Tonight, as my heart
may or may not be failing me,
as the wind is blowing
my papers all over the place,
I have stayed true
to my desire.
I can’t tell anymore
whether schizophrenia causes pain
or pain causes schizophrenia
and now it doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters
is what word I use
and the medical discourse
that aims to erase it.
It could have been my dad yelling
or my mother’s innuendo
or my reading of the Old Testament
that made me think
my old buddy Red was mad at me.
The miracle is that I do not care.
It’s funny to get off the elevator
and slightly turn my head
that someone’s already
pushing the close door button.
Parkview Place Eclogue
Cursed from the start, I signed
the papers at Parkview Place
and took my seat in the smoking area
among the damaged.
A well-dressed and good-looking newscaster
I’d gone to high school with
came up and started questioning me.
“What happened to you? Are you on medicine?”
“Sure, I take a lot of meds.”
“What do you take them for?”
“Well, I’ve got schizophrenia.”
“I’ve never known you to act schizophrenic.”
“That’s because I take the meds, dude.”
I never really found out why he was
there. And when I told my nurse
about the conversation she said I ought
never tell anyone about my diagnosis.
And soon I got cheerful. I’m constantly aware
and there’s an anhedonia and everyday stress
that no one sees but I think I’m doing good work.
Just yesterday at Wendy’s
a girl in the back whispered my name.
Matthew Freeman holds an MFA from the University of Missouri—St Louis and heads a writers group at the Independence Center. Coffeetown Press will soon be publishing his latest book Ideas of Reference at Jesuit Hall. He is also a songwriter.