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by Jessica Harman

Schizophrenia: The Snake And The Tree


I don't know what to say about it
when I try to think of words that other
people haven't told me: hallucination,

delusion, a preoccupation with overly symbolic
imagery. Naming animals in the office cool
with the smell of dark wood, I said "snake."

Then they had me naming fruit, and I said "apple."
They can tell who you are from simple
clues like this. A snake wrapped around the tree

of thought, of lust, the branch heavy with the early
breath of the world. If I can get back to that,
and solve the problem at its root, maybe

my mind won't fall. The vertigo latches onto
dreams, bringing me down to the dust,
just a handful of dust ghastly with infinity.

Stars swirl in the parts of things, though light
is scarce. Go on, go on talking about the darkness
until the light goes on.


I have decided not to hide anymore. But what
to say to get the horror through, and then what
do we do when you understand the horror?

The world goes on walking through space
into light, without me, while I dream
of insects fashioning themselves into jewels

inside my tears. I cannot weep without the buzzing
of their wings going, which makes me think
of their wild iridescence that has become their

weird tyranny over me. But what I want to talk
about is hope. You have condemned me before
my time. I have not done anything but keep hoping

that the sun will finally speak my name, and stop
burning me in its shell shocked core luminous
with the other side of sleep. I keep my poems

as evidence that I want to plunge relentlessly into
the heart of everything, and solve it perfectly.
You do not have to tell me this is madness.


The Earth is always falling
around its falling myths, and there we go

again. Around and around in racing thoughts,
we tumble together, clashing, marking
our dreams for success, and I have sensitized

myself to the ways we make meaning.
I have tried to intuit grammar with my seismographic
fingertips, like now, reading the vibrations.

I channel music, those real inventions
of song, and call it a type of wisdom
of the emotions, which I am gaining

as if it were a cheap thrill. But I must not get down
on myself for my attempt. Keep a positive attitude,
though that can burst one open, too. I am burst open,

a poem of pomegranates, of busted-up myths.


Copyright 2008 by Jessica Harman

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