issue 2

Melissa Marino

Shayne Walls

David Ruslander

Peter Timusk

John Exell

Melissa Marino

Six Rules to Live, Love, and Die By

Bodies warm with the still-sweet memory of dreams
I roll over towards you -- half asleep --
My reach: tentative and guarded.

In your waking, you somehow perceive the impending threat,
roll away, and rise -- never looking back --
leaving me grasping
at the empty space that you used to occupy.

I lower my hand,
my fingertips tracing the ghost-shape
that you've left in the sheets,
as I watch you stride away
leaving only your fading warmth to soothe me.

~ There will be no lingering.

Skirting around the periphery of one-another,
we go about our separate, disentangled existences
the illusion of our familiarity threadbare and tenuous,
like a transparent cloak of invisibility,
as we ride together in silence, our faces peering out
on our own, individual landscapes.

I turn my head further towards the glass
feigning interest in the nondescript, flavorless scenery,
so you won't see the tears
and we drive,
the thirteen-inch span between us:
an infertile, long-dead wasteland
that neither one of us has the will or courage to cross.

Then, in a stone-still, breath-holding moment,
you reach for me, and I mentally race your hand to my face
where I imagine its sensitive, warm caress
on my cheek -- with one loving touch --
saying all of the things that we've no words for,
and you grin, and grab my breast for a friendly little squeeze.

~ There will be no tenderness.

We play footsie with reality
talking about the paths that we've chosen to travel,
while we avoid, at all costs,
even one truthful word about what brought us here.

We pretend that we're the greatest of friends
sharing our triumphs, tribulations,
fleeting moments of fame and conquests in love,
all the while, acutely aware of when, exactly,
we should insert the appropriate smile
or congratulatory pat on the back,
giving Oscar-worthy, flawless performances
with every mouth full of lies that we choke upon.

We choose silence over serious discourse,
the echoes of conversations long-dead, loud in our ears,
and when the silence becomes unbearable,
we veil our distress in laughter
each joke ensuring that the last laugh is on us.

~ There will be no communication.

we voluntarily occupy one-another's space,
settling for "something" rather than "nothing",
and, you become the visitor that you are attempting to portray,
decked out in all of your finest visitor dress, "just so".

You say "excuse me" when we pass too closely,
put the seat down,
and pick your socks up off the floor.
We discuss our jobs, our futures,
the weather and your wife,
and, when we fuck, you close your eyes.

I'd rather you leave your socks on the floor.

~ There will be no remembering.

Balanced upon the precarious ledge called "suicide"
we resist jumping, out of fear, and, also because
to do nothing at all still ensures death
as an eventuality.

"I'd like to linger when I die", you say in jest,
not realizing that the joke's on you.

You're already dying. We both are.
The difference is,
you just don't know it, yet.

~ There will be no redemption.

Know the rules before you agree to play the game.

~ There will be no refunds.

Poem for February

Ardour seeps
From a cracked ventricle,
Soaking the frosted ground
With it's caustic potion.

And once, the veins
Of these pressed petals
Swelled with dew,
Until their essence was blotted
In some candied chapter.

Now the demi-hearted
Winter sun washes discordantly
Over my seashell
Like a frigid lamp;

So flamy through the trees,
So harsh a hue against
The still, anemic landscape.
It tears in my eyes an awful wound.

Something rattles about in the bowl, a pearl.

Absence has not kept us apart.

Love Song for Him (thank You T.S. Thank You)

I finally dumped J Alfred when
you first asked to make love to my mind

suddenly, there was something
in that nada of my thoughts ... and
i found you bending wire into wings
strong wings, soft wings.
and i almost closed my eyes then.

there was just too much beauty.

you asked me why i look at you,
and what word could
i entertain?
someone drew your face into a photograph
that i carry within my heart
that only knows your eyes
asking to make love to my soul

there's no bloodletting required,
im open and absorbing

your dance is potent,
setting nietzsche's cows to pasture and
opening the windows to
i exhaled the last breath of
when you asked to make love to my body

those folds are peppermint to the
pasteboard of my woman box
opening to you,
you hold one of the great mysteries of
life in the palm of your hand.

