“You’re…” EEEEEK! uh…
Mammograms are the only day
when it doesn’t suck to be moi
I take ‘em out, I flop ‘em on
the glass, and they squish like foi gras
Then came two voice mails
on the same choice day
from the same office.
And suddenly my world morphed
from “as controlled as possible with meds”
to head-spinning dread, fed by
one freakin’ phone call.
All I must do is careen
back to the scene of the crime,
primed sans deodorant and scent,
rank with my own odor and fear.
It may be one mammo;
it may need more ammo.
a big needle thrust
to left of my bust.
“They’ll take the sample
with ample drama, mama,
and a big-ass needle, so
close your eyes and tell them
you have PTSD,” my beloved
survivor friend says.
“Then set phasers on STUN -it sounds
like a staple gun or Pac-Man as it
chomps in search of tissue.
Make them issue enough painkillers
to knock out a horse.”
“Of course,” I reply,
she laughs, knowing I
am immune to OTCs*
thanks to the 70’s…
…during which I imbibed
enough pharmaceuticals to
peel the cuticles off
a gorilla’s thumbnails.
It’s this Wednesday, folks,
please pray it’s a hoax,
and Old Leftie is “clean,”
if you know what I mean.
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
* OTCs are “over the counter” drugs like Advil, Tylenol, and aspirin. I could take a whole bottle for a headache and it would do nothing for the pain… but the Advil would trash my liver!
Sunday Scribblings asked us to come up with a poem about a “Eureka moment.” This is the down side of that concept, and we’re hoping and praying it has a happy ending! Will keep you posted. Also at the one office where nothing ever hurts… Poets United! Peace, Amy
This happened long ago and far away, but the memory still stings. Mental health consumers, take note. Amy
Dark Place In An Old-Time Church
Once upon a time, I, Sunday School teacher and wife of the preacher
asked for prayers for my falling, frail state of
misdiagnosed psychiatric overdose.
What a head-first dive into the greasy gruel of the gossip pool.
Mental illness was whispered there with vague disgust.
These were tough folks, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”
Could spare no time for a mental lapse
Manic = panic = Someone Else’s Family
Treat diabetes with insulin
No reason my skin should’ve been thought thin
Imbalance of a chemical nature, a different nomenclature
My bootstraps are still pharmaceutical
Incidental mental quirks, deep emotion runs
through my family like Drano through pipes
creative, self-deprecating, frustrating, flustered
mermaids – hilarious but precariously perched on the rocks
It was no a sin, this place I was in,
and not theirs to judge,
for as they whispered uneducated superstitions behind me back,
they were also mocking Jesus’ message of love
I sing praise to the God who has seen me at my lowest and pulled me higher.
While I was wrapped in darkness
God lit the fire, showed me the light, and
got me from uptight to upright
They stared as I took my fall;
I scared them all, even as I forgave them in my heart.
Upright eventually, but when would I fall again?
And then – when would I mend?
© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Also posted at my poetic home, Poets United.
Johann Ink and I were comparing notes on psychiatry today; much of this poem is derived directly from our three-hour conversation. Johann is a budding poet; we are both what is genially called in our society, “mental health consumers” (in other words, we’re both nuckin’ futs!). If you’ve never had the joy, the incredible honor, of being granted a meeting with a real live board-certified psychiatrist… consider yourself fortunate! Amy
(PS This poem also appears at Writer’s Island for NaPoWriMo 12.)
New Shrink Rap
(from a conversation with Johann Ink)
I’m checking in with my new shrink
society having granted me leave
from my sleeve-silky cubicle (AKA “acting normal”)
Now I sit in a leather chair so large
my feet dangle like Edith Ann
Doc is regally ensconced behind
an impressive antique desk
Drawers full of free pens from drug reps
Myriad diplomas staring me down
and sneering, “We’re smarter than you”
He’s new, at least to me, and eager
to change what my last psychiatrist did
He’s ready to rearrange my brain plane
because he has sample of a new drug
(They tested it on lab rats, so, hey, it must of OK for me)
I state flatly, “I want to maintain my current regimen”
He stiffens, doesn’t care to listen even thoug
I’ve been to the brink and back
(while he’s just read about it a whole lot)
Experience vs. experiments: The Great Battle of Which
“Man,” I itch to say,
“if you want to pimp for Big Pharma,
why not go all the way? Get yourself a solid gold chain
and maybe a diamond in your front tooth…
or don’t monster tires and hydraulics work on a Corvette?”
© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
No prompts today… just some thoughts. Hope they help you find your “safe place.” Amy
When the dentist’s drill begins shrill keening
in my latest in a series of root canals
When the physical therapist says, “This
might hurt a little”
When the Red Cross phlebotomist
tries to mine my blood, missing the vein
or my legs are in stirrups, awaiting
the pinch of the Pap
I go to my island
The passport is breath
often deeeeeep breath
and I though I am prone
it’s on a bed of warm sand
Relaxed by water lapping my toes
on the shore of an endless beach
Every breath is music
Every moment is relief
© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil