Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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By Janice Moreno
a smile from your promising lips
enough to soften
the hard, coarse crust of
my anger
a touch from your patient hand
enough to soothe
the soft, tender, flaming flesh of
my shame
an embrace from your trusting arms
enough to bend
the straight, rigid rod of
my pain
a glance from your understanding eyes
enough to cleanse the gray, murky vision of
my fear
a kiss from your caring lips
enough to clear
the blocking dam of
my frustration
a sweet dream
enough to make me want to
to live.

Breakfast Table Conversations
By Janice Moreno
C H A T T E R B O X,
the letters spelled
across my shirt that day
in a picture taken before the time
I actually had something to say.
The tongue I used to speak with
isn't working well enough these days.
The words it forms don't seem to fit
in the drums your ears have made.
I ate my thoughts for breakfast.
I drank my feelings black and straight.
I finally tried to let you in, because I
thought you might want to know,
but you turned the other way, disgraced,
from the regurgitation smell.

By Janice Moreno
I refuse
the chance
to nominate
another invite to a loss.
And I will not tolerate another fantasy.
Taut with thought I meet
Aborted themes
Erratic, Schematic, and
This incriminating logic leave disease;
Reality rejects its own imagery.
The stillness of paintings,
A promise of redemption to a chance,
(but) to grab the Golden Ring
presents replacement
and with brass.

Depression, 1990
By Alice Morris
Depression has color.
Or rather, non-color.
Something between beige and gray .
A kind of emotional colorlessness.
A yellowish-gray fog rolling in, making things seem remote,
Once, off the coast of Maine, I heard a foghorn calling through
the fog.
So, voices call to me through my depression: far away, muffled,
Depression is a state of non-being.
Like the fog it blots things out, destroys parameters, eliminates
It hides the terrain of myself: who am I? do I exist? where am I?
Depression makes me lose myself.
I lose my way in the fog of depression.
Like the Ferryman, off the coast of Maine, struggling through
the fog.
One question: who will be my foghorn?

(this poem is about surviving a mental institution)
By Tina Minkowitz
You had not forgotten who you were that time
when they took you like a piece of raw meat wrestled to the ground
hung up in Ereshkigal's castle underground
when they bound you stripped you of skin hair eyes
raw like a potato wet and clean
scarred and dirty
pink flesh rotten with flies
when they took you like a lost angel free in flight
(so the romantic vision gave you)
and shot you to hell with pain
when they looked at you like a clean slate
when they made you beg for more to ease the pain
when they corrupted you by telling you there was no choice
when your vision went black with no choice
no choice to accept their pain or fight and receive more pain
no choice, no choice
something was changed that day
But you held quiet inside you the seed or the hope
of the seed
did you wait your whole life for it to burst into flame?

Bounced Back Blues
By Christina Bruni
something inside
saves me my
brain's been kicked
onto the floor.
something inside
soothes me
from the rough edges
saves me
from the window ledges.
inside me
pulls me through the
darkness, I am
searching with my eyes
closed as if
inside a haunted house
or on an amusement ride.
guides me.
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