And from where I stand…
A fraction of time spent in innocence,
we spend in wonder of ourselves.
In beliefs instilled to haunt us,
we break at the bonds that hold us.
From distant lands of imagination,
the world spins by unnoticed,
until the spiral tightens,
and we are faced with our own creation.
From there we see the future
and know the absence and longing.
Taken from our dreams of youth,
we advance toward uncertainties.
We understand the walls we will climb,
the fences that will block our way,
and the windows with bars;
in knowing we move on.
In the enclosure of our dreams,
our futures are limitless.
The day we spend in reality,
is taken over by the night of the imagination.
Our faces jammed at the surface,
we are lost in helium spheres.
Our youth gave us strength,
and our aging fear.
In our dying we discover our living.
And than it is over and just begun.
Friday, September 12th, 1997
Paul had another breakdown a couple of days ago. I know we were all expecting it the last couple weeks. Well, expecting it, hoping we were wrong. Paul’s called here I think 20x since we got him in the hospital Wednesday.
The “we” was my ex and I and all Paul’s good friends. It had consumed by this point almost 3 years of our lives. All of us. It started one day when he had been up all night and landed at my door in the morning. We had all known that Paul’s Mom was Bipolar, however, until that day I never really understood what that meant. Paul’s version was always a stand-up routine, devoid of the anguish and worry. Paul’s humour was his coping mechanism. He was always the life of the party and the centre of attention. He once had my Dad laughing so hard I thought he was going to pee his pants. Now imagine if you will a black guy telling Jeff Foxworthy jokes in the kitchen of a guy born in one of the most racist regions of the south. It was a riot.
It was approximately a year or so after that night that Paul had his first breakdown. My parents loved Paul, my sister loved Paul. We still do. We miss him.
Tuesday, September 16th, 1997
Paul was released Saturday and is now back as manic as he was Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. We’ve decided that there is nothing anyone can do for him until he is back in hospital and actively seeking help. He is now been told by quite a few friends he is not to contact them in any way UNTIL he is seeking help. We’ve all talked to him about this not taking his meds.
I remember the first time Paul was in hospital one of the nurses approaching my ex and I and discussing the future – this would have been maybe October 1994-95. She explained to us that she had worked there a long time and had known his Mom. Also, she told us that there may come a day when you have to turn your back on him. This was back at the Old Vic in London, again, 7th floor Psych ward. I swear it is no wonder that place gives me the creeps. At the time I didn’t believe her, thought “NO WAY”. Em.
A door you cannot open
A blind you cannot raise
A feeling you cannot shake
A truth you cannot accept
A part of yourself you cannot understand
A nothing you cannot fill
A love you cannot return
A shoe you cannot walk in
A wall you cannot climb
A brick you cannot throw
A lie you cannot tell
A simple line in the sand…
you cannot cross over. [poems from 1996-98]
“Shamanism has known in its own way that … illness is normal as health, failure as frequent as success – a loss of soul is the ultimate diagnosis of a self or a culture out of balance with these perennial components of actual life in the world.“ [p.193 'Soul of Shamanism: Western fantasies, imagined realities' by Daniel C. Noel. Continium, New York c1997]
This series was featured on READER’s CHOICE