Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
Jack Freedman
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This expanded edition of Ward Stories features six wonderful poets. David Castellino’s poem deals with the trauma many have faced as a result of the tragedies that occurred on September 11th 2001. Michelle Locke writes about the heights we all must strive for while on this Earth. . Douglas Cala is an outstanding poet who contributed an inspired piece about one having the seeds of mental illness planted in the mind. Jeffrey Perry, a supervisor at Baltic Street AEH, Inc., has contributed a poem from his new book, The Positive Prime. The last poem is by a dear friend of mine, Rebecca Vergara. This past May, a heart attack claimed her life prematurely. She was also a contributor to the anthology I edited, Trails Through the Greenbelt. The following poem by her is an excerpt from her canon of three poems in the book. These are six very gifted poets who definitely deserve to be showcased. I hope you enjoy these poems as much as I did.

By David Castellino

As each year fades into the last
As time keeps marching along
As the spotlight fades
And the memories begin to not be as vivid
As strong we all struggle in intensely private ways
With all that’s happened that day and since
I know how I struggle to find some peace
When so much never made any sense
But I know I’m not alone in all these emotions that I feel
The pain that still burns in my broken heart each year
I still cry
Is still real
So I still must pause this day every year
Each 11th of September
And look within and look to the Heavens and pray
Yes I pray
And (Remember.)

by Michelle Locke

Have you ever dreamed?
Have you ever wandered far?
Have you ever hoped?
Have you ever wished upon a star?

Sometimes it feels like
The magick’s gone away
Never to return.
But if you try you will find
The light inside forever burns!

Reach for that star-fire!
You know what you’ve got to do.
Go for that star-fire!
The light forever burns inside of you.

Deep in us there’s a place
Where angels fly through
Painted skies of rainbow dreams
And raindrop cries.

To turn the rain into the sun
And find your joy
Is number one.
Let go all fears n’ build self-esteem
You’ll find your truth in rainbow dreams.


“Senses Fail”
by Douglas Cala

Senses left to fend for themselves
When the mind goes mad
Spinning out of control with scatterbrained thoughts
First-line defenses freeze in blocks of ice encased
Unable to stand a chance against the onslaught
As electrical charges commit the mind to a lull
Electrocution of the stem aka the all important spot
Senses left to fend while the mind cant mend the damage
done daily by crafty humans
These are not organic natural disaster but motives of intent
Electroshock therapy for one
Removal of a critical area for two
With a scalpel or shock treatment
We cant pick the poison for it is already chosen
Attacking emotional instability
Where the mind is weak
Candle ousted
The meeting is adjourned, the discussion closed
To rest against the restless is deadly
Senses left to fend
When the mind is forced to pretend

“Our Mind's Hearts”
by Jeffrey Perry

Mental illness is not just an illness of the mind
But it is of the hearts.
Too many people are broken-hearted
By social, economic, and humanitarian problems
That we see, realizing that
In our heart we know
It could be rectified
There being more common sense and compassion.

Not being socially and politically influenced by
The ignorance,
Lacking the knowledge and the understanding for each other;
We refused to give in to the status quo of what our (normal)
Sanity is.
Taught and designed to serve for the greater good.

We as people must remain open with ever our deepest
Conviction to what is only real.

Because were not the Nazis wrong?
Is not the slave owner wrong?
And this world was never flat.

The heart and soul of civilization must be selective.
A view from all angles-
Even the insanities, are not wrong!
Just least tolerated!

1 in five Americans may have a mental illness during life.
You do not have to do what the voices say, (Please do not! You may not know that person!)
But know, you can question and always remember why they were there?
-In our mind's heart.

I Am
by Rebecca Vergara

Like a bird going mute.
Like a cat getting fixed.
Like the weirdest person on Earth getting hitched.
Like the lights going out.
Like the overflowing of a river dam
I’ll say, I am.
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