while the women came and went
talking of ordinary things,

you were not one of them

Melissa Marino: I was born in Warren, Michigan. I have a BS in biology and biochemistry and am working toward getting my phd in developmental biology. I have been an active writer for the past 7 years, everything from poetry to prose, to non-fiction pieces. I don't think I ever made a decision to write, I just feel that I need to. I am what most people would call a 'self-hater'. I cut, burn, starve, binge, and bleed myself. I suffer from occassional bouts of servere depression, flanked by self injury. Through all my years of hurt, and ‘treatment', writing has always been there to kill the pain.

Melissa Marino Shayne Walls David Ruslander Peter Timusk John Exell

Shayne Walls


Serpents swim in the night
Troubled mind frosted light
Shadows fall like the snow
In my heart embers glow

The Sea

The sea was riled
Heaving her breath
Upon the land
Stirring souls of
Men to stand


Through the abyss
We'll swim
Sun to moon
And back again
So cry no more
We'll arrive
I see the shore
I see the light

From the darkness
Of this well
You and me
Oceans swell
Douse the fires
In our minds
We find peace
Amongst the vines

Shayne Walls: 31 years young diagnosed and hospitalized with schizophrenia in December 1996. Last stay in the cracker factory June 1999.

Melissa Marino Shayne Walls David Ruslander Peter Timusk John Exell

David Ruslander

59th Street

A black stiletto heel rests against granite
the cornerstone on 59th street.
Long bent leg reveals her garter belt
white stockings under a red mini skirt.

Sequined top, eye catching
pledges allegiance
lifting Marilyn Monroe off her neck.
The breeze refreshing

she blows you away.
Across the street
the pusher deals
from the bottom of the deck.

Suits scramble for the blue train
cellular phones stuck in their ears,
have your people call mine,
buy me some of that IPO.

A necklace of yellow cabs
links the avenues, interspersed
with black pearl limousines
Marilyn puts one on.


A bluesy haze hung over your Birdland.
Black & white faces played in your band.

Heads bobbing to musical spacings
watching and hearing your sax playing.

Everyone loves Charlie 'Bird' Parker.
But Charlie, you found places darker and darker.

Woodsheding all summer made you a king.
Man you learned to make that horn sing.

Your flatted fifth changes turned jazz on its head.
You were the reed-man you know it was said.

Oh, Cherokee, baby, what luxury,
who could forget that night at Savoy?

Your self-medication did so much harm.
Poppy was always on your right arm.

Nobody squeezed so many notes in one line.
You played yourself out in one-third time.

The Black Dog

Amber waves of grass blowing in warm summer sun
rolling over California hillsides brings a song to the breeze.
While the grasses appear dying the roots still live.
When they drink upon the autumn rains green stems return;
things are not always as they seem.
While walking through this flowing grass sea
I contemplate the cycles coming and going,
calm, stormy, dark, and light.
A startled covey of quail rises into the sky
and the black dog runs through the fields of gold.

Dave Ruslander: I am manic depressive.

Melissa Marino Shayne Walls David Ruslander Peter Timusk John Exell

Peter Timusk

Cloud Girl

Watching her from below.
Talking with her now.
She seems to be light.
She is very white.
A real cloud girl,
floating through the sky.
A real cloud girl,
Catching my eye.

There are moons and suns,
but she is everywhere.
I know she is all right.
Yes, and even tonight.

A real cloud girl,
floating through the sky.
A real cloud girl,
catching my eye.

He Thought

He was thrown out for dueling
His learning of fighting
She was his love
Never became a dove
The society spent on guns
And the new country begun
To live in independence
And own language of true defense
As life carried forward
The new formula of worth
But the numbers were a measure
Of water's temperate behavior
So that his class analysis
Was cruel and baseless
And even sex and love
When shot
Brought the mind to stop
And thus Karl wrote a story
That his theory
Had made the world gory
So that now a tragic idea
Was declared a delusional idea
And now poetically said
He was one great Red.

