I presented at Junie’s dream of developing a center of the healing arts in Victoria for people suffering from mental disorders. I also served on a panel to discuss the healing power of poetry. It was a very encouraging night in many ways and I urge you to check with Junie if you wish to contribute or assist through your gifts and talents (please contact: https://junieswadron.com/). It also reminded me of the need to believe in what I do and the power of poetry that comes from inspiration and caring.I have made contact with a person from The Connection Project for people with Bi-Polar disorder and have made tentative plans for her to join us here in the Comox Valley for a  Poetry with Purpose Presentation night in October to focus on the unique challenges of people with this disorder.

           During my presentation, a recited a series of poems on Borderline Personality Disorder that I had written for my book “The Room”. Below are two of poems that really resonated with the people who were there who have faced the specter of death through suicide. The first is on the feelings of ultimate despair and the second is the decision not just to live but to really live.  For those of us who have come to our moment of decision, it is important to remember that we are bigger and stronger than these disorders that threaten to destroy us. 

         I had a feeling of extreme emptiness, but it was a different kind of emptiness. My honesty had exposed another truth. My so called false life was perhaps the only true thing about myself. I now accepted the real me. I no longer had a false persona and a false life. I no longer felt any shame. But my new world, my new reality, was colorless and empty without anyone to love, without anyone to love me.  Really what was there left in my life worth living for? Some days the answer was, “Nothing”.

 

Death Senses

 

This is what death look like:
The death colors of brown and black,
The dark shadows under the eyes,
The pale dullness of sunken cheeks,
An unshaven face on slumped shoulders.

This is the sound of death:
A voice without substance,
Sobs echoing in an empty chamber,
The groaning of the soul bearing its great burden
Of having loved and lost and lost all that it has loved.

This is the smell of death:
Gagging on the rotten remains of yesterday,
The stench of decay surrounding the soul,
The scent of embarrassment emitting from friends,
Everything around the dying body reeking with guilt.

 This is the taste of death:
Unable to eat the fruit of life,
Having received nothing solid to eat,
Dining only on grandiose schemes and erotic pleasures,
The body has slowly lost the fiber of its humanity.

This is the feeling of death:
Crushing guilt falling daily, a rockslide of pain,
Stumbling stones placed in my path,
Living through daily death without dying,
And fading under the weight of suffocating loss.

 

 And in every tragic play the hero dies. I was suicidal. One evening as I danced around my living room with thoughts of driving my beloved Lincoln Sport into the concrete wall that I passed each evening on my way home from work (one last chance to redeem myself and leave an insurance policy as a legacy), I made a decision to try to live, not just to live, but to really live.

 

Dance with Death

And having given all,
Having left nothing in the arena,
I stand exhausted, panting for breath,
Waiting for my heart to stop,
Letting my struggling mind slip into unconsciousness,
Releasing my tortured soul to give up its will to survive.

Having only the desire to stand up one last time,
I dance the dance of the dying.
I reject the rhythm of the unknown drummer;
I reject the solitude and the silence of the dark;
I refuse to close my mind to its fear and striving;
I refuse to seal up my soul and run away and hide;
I choose to dance the dance of my own soul;
I choose to let my feet flow
With the rhythm of my own music.

The dance comes on the wings of violence.
It begins with the girding up of loins,
By taking up the sword of truth,
By facing the monsters of the mind,
Matching blow for blow, breath for breath,
Smashing Disillusionment, laughing at Fear,
Meeting Self-Hatred with righteous anger,
Disarming the Black Knight of Nothingness.

Then the dance seeks its own rhythm.
There, in the moment of defeat and surrender,
I dance, and I dance, and I dance,
To the rhythm of the beating of my heart;
There, in the moment of defeat and surrender,
I dance and I dance,
Moving my feet to the eternal beat,
That guides my soul along the golden path of life.