Emperor of All Maladies

(Again from ye olde blogge at 19)

And I wear this disease like a crown

I embrace my rot and whisper,

cruel gods, take these guts

string them amongst the stars

I’m the stuff of supernovas, after all.

To the abyss I’ll return.

What to do, when the body turns against you?

I’m sleepless tonight, like always

and my mind is a thousand nails

clawing at my brain…



Oh my God, I need you, I am wounded as a filet of mincemeat,

ground down on the wheel into bone meal, my soul shards, oh God,

please grant me mercy and serenity, for I am bleeding, open wounded!

Oh God, why the pain, why the hellfire, why the razors to flesh only to feel

like a live wire? What is your plan for me if I am but a vessel of agony? Please,

shine your light upon my wretched soul, for I am lost, razed by violence, and

I am a refugee of thorns, cast out into the wilderness of madness, into bedfellows

of the cursed, beds of blessed not welcome to my wicked ways. My mind is a sinner

on virtue of insane asylums, I nearly drove over the median into oncoming traffic –

I would have taken innocent lives just to end my suffering, it is so much to endure,

I was minutes away from taking a blade to my veins this morning, all because I stood

in the line of fire to protect the innocent and now I have whiplash for being martyred.


There is not much good in this world, and it is dying day by day, from synagogue to pipe bomb.


There is not much left of my garden, and I am a connoisseur of wine stains, from the dregs, where foul odors of tannins and fungus blossom.


At least in decay, I would hibernate, but no, I must endure.


There is not much fair in this world, and I would beget a monster if I ever had one.


Better to be barren. Better to be a slave with a coat hanger shoved into my womb, prying the unborn fetus of my sorrows out my cunt in rivers of wretchedness.


I am the midwife of nightmares, and God, my God, why hast thou forsaken your only daughter?


Beauty doesn’t equal happiness. Back when I was 120 pounds and classically “beautiful,” before my diagnosis, I was tormented inside and in agony almost every day, from suicide to anxiety to depression to mania to constant night terrors of being tortured in Hell. I made a pact with myself in high school to kill myself at 25. Fast forward to 19, and I am diagnosed with bipolar, OCD, and anxiety. I go on medication and go through a serious depression from the manic crash. Then I struggle with flat affect most of sophomore year. The weight piles on even though I exercise every day. 150. 170. 200. In the end, by Winter 2018, I had gained over 100 pounds due to medication and depressive episodes. I peaked at 235. Scary in a family that has diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. I was in a deep depression, but I committed to hope. The weight started coming off as I started hiking and eating low carb and cooking at home. 15 pounds lost. 20 pounds lost. Now, 35 pounds lost.

The catch? I would take the weight gain any day, even 100 pounds, to be happy. Medication makes me stable, able to do the things I love, able to be creative and be a prolific writer that finished a novel a year and writes boatloads of short stories and poetry, able to get straight As in one of the top programs for communication in the country, able to finally, almost 26, say I am literally the happiest I have ever been. I make humongous strides each and every year with my stability and high functioning success. I constantly push myself to improve, whether it’s doing academic research, publishing my first professional short story, cooking a new recipe, or learning something new. The weight, at the end of the day, is secondary. I’d rather be fat and happy then skinny and constantly trying to drown myself.

It’s not all roses though. I still struggle with mania and depression. Sometimes, suicide creeps up every few months. Sometimes, the intrusive thoughts and obsessions make my mind run rat races. I can be paralyzed by social anxiety or paranoid or break down from trauma I remembered and have a panic attack where I can’t breathe in a grocery store. In the hospital, they gave me this great piece of advice that is my mantra: “One day at a time.” I have suffered more mental anguish than most people will ever have to deal with in their lives. I am one of the most severe cases of bipolar a lot of my doctors have seen, from the psychosis to the hallucinations that sometimes creep up. When unstable, I struggle with delusions. And the weight is still something I have to watch, a lot. It takes concerted effort to lose weight, and I am 19 pounds away from my ultimate goal. I have to always be on top of things, working ahead so when my brain haywires I have room for cushions upon impact, going to teach 75 students that rely on me when I am psychotic or wildly suicidal or hallucinating. I have had violent hallucinations on business calls before at the tender age of 23, mistaken fiction for reality when my mania and psychosis acts up, but still I find faith in the gods (and God!) and spirits and ancestors instead of blaming divinity for my mental hell.

It never gets perfect, but it gets better. I just want everyone t know that is reading this and struggling, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It improves dramatically year by year, month by month, with ups and downs as life’s boat rocks you.

I wanted to die by 25. I would have killed myself by now if I hadn’t received therapy and meds. But now I have something I have rarely had before: hope.

I may not be as beautiful as I once was, but inside, I am blooming.

Always put your mental health first. Forget the haters.


I Came Out of the Woods By Choice

Driving down the highway to renew my Planet Fitness membership,
I was confronted by the whiplash of memories – there towering in
the distance was the castle of my captivity, Dominion Psychiatric,
where I was institutionalized by my will after setting fire to my
room, delusional and paranoid and hallucinating, casting spells with
trash, throwing all my belongings out the window to return them to
nature, I would have jumped if my mom hadn’t pulled me back from the
windowsill screaming, then I cycled through my personalities and became
Puck, speaking in rhyming Iambic pentameter, holding court for Oberon
as I was packed into an ambulance and buzzed away on tides of psychosis.
Committed to the psych ward, I was not allowed shoelaces, for I could
strangle myself on them, so all of us depressed and deluded chainsmoking
masses shuffled around in oversized hospital socks. Group therapy ensued,
I forged friendships with kindred souls, pagan wild and Arabian and Eastern
Orthodox and Buddhist monk trained by Japanese masters to paint cherry
blossom trees alike. Sometimes the madness (there was always madness
in a mental ward) would grip a 6’5 built like a brick man and he would try
to snap my neck, and the hospital staff would call security and we would
be on lockdown as the ape of a violent manic tried to kill us, the lumbering
security guards would taser this victim of a cruel mind and wrestle him to
the ground and into a straitjacket, I was not myself, I thought my parents
demons from Hell and the nurses angels, check under your tongue to see if
you swallowed the pills, they had been pumping me full of poisonous meds to
my disorder for a month, I hallucinated as a waitstaff at a wedding, I almost
electrocuted myself playing with wires, trying to send messages to God by
a volt box, in the asylum, I had to learn how to human again, I stayed in there
over a month, my parents would bring me Subway sandwiches and I would rail
incoherently about my delusions and the voices and demons I saw. At night,
I dreamt of a valley of blood and flesh, and I climbed the spine of a hellish
giant and went into a castle of putrid pinions of rotting necrosis, I swam in
maggots, I was rotting away, my brain on fire. My brain is always on fire.
The diagnosis came in two days from my saint of a psychiatrist who is the reason
I am still alive today: bipolar type 1 with psychotic tendencies, anxiety, OCD.
Unlike most patients that resist, I accepted this, for I was still high off my
own brain, speaking in tongues, swimming through the dark night of the soul.
Every day since has been a clawing back to sanity, sanity I have never known.
When you run insane through life for nineteen years only to crash into the pit
there is no return to innocence, not that my diseases ever left me an innocent.
Wash it away in blood and wine, wash it away in standing back from the subway
train so you don’t jump, hide all the razors, lock the knife drawers, bite down
to guard your tongue from gnashing teeth, have the urge to cut off your toes
and gouge out your eyes, you’re afraid of pencils now, sometimes you think of
biting into the flesh of eyeballs and eating someone, other times there is this
profane, unholy voice in your head of intrusive thoughts, committing and saying
unspeakable atrocities, fuck, I should be able to renew a fucking Planet Fitness
membership without being subject to these recollections, there is so much pain
in this world, in my soul, and I am weary, and I am battered and a wreckage of
what I once was, what I never was, that golden idol of a girl. That witch who
would drag men to the woods to devour them and divine with their entrails. There
is no escape from memory, that beast of time and sensation, but we are nothing
without our histories, and mine is tarred and feather, set alight and pushed off
a cliff, the fool plunging, there is nothing left to tell, just that, I survived.

I survived.

