Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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This marks the second New York City Voices' welcome to the poetry of Barbara J. Gewirtz. Barbara enjoys "crafting" with poetry, watercolors, pastels and fabric collage.
She enjoys the spirit and practice of Seido karate. Her poem "Willowy" was published in spring 2002's Healing Nature issue of the Nature in Legend & Story newsletter and, by the time you read this column, she will have been published in…The New York Times!!!
In addition, Robert Reilly, a 57-year-old poet from Staten Island, continues to produce poetry from the unique grounds of South Beach Psychiatric Center where wild turkeys and geese are frequently seen foraging for food. Mr. Reilly thankfully prefers to write about subjects other than the wild turkeys and geese.

MY VOICES
By Barbara J. Gewirtz

My voices seem more like a foursome
So very quarrelsome
And also loathsome
This auditory syndrome
Is truly unwelcome
Always gruesome
Never winsome or wholesome
But bothersome and burdensome
Causing life to be fearsome and tiresome
And also so lonesome

ONCE UPON A TIME
By Barbara J. Gewirtz

Once upon a time there lived a young girl
In her very scraggly handwriting
and with the intense courage that it took,
she detailed her history of bruises and abuses
in the inner cover of one school book.

If just one educator had seen his or her role
to act upon the urgent cries written from deep
within her soul
and recognize her call for help apart from all the rest
she might have been spared the hands of those
who said they loved her best.

School books are replaceable,
and perhaps easily displaced
but the psychic pain of school children
is not so easily erased.

Since hidden pain like a quiet malignancy may grow
and in her early years, emotional gravity often may not show
once upon a time, that day,
a volcanic eruption was staged for latter adult play.

Today another child's shaken handwriting is sadly there to see
And educators can help heal the hurt, but awareness is the key
There must rise a call for zero-tolerance for bruises and abuses.
A single child's call is one too many to ignore.

FORCES
By Barbara J. Gewirtz

I'm underground a world of forces
I'm fishing through a sea of pills
Some oblong yellow, some round and pink
Some take, others give
Shall we seek one more from the sea?
Will it exacerbate my current symptoms?
Psychosis
Dream a little dream with me.
Dissociation
Wake me up from these shadows
of distorted faces.
Shake me up from the shadows
of memories that lurk within.
Depression
Lie close by as my cold hands cover my face.
Don't leave me, as your warm hands
cup my tears.
Early Parkinsons vs. my multitude of medications
Balance me that I may think clearly and that my
symptoms may dissipate.
Balance me that I may not fall as I climb out
of the underworld.

FORETOLD
By Barbara J. Gewirtz

I dream in black and white and shades of grey
No colorful horizon or bright green pastures
Instead, grey skies, black clouds and a dark moon
No brilliant sun casts its shine
Stars are dim
Passers-by clothed glum
Walking about ho-hum
I dream in black and white
White oceans, devoid of luminous blue color
Petals pallid, leaves pale
Rain-soaked, no rainbow there
I awake with black, white and grey
foretelling my day

SUGGESTIONS
By Barbara J. Gewirtz

"Wipe that smile off of your face!"
That was the suggestion directed to me.
Sometimes the best I could do
was to change a smile into a smirk.
Smirks were just as costly as smiles.
They each ended with tears.
Today, people suggest…
just do it,
shower so you will be done with it,
clean the dishes so you don't scrounge
for a glass,
do your banking so you will know what
you owe, and
pack your lunch ahead so you won't
be late.
All good and well-meaning suggestions,
but these are quick-fix answers when
I am depressed.
These are intentions from an imaginary
sprayer bottle used to wipe out stains,
or whatever.
The same sprayer bottle I used to think
of using to wipe off my smile.

FRIENDS AND SOULMATES
By Robert V. Reilly

There have been special people
Who proved beyond a doubt
They will always stand by me
And never turn me out

They have a special virtue
They share wholeheartedly
They give themselves completely
At no charge or fee

Although all family members
Were kind exceedingly
My friends accept me as I am
By choice and not decree

I love my friends completely
For teaching me this law:
To love my God as He loves me
At one with life's true Source
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