Brothers Learn Sociology

A fence post
between good friends
moved and the judge
accepted the insanity

The norms of society
as learned by hundreds of students
were doubted and the musician
incorporated the definition
in his thoughts of the song

The tune
sung that night
was accepted and the audience
applauded the insane

life is family brothers are friendly

Peter Timusk: Recovered from schizophrenia. Interests include mathematics, computers, and literature. Lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Melissa Marino Shayne Walls David Ruslander Peter Timusk John Exell

John Exell

Tales From The Front -- No. 43

The nurse brought round the medicine trolley. The patients shuffled towards her, all except Tom. No, he had had enough. He hated the pills, all they did was to make him sleepy. He didn't need them. He didn't need to be here. There was nothing wrong with him. He was a prisoner.

He turned sharply, walked briskly down the corridor, and slipped out a side door. He blinked in the sun, then broke into a run, jumped over a hedge and down the farm track. He was free, free. The dark, dead, dreary ward was a memory.

He continued running until he collapsed against a stile, breathless, a broad smile escaping from his lips. A lark soared high in the sky; he followed it with his mind. He noticed a rabbit dart into the undergrowth, its white tail glistening in the sunlight. The tops of the trees swayed in the gentle breeze. All was movement, life. He breathed it all in deeply.

Of course they would come looking for him, but he didn't care, not at this moment, this precious moment.


It is winter.
In my breast it is winter too.
Icicles live where once beat my heart.

I do not long for spring,
Winter suits me.
Its coldness is bracing, awakening.
It numbs the pain.

Love caused this pain.
I now stand aloof from love,
What need have I for it.

The ice forms patterns on my window.
Beautiful geometric ordered patterns,
A true mathematical beauty.
What need have I for the false beauty of her eyes,
Her lips.

I lay on my bed to sleep.
No more will I lose myself in dreams.
I sleep the sleep of death,
Stillness, ice, ice, death.

Ice is stillness, solid, unyielding.
Frozen water, frozen tears.

H.R.H. Princess Diana, R.I.P.

You externalised your pain and suffering,
You talked about it openly,
You hid behind no mask.
That was your cure.
And for that you were loved.

You showed that those who were at the top
Were also weak and frail.
That was your strength.
And for that you were loved.

With your suffering,
You identified with those too who suffered:
The deprived, the lonely, the outcast.
That was your joy.
And for that you were deeply loved.

You changed the world in your life.
You changed the world in your death.
You proved to the world, once again,
That love is the greatest force in the Universe,
Has the greatest magnetism,
Can sway even Kings and Queens,
Can topple the proud,
Without bloodshed,
Only your own.
That was your triumph.
And for that you became great,
A part of History,
Never to be forgotten.

Safety First

A neighbour often stops me in the street.
He always asks if I have found a job yet.
I always tell him that I suffer from bad nerves and depression,
That I cannot take stress,
That the doctor doesn't want me to work.

He often sees me with a broad smile on my face,
Dashing about somewhere or other.
He is always polite and friendly towards me,
But I'm sure that underneath
He thinks that I am a scrounger, a malingerer, a fraud.

Do I tell him that voices tell me to write and do strange things?
That I see Angels hovering above the Mind Café,
The Community Centre,
And the Mental Health Day Centre.
That I see devils sitting on the roof of the Job Centre,
The Social Security Office and the Town Hall.
That a short while ago I thought I was MichelAngelo;
Last year it was William Blake.
Do I tell him that two winters ago
Things got so bad that I tried to take my own life?
Do I tell him that I suffer from Schizophrenia?

Or is it safer and wiser perhaps to allow him to think bad of me?

Leonardo da Vinci.
(Also known as John Exell).

John Exell: Male, aged 51, single, no dependents, born 2am, 16th February 1949, failed architect, successful schizophrenic. Artist, poet, writer, sculptor, green, philosopher, mystic. Retired on state sickness benefit. Lives in outer suburb of London, UK.

Melissa Marino Shayne Walls David Ruslander Peter Timusk John Exell

Wednesday, March 01, 2000

Issue 1

Elizabeth Harper

David Woodard

Frans Lelieveld


Melissa McHenry

Elizabeth Harper

Creation By Clash

I sit in shade,
Overhead loom high canyon walls
Behind me river water falls.
Swamps with cattails - In a desert?!?
I sit timeless in this glade.

