Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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Happy Spring -- what a great time for poetry! This issue features two accomplished and talented ladies, whose evocative and heart-rending poems will leave you breathless.

Elizabeth Lyulkin is a published poet and a produced playwright. She has worked as a stage manager and assistant stage designer off-off Broadway. She is currently producing a project for New York's Prayer Channel and hopes to produce documentaries and talk shows.

Lorre Mendelson is CEO of en-Lightning Consulting, located in the San Francisco Bay area. She is a disability advocate, national presenter, poet and political activist. She has been published in the U.S. and Canada.


Untitled

By Elizabeth Lyulkin

Don't call me a butterfly.
A butterfly cannot flutter
At the very edge of the flame
without getting burned.

I can.

Don't call me a wild flower.
A wild flower doesn't grow
In a place totally devoid of sunlight,
In this airless, arid place.

I do.

Don't call me a river.
A river wouldn't think of going
Over the wire studded wall at night
For a hungry breath of air.

I would.


Questions

By Elizabeth Lyulkin

What do you think of
When you look at me?
Do you think of me
As a person struggling
Not to succumb to the night
Or as a drooling infant
Incapable of speech?
When you are confronted
With the likes of me
Do you think "broken"
or "defective"?


What If

By Elizabeth Lyulkin

What if
There were no words for "pain"?
What if there were no words for "shame"?
or "isolation"?
No words for "suicide", "crib death"
and "AIDS"?
No words defining mental anguish?
No words describing killing
A twelve-year-old kid
For a vial of crack?
What if
There were no words for "rape"
or "revenge"?
Would there have been any need
for "God"?


Media Images

By Lorre Mendelson

Sticks and stones may break my bones
Please momma; don't hit me again...
But names
Vietnam Vet suffering shell shock takes hostages...
Will
Schizophrenic, ex-mental patient arrested...
Never
Weird behavior observed in manic depressive...
Hurt
OCD and bizarre behaviors...
me.


What It Is

By Lorre Mendelson

They call this depression
It's so dark in here
How can anyone see where the depression is?


Night

By Lorre Mendelson

I cried out in the night
With pleading eyes and a silent tongue.
Please help me, my thoughts beseeched you.
Your silence was deafening and I could no longer hear.
I died in 1964 when first he touched my open heart and broke my soul.
I fled in 1967 when your disbelief cast my spirit wandering.
Separated from all others -- I had no kind.
1996: My spirit and body met this year -- tentatively, trembling with uncertainty,
Quilted by pieces of kindness, compassion, sugar, clarity, and Honey, lots of good drugs.
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