Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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This edition of Ward Stories has poetry from four diverse poets. The first poet, Michelle Locke, has twin muses, being both a writer and a visual artist. Dee Jordan is from Mobile, Alabama and a regular contributor to New York City Voices, who among other things reviewed my book, Serotonin Seas (Winter 2007 Edition). Sorry, shameless plug. Finally, we have Frank Vega, who wrote to us through Kingsboro Psychiatric Center. I hope you enjoy this editionís selection of poetry.

The Heroís Journey
By Michelle Locke

Once upon a time, there was an innocent soul.

This sweet, brave being sang and danced within the
Universal Harmonies in great joy and laughter.
How happy and peaceful was this soul!

Then ďITĒ came

The Calling
The Calling of the Heroís Journey.
This was not an easy or pleasant event to be swept into;
For it consisted of fear, pain, loss, self-sacrifice, much change,
And other great challenges to overcome.

Letís not forget the Monster,
Every Heroís Journey involves some kind of ferocious beast.
Or it certainly seems like it anyway.

Where did this evil thing come from, this mind-bending creature of
Darkness? It would have to be, and must be, vanquished!
Although the innocent spiritís light shone not as bright and vibrant
As before, it did not give in, it would not give up.

No way, no how!

It screamed out with all its pain and love and faith and whatever else
Which had kept it going throughout all the tormenting horror it faced
Along the path.

Suddenly, the very essence of the screams themselves entwined and be-
Came one---one huge beam of empowered Light that shot right into the
Terrible Monster and send it back, far back to the cold dark and alien lands
From whence it came.
----------
Lady In White Gloves
by Dee Jordan

The rains brought out your regal beauty
A lady decked out in elbow length gloves
Shimmering among the green feathers of the
Hummingbird vine with her tiny red trumpets
Declaring Her Majesty's arrival, but only
For one day will she grace my garden
With her astounding beauty before she
Withers and yellows and falls from her perch.

She reminds me of when I was a gangly fifteen-year-old
Tomboy who hated dressing up, felt awkward and ugly
While my sister was a princess in her fine clothes, a
Beauty Queen to be more accurate, and I have
Mixed emotions about the time my parents made
Me dress up and march in a Beauty Pageant!
What a cruel joke, as I was no Cinderella
And I felt the ugliest I'd ever felt in my life!
My sister was so stunningly beautiful and natural
And I was some klutz wearing finery,
I shook with fear and rage that night and nearly
Stumbled coming down the steps off of the stage
How I hated my parents for putting me through this.

But today upon seeing the lily, so much like a
Southern Belle dressed for a ball or pageant,
I thought to myself, how ungrateful I had been
When my parents bought me a beautiful dress
And elbow length gloves that latched with pearls.
How many girls were allowed to experience
Something so fine, so exquisite, so genteel?
Had I been more mature and had an attitude of
Gratitude, then maybe I would have had more
Grace and charm rather than rage that night.

That night, I never gave myself a chance to shine
Or be pretty, so I withered right there on the stage
One of my biggest embarrassments, when, had I not
Been so selfish and self absorbed, I could have had
One of my finest moments in life, and for once,
Discovered that a queen lay within myself,
I controlled whether I was beautiful or not,
And that night I made myself very ugly.

----------

Untitled
by Frank Vega

Five hour ride
From Upstate Marcy I was brought
My destination: Brooklyn, New York
In shackles, as we stopped at Mickey Dís
A buttered roll and cheese.
We arrived at Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, I was on new soil
They removed the shackles, finally a chance to
Sit in a chair that wasnít filled with bad oil
I was given an orientation booklet to read, so I did
The food had a different taste.
Reality, I was in a new place.
Up to the second floor, Ward 10.
We walked through the double doors.
Right foot first I was in.
In a new beginning.
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