Moss, ferns, and even trees
Struggle for growth - water from each spring.
The Great White Throne - of God or the king.
Is now unseen, yet nearby.
Black minerals weep
Over stones in red
Greenness grows as springs seep.

Rocks and river splash,
Green and red, blue and tan, all clash!
Clashes, such beauty create.
Seeing this will satiate
The true hunger for natural, silent beauty.

Whipped Apricots Peaks of Yore

Whipped apricot peaks -
Egg white icing Orange icing
decorated with green trees
Shrubs, bushes
Vermilion flowers, stripped bees
I see them spelling out occasions and names.
Unknown language, seen only in rushes.

Smells sweet.
Apricot, mint, and sage,
Biggest strange cake ever made!
Is the ground below to eat?
Behind, the Navajo sandstone shows its age.

Whipped apricot peaks,
Purple decor.
Some apricot spilled on the floor!
Sugar in my dress,
This does make a mess!
I smile as birds go "chirp chirp" with their beaks.
This cake has been made of yore.

Goodnight My Friend

Sleep tight
Sleep easy and free.
Stay warm and cozy through the night.

Let no clown spy you.
Be gone! Bother no one furthermore!
May nightmares pass by you.
Gently close your eyes, to lightly dream.

May your dreams be of warm safety,
Of laughs and happiness.
Of beauty and of Strength.
Strength you have, to stay or to leave.

Strength to rewrite nightmares,
...If you so desire.
Or banish them completely.
They will go away as burned by fire.

Awaken then, after sleep in warm safety,
Renewed and refreshed.
Laughing from the funny dreams.
Inspired by the rest.

Elizabeth Harper David Woodard Frans Lelieveld Age Melissa McHenry

David Woodard

Removing The Mask

From the dawn of memory
I desired, no, needed it
a dream dangling on the sunset of every tomorrow
an eternal moment away

allowing perversion of the goal
in an attempt to attain something similar
I become all things to all people
hiding my soul behind masks
alone in the crowd
craving acceptance yet fearing rejection
a popular personality fraud

eyes back on the prize
guard drops letting others see
earning reward of rejection
run oh run away
back into the cave
project positive image again
damage control with festering wounds

gather courage, try again
success? only its shadow
the illusion is shattered
the heart bleeds once more

forget the ruse
I'm tired of the game
of playing the many parts
free my soul to fly
acceptance starts with me

the rejection comes in large doses
probably always will
but acceptance is finally achieved
if only, I find, from me

no longer living in a mold set
by strangers, family and friends
love ME or hate ME, but know ME
only then can I hope to win

I gaze at last into the eyes
of total and true acceptance
finally free of the fight
the face staring back smiles brightly
a mirror's reflection of ME


Throughout the garden of life
there's beauty at every turn but
even the loveliest rose
carries inconsiderate thorns
to make her bleed who would love it
an imperfection it can not avoid
but when handled with care
and caution caressed
the greatest joy can be gained
from what others would have avoided

Rude Awakening

What the hell is that burning
that set my nose on fire
what's going on
back to sleep
it must be a dream
all just a bad dream

did a far off voice
just say "hit him again with ammonia"
there's the burning again
eyes pop open
blur of images rushing about
grabbing holding pushing pulling
when did I sit half-way up
who put those needles in my arms

senses flooded by the distinctive smell
of every emergency room
a stench that can overpower anything
even ammonia

by the sounds that surge through my head
of nurses and doctors and paramedics
"at least he's reactive"
"he's breathing again"
"do you know where you are?"
who me
yeah - I'm in hell

Hands forcing my head back
and a tube down my throat
I can't take this - PLEASE
I'll gag! - I'll puke!- I'll die!
Please damn it - LISTEN TO ME!
why won't they listen
why can't they see

the straps are pulled tight
racking me to the four corners of existence
we've come so far since the middle ages
ancient torture mixed with high tech
beep, beep, beep, goes the heart monitor
pry bar pulls apart the jaws breaking a tooth
struggle fight
that goddamn thing's NOT going in my mouth
"OK - stick it down his nose"
that's OK
doesn't bother me
this bruising struggle could have been avoided
if you would just have listened in the first place
why doesn't anyone listen
why can't anyone hear