It’s All A Mindfuck

There’s blood and bandages in the prison cell, swirling ruby sparks and filth where rats feast.  Through the cell window the moon cuts the night until it howls in pain, and you’re chained to the wall, shackles on your neck and limbs, and you’re done up in linen bandages like a corpse, gore and claret red clinging to your bindings.  I stand outside the gate with an oil lamp, meeting the Devil at midnight to raise the dead.  You are writhing and roaring, the poisonous zuhama that flows through your veins a raging fire of wine.  Lanterns leak oily light of goblin green-white fire onto the cell walls, all granite and smeared with ichor, and you are speaking in tongues demonic and dreadful.  I take out a corpse key and unlock the door, and the floor is slick with your stains.  Your Cabernet eyes simmer like a witch on a pyre, and as I approach, I take a twisted delight in your suffering.  This is where you belong, caged in my mind, lunatic mad, my beast, my delightful toy.  We take turns tying each other up in bear traps and guillotines and rusty iron bindings, we are each other’s sacrifice, and whore ourselves out for the quickest fix.  Isn’t that how it is with demons?  As you are prowling, growling, licking your wounds with a tongue that would drive saints to sin (don’t you know the Devil gives the best head, I mean come on, look at how he sings), I sit cross legged and hold a staring contest with your mercurial acid pupils.  I flick my fingers through your blood pooled beneath me and my white cloak and white gown are stained.  I take out a pen and bid you near me, and then I write out the names of God on your soiled bandages, and you are shivering and crying, and I am triumphant over Satan.  There’s your wreckage of a heart, embodied in the form of a girl, and a weeping black void that holds the keys to eternity in your chest.  You are too far gone, eyes swirling with insanity, and you tear off my clothes as I raze my nails down your back and pick at your wounds.  We are bleeding together, the razors our hands, and we kiss with coppery mouths as we bite at each other’s lips.

To know God is to eat God, but at the end of the day, it’s you dead with your demons, in your own Hell for eternity, so why not make it fun?


Immaculate Heart of the Bleeding Briar

Hosanna, I whisper through bloody lips, I got pummeled
by the riptide of my sorrow again, sweet Rabboni, and
you are far away in some Heavenly Throne, down on earth,
it is cold, and midnight comes to Galilee, with the moon
like a sickle for separating the faithful from the chaff.
Can you hear me, sweet Yeshua? Up there in your starry
abode. I bathed in lavender and myrrh, and Joseph’s coat
of dreams carried my prayers in technicolor up to your
tender hands and rose garden of desires, what obedience
to the ways and means of nature, to hang suspended on a
crossroads between Heaven and Hell, I know well, Satan
calls me whore, but sweet Christ, I would leave all the
ravishings and depravity just to receive your mark on my
scarred brow, I have many bruises and burns these days,
being the forgotten disciple means they paint me wanton
and demonize your Magdalene, Watchtower of God, Zophael,
Watchman of El, I was always a spy, anyways, of swiftest
wing, and they got our story wrong, oh Who is Like God?

No one but You, Immaculate Heart of the Bleeding Rose.

And Then There Was One

I write from the vantage point of pain, so I can

chart my way back to the sweet land of living.

These crisscross scars are trail tracks to Heaven.

These raised brands signposts on Highway Hell.

Hitch a ride in hobo code on my neural pathway,

up the trunk of my spine from my womb to tomb.

For my brain is a graveyard blooming with life.

There are flowers neath these headstone shadows.

And for each idea that dies, every spark gone out.

The wind rustles coals and collies a new flame.

Heaven, Hell, Death, Birth – those are just masks

over the truth of Love, the truth of Kindness, so

fill my cup with wine, check my passport, I am

boarding a plane to Paradise, and one was left



Dancing in Ruins

Nineteen year old in white lace and satin gloves,
choking her own throat to bruise blossom hurricane –
the spiral twister comes from her screams, lifting
cattle and dead wood up in her agony, she clenches
her esophagus in a dead vice grip, starved of air,
because mental wards and curses of psychosis are raw
after a half-dozen years of black roses. I offer her
flowers, daisies and daffodils, and she smiles, lets
go of the death hold on her throat, the black rot on
her heart is kintsugi gold, shattered but now whole,
and her forefather weeps at her freedom, breaking
his ribs open to make her his Eve in pooled reflections
of puddles, lives pass, deaths come, births go, but
the girl is nine now, alone in a haunted movie theater,
and horror reels play on the screen, the Devil is in
a bowler hat and has red gall eyes – I bring light into
the darkness, promise her she will heal, and nine year
follows nineteen into flowering fields and forest ripe
with deer and rabbits, spring blossoms in golden curls,
and quarter century, nineteen, and nine dance in ruins.

From those ruins rises a phoenix of hope, and love heals.