Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Unsolicited praise / Poem: Ah Mania!

Dear Ruth,

First, I want to tell you that I was very glad that I came to the library to hear you and Talya speak. You were both brilliant and so informative. I was very impressed by Talya. Her handout is excellent. I was also pleased -- as I am sure you were -- to see the overflow turnout.

Second, I want to tell you how excellent your new New Directions yellow-covered pamphlet, "Yes I Can!" is. I was totally engrossed, even transfixed, as I read your riveting My Story. It occurs to me that you were picked to do what you are doing in founding and maintaining New Directions, and were given the energy, the vision, and sadly the traumatic experience you went thru, combined with your great ability as a writer, to serve others and make this all happen. I congratulate you, that you used your experience and your talent to this good end.

Criticism: In your description of the Healing Circle: New Directions Support Group, pp. 8,9 you left out any mention of the separate meetings of loved ones, caregivers, spouses, parents, siblings, friends who accompany the individual bipolar and depressive sufferers to the meetings, and its important benefits for them as well. Was this on purpose?

Lastly, I loved your poem, "Ah Mania!" The mania, the illness coming in the guise of a rouge cheeked gypsy with pots and pans on their back, breathing softly as a kitten at your front door. And your poetic description of getting 302'd, some of which I witnessed as a bystander happening to my son at my urging.

The whole pamphlet should be widely distributed, but especially the first parts, My Story, and My Mania, should be published in a mental health journal, and/or even a literary journal.


Mitch Davis,
Restaurant Reviewer,
The TREND Newspapers


You are faithful, I’ll give you that, coming ‘round just in time for Valentine’s Day.

You snuggle close and ask me to be yours. I smile knowingly, and say,
Show me your virtues… if you have any.

You, in the guise of a gypsy, with pots and pans strung across your back,
take down a few tarnished wares and hold them out to me.

I snort. Haven’t we been through all this before?

Then, as I touch your rouged cheek, I ask, Why won’t you give me up? What am I to you?

Your gypsy eyes, ringed with soot, brush my face.

Okay, I say, it was good. I admit it.
I saw the stars with you.
We ran with the moon at our backs,
leaped across the sleeping earth.
You showed me the future in a
dead dog’s eye, then led me away
lest I drown in my own dream.
You spun sweet songs from the morning breeze
and trickled them through my hair.
You peeled back the world so I could dip inside.
Took the fire from the sun
and winked it in my heart.

Okay, I say. You’re a friggin’ marvel, a regular storehouse of miracles.
But can’t we say goodbye?

It’s February and you’ve come back.
You always do.
I hear you breathing at my front door, soft as a kitten.
I’d know that sound anywhere.
Let me in, let me in, you whimper.
Can’t you be more original?

I followed you
never dreaming of deceit,
dazed by your taste for light and color
awed by your contempt of boundaries
so like my own
which you swept away
with a lion’s paw
while I cheered you on from the sidelines,

until I found myself
to a hospital bed.

And forgot I had a name.

Amid the tumult,
amid the sea of screams,
the broken minds a-bob the
slicing waves like so many
wind-up clocks jangling out of time,
who should come ‘round but you.

There, amid the black,
the granite slab of eternity sawing through my chest,
Your shadow on the wall.

You kissed my eyes
and bid me see.

Ah, Mania,
My debt to you is incalculable,
simply beyond measure.
But no pots and pans today,
Dear Gypsy,
Put them away.

Today I shall travel the world alone.
Fishing for words,
as I do.