incantation (Gleaning the Truth/Torching the Rest) by Jacquese Armstrong

stark and barren used to upset me
i knew how they felt standing naked
before a mocking world waiting for a season
to cover the indiscretions of their youth

but they like all living things
repair in time
they are my sisters

disrupting the narrative injected in a
psychosis-filled teenage mind
having no defense but an isolation
that turned its blaring volume
on a blooming black orchid planted in fertile soil/
until it withered.

then hellhounds picked up my scent in a forest of nothingness
a labyrinth of undetermined proportions and i said
keep going
keep going
keep going all my life
movin blind unlike the justice that created me
all my life movin
following the leader—me or them

but now reclaiming my narrative.

i am a bird black of
enormous wingspan soaring
to the heavens then barely caressing the ground
but just returned to greet the grays of earned degree

there are discarded souls in this world
i am one
we exist on the periphery/our light is imagined
yours sanctioned

and reality is just the median on a bell-shaped curve
our age buys a ticket to some
to slowly rock our chairs as if
the brain’s creative soil
produces no kaleidoscope gardens past 50

your mind contained shards of glass
in your 20s and the light hits at the right angles
decades later/there will be a stained-glass window
effect that produces a foresight unparalleled by
seemingly unfragmented material/and
moments of cinematic awe.)

got up early this morning
no particular place to go
tired of surviving on ill-advised cookie cutter
psychological philosophies

the storms i’ve survived will succumb in time
the rain resurrects the curl patterns in my hair
exposing new growth
so too could a rain resurrect the original patterns of spirit

a healing is what i’m approaching.

i’m speaking life over myself.
i’m reclaiming my narrative.

This is my incantation.


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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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