Jesus Christ, this poem. I don’t know where to start.
I wrote ‘Long Road to Recovery’ on 10 November 2012, the day after I signed myself out of the mental hospital. I admitted myself after a severe cutting episode/mental breakdown type thing and stayed in for three days. I’d just been handed a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and a prescription for an anti-depressant that put me above the clouds for a little while.
Wanna know what inspired this poem? The grime between the shower tiles in my old dorm bathroom. Yes, something that gross inspired this…which is equally as gross, in my eyes. I was still in that stage of trying to be edgy and failing badly, which explains the spacing between the letters. Ugh, God, what was I thinking?
But I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly, was I? I was in that deceptive haze of being in love with life again after a suicide scare. My survival instincts were hypersensitive, on top of the experience of taking a controlled medicine daily for the very first time. Up to this point, the only thing I’d ever had a prescription for was antibiotics, so of course this pill screwed with my already wonky brain chemistry.
I can hardly stand to look at this poem now, but I remember being so proud of it that day. It felt so good to create something after I thought I might never see the light of day again. It’s overwritten, it’s full of clichés, it tries too hard, but I’m sharing it with you because this is how I felt that day. I felt different; I felt edgy; I felt alive.
I’ve never written another poem quite like this, apart from the other poem I wrote right after I got out of the hospital. I’m convinced it was due to the medicine, which I stopped taking about three months after that. But I’ve got something to show for that experience. I can look at this and remember exactly how I felt tracing the spaces between the shower tiles, crying into the water stream, just thankful that I was still alive.
Had I written this poem according to conventional ‘rules’, I would have lost the weirdness that this poem has – and that’s something I never want to lose. If that means that it’s terrible and all over the place, so be it. That’s how I felt at the time, so why shouldn’t it be?
That’s it for this week – next week’s poem, ‘jumper poem’, is a little more inventive than it sounds.