Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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Tis the season to be poetic and creative and healthy and happy and at peace with one's
self! May 2006 be the best year yet!
Our featured poet is Christina Bruni, whose humorous takes on life have graced the pages
of New York City Voices through her Bruni in the City columns. Christina works full-time
as a public service librarian and part-time as a freelance writer. She's writing a memoir
about her experiences in recovery. She likes to write poetry because it distills events into
lyrics and images that are colorful and evocative. As a librarian, she is a fan of YA or teen
books that are written in poetic form.

Title: Celebration
By Christina Bruni
You who have lived through a thousand wars
Join me tonight on the D train
Let's ride together into Brooklyn
The borough of our humanity
I won an award this evening
For my dedication, assistance and creativity
In making New York City Voices
A powerful tool for hope, healing
And recovery in the mental health community
I wore a plum velvet dress and pearls
Black suede ballet flats, pearl earrings
When my time came to accept
I thanked everyone in the room
For sharing in my moment
As I returned to my seat a woman said
"And you're pretty too."
I have lived through a thousand wars
Been beaten down by schizophrenia
The tragic, beautiful unworking of my mind
That led to triumph and redemption
Through volunteer work, journalism
And my job as a public service librarian
You who have been there
Know that I've been there too
Inside this fluttery dress I've been a mess
Imprisoned in my thoughts
Paranoid with odd beliefs
I wore theater makeup to breakup
I used to want to be dramatic
Like the tall, glamorous women I knew
I suffered inside my skin
Hating myself for every inch of bone
Not now, not ever again
Tonight I was beautiful
I clutched my award
And the colorful artwork
Created by a Rita Project member
I turned it straight up
Instead of sideways
It looks like a flower
A "fleur de life"
Yellow bursting into orange
Flames of green and fuchsia stalks
The kind of happiness that can only
Be contained inside a free mind
As I walked to the subway
The night was the color of rain
A cab slowed down
I confidently crossed the street

Title: Pulled Over on the Road, Speeding Towards 40
By Christina Bruni
It was a dream and I was awake, pulled over by two female cops on the road.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Show us your license, please."
I took it out of my wallet and gave it to them.
"It says you were born in 1965."
"Yes, that's right."
"Can't be, you look like you're 28."
"No, no, I'm 40."
"Okay then, we're going to have to read you your rights."
"What have I done? What's the crime?"
"You're carrying around a bunch of fears, insecurities, and doubts."
"It is illegal to turn forty and think you're too old, too fat, or not attractive."
"It is illegal to turn forty and worry about being alone for the rest of your life."
"It is illegal to hold onto a memory from your past that is painful and guilt-ridden."
"It is illegal to drop what you're doing to do something for someone else every time another person asks."
"It is illegal not to dream."
"It is illegal to let fear stop you from doing something."
"Wait a minute: is it illegal to apply mascara in the rear-view mirror during a traffic jam?"
"No, that's not illegal, just dangerous."
"But ma'am?"
"It's still absolutely illegal to wear blue eye shadow."
"And ma'am, before you go?"
"We have to read you your rights."
You have the right to say no.
You have the right to sing in the shower.
You have the right to sing in other people's showers.
You have the right to be loud.
You have the right to be ornery.
You have the right to wake up at 10 a.m. on a Sunday and not get out of bed until noon.
You have the right to eat a chocolate bar for dinner when you get your period.
You have the right to sunbathe at night.
You have the right to forget your ex's name when you meet him on the street.
You have the right to own a cat.
"And ma'am?"
"One thing: you don't have the right to wear plaid and floral at the same time."
"Okay. Anything else?"
"You have a broken tail light-better get it fixed."
"Thank you."
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