"what did you take?"
everything sounds fuzzy
far away again
I don't know
I can't remember
who mumbled that
fall back asleep

David Woodard: My friends know me as Tigger. I'm a 28 year old (I'll turn 29 on March 18) photographer and digital artist from Texas who just happens to also have a mental disorder known as manic depression. The clinical term for my illness is Bipolar I; Rapid Cycling. I have been fortunate to find a partner who loves me despite the hardships of living with my mood swings and their consequences. I have been married to my wife, Jan, for 10 years. The driving forces in my life are my faith, family, art, and writing. I have described my writing as a voyeuristic voyage into the disordered mind and emotions of a manic depressive. It is my hope that those reading my work either feel hope in the understanding that they are not alone or receive a better understanding of what it feels like to struggle with a mental illness.

Elizabeth Harper David Woodard Frans Lelieveld Age Melissa McHenry

Frans Lelieveld

Mother Melisana Empathic Universe

From her charitable heart
A sane mother comes to the aid
Intending to cure with a pill

Inside my soul the lilies whine
On the fields of the gray day
For ever reliving an ugly past

Sleeping I weep
It weeps in me
Sleeping I weep
Or is it someone else?
Another weeping
Another sleeping
Another not being
Anyone but him

And if I go further
Can anyone call me back?
Can anyone be my mother?
Can anyone fill the lack?

Iris, the child
She throws her big eyes
In my sinful hands

Twelve cherry eyes
She throws the dice

She throws the dice
Twelve red cherry eyes

Mother of lightning
Are you still steering
The wheel of this life
My only one?

And who receives your mercy?
The killer or the body he leaves?
Cause sometimes the one is both...

The fire inside me
Is it too cold?

From the poison heart
My mad mother jumps to the sky
Pretending to cure with a pill

I'm a tree sometimes
Blossoms falling again
I dream that

This empathic universe
Cries tears of blood
For all souls lost

From the mercury well
The golden calf rises
Like a yellow dragon of revenge

I am writer
Earth-mover, grave-digger
Life-fucker, Jesu

I should be
A zero magician
Free from desire
Ready to go

I should be
Chewing gum
Doing nothing
Just me

I should be
Very very careful

With all this
Bottle of gin


A lonely wanderer
To whispers
Trying to understand

Hearing in the fresh
Rustling of springtime leaves
The tree-innocence of
Being mother nature's son

Hearing in the soft
Flow of breathing in and out
The free destiny of
Playing the child in the wind

Hearing unexpectedly
A powerful surge of voices
From forgotten religions
Vanishing into space

Hearing disturbances
Made by people's thoughts trying
To find statement in myriads
Of self-centred fantasies

Hearing the exchange
Of calm and commotion
Sailing together like ships
Meeting in the present

A feeling of
Knocking at the door

A feeling of
Carefully opening

A silent wind bringing
Pure insight and great compassion

Disclosing in the idea of
Autumn leaves decomposing
The speaking revelation that
Even God's gold will rot

So I carved for you this rock:

"There is no safe place for a human being
Than in his acceptance of the imperfection
Of this creation and in his willingness
To be part of a certain death"

But the lonely wanderer is lost
In fairy voices in and out
He follows the babbling stream
To an ocean without a doubt...


I lock you in a coffin
I bury you in the depth of the ocean
I'll make you a deal
You may cook until your done for
In the pouring rain outside my door

With this stick
I throw myself
With this stick
I hit myself
With this ink-babbling shit-stick
I bear out heaven and earth
With the faith of a dog
I bite deep into my slavery

Chained by words
Punished by writing

I ram you out of your coffin
I drag you from the bottom of the ocean
Radiant cosmic appeal
You may walk into my life
Through any door any time

With this spade
I dig in the earth
Where I kept my heart
Hidden from the world
With this spade
I compose my life
To grinded bones manure
In honour of words

Have you heard?
I, man, cry out the name of my heart
My heart is no word!

