Memoir Mental Illness Poetry

When the Mania Collapses in On Itself Again

for Janet

She — burning red on the outside rim
of a recent manic spin,
her hair in flames —
could not find space to fit
her guru self
anywhere in the cockpit,
left it and its
lowercase god
— the one she introduced me to —
somewhere in the space
where the inhale and exhale meet

she was barely breathing
words shooting through the air
like pew! pew! pew!
and her eyes…
her eyes were blazing madness

she was madness
at my doorstep burning
her counsel afire with delusion

I tried to reach out —
breath like a blanket
to swathe the flames,
while my heart screamed
drop and roll! drop and roll!       please

please     come back

I reached into that space
her galaxy of lunacy,
but her trajectory
was light years from now


I hear she touched heaven
learned to breathe in a final breath
found peace as she dropped
into the hands of god

Image, Thundering Neurosis by Mario Sanchez Nevado, used here with permission from the artist. For more of his work, visit

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