Frans Lelieveld: I go by my own name. I was born in January 26, 1963. I'm a man. I do my internet from the Royal Library in the Hague, Holland. I've been given a mild and not unfriendly kind of schizophrenia since my first big psychosis in 1987. I'm interested in medical and spiritual interpretations and treatments of schizophrenia. I like to discuss the unverified reality changing quality of psychosis.

Elizabeth Harper David Woodard Frans Lelieveld Age Melissa McHenry


The Unknown -- A Dance of the Sin of Life

The protection of insanity keeps the wolves of reality
just barely at bay. I hear their howls behind me,
stalking their prey. Stalking me. Hunted in the hour
of midnight, I flee across this wasteland of raw
hunger and need. I once dwelled in the garden of
fantasy. I danced with the Silent Knight of
Imagination. I spun tales around me that caught me up
in soft feathers of delight, tickling my senses. Then
came the nightmare of surrender; Surrender of myself
to the throes of living. The frost of fear had killed
the garden. No longer was I cradled in the valley of
tenderness. I became just another faceless Unknown. An
Unloved. A forgotten dreamer, left to the blight of
misery. Screaming fields of bloody hate seemed to
overcome me. It washed over my feet, as one, tainting
me with its foulness. So I fled to the safety found in
madness. Now, I will drink my life until I remember
what "life" is. In the ever-shifting shelter of
psychosis I remain. Always dodging my wolves.......

The Hunted

The smiling executioner
in Khrono's playground.
A blood feeder to be sated
with not-so-innocent lives.
He digs them up,
from the scum of chaos.
Throws a mind into a
soulless body
and calls them
The Hunted.
They wander the spaces in-between
hoping to avoid him,
all the while
committing deeds as heinous as his
Feeding on the wine of life.
Stuffing themselves with their own kind.
They breathe Hate.
Just as He does.
They are All
without shame.

(a note -- "Khrono" is a German name for "time" )


Who are You to entrance me so?
I am almost scared of these intense feelings
You send to all my senses.

Who are You to dance so teasingly
through my thoughts and dreams?
I wonder if You're even conscious
of the web You are weaving.

Who are You, that I fantasize
how deep passion between us would feel ?
How would Your voice sound
when saying my name with desire ?

Who are You to make me feel this way ?

You are a seductress;
You are passionate and intriguing....
Already You have me bound
in Your trappings of soft allusions.

Age: My name is adrienne aka age. 21 female ... hailing from upstate ny. Uhm... i've been diagnosed with PTSD and manic depression with a side dish of "schizophrenic tendencies".

Labels. ::shrugs:: Been dealing with m' "mental problems" for about 7 years now. i write poetry/prose for one reason: so i don't explode from all the noise and confusion in m' head. ::curtseys:: That's all.

Elizabeth Harper David Woodard Frans Lelieveld Age Melissa McHenry

Melissa McHenry


a child of the night

I look up to the sky

bathed in moonlight

I sit and spy

Melissa McHenry: I am a 22 year old female who has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. I have been hospitalized 3 times since July 1999 and that's where I get most of my inspiration.

Elizabeth Harper David Woodard Frans Lelieveld Age Melissa McHenry

Saturday, January 01, 2000

Submission Guidelines

  1. You must have experienced 'mental illness' (e.g. depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, manic depression or bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia).
  2. We accept poems of any topic and style. Send in a batch of 4 to 6 poems. We will only consider one batch of poems per poet per year so please choose your best work.
  3. Your submission must not be previously published in print or online publications. Simultaneous submissions are okay but please let us know.
  4. You are responsible for the originality of the work you submit.
  5. Write a few words to be included as contributor's note.
  6. Please proof read your submissions and check for any typos and grammatical errors.
  7. We will publish your work as it is accepted.
  8. Write "Copyright © 2012 (Your Name)" after your poems.
  9. Send your submissions in the body of your e-mail, NOT as an attachment, to
  10. Put "Poetry Sz Submissions" in the subject line.
  11. Submissions are open year-round.