Psycho*sis | A Poem

For all members who enjoy writing poetry or who use poetry to express their strongest emotions.
Please be advised this area can be triggering, so read cautiously.

Moderator: Jonesy

Post Reply
jrholman
Member
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 7:33 pm

Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by jrholman »

Psycho*sis
This poem is about my experience with brief reactive psychosis. "Psycho" is separated from "sis' because, in the aftermath of psychosis, so many people have assumed I'm crazy, insane, or have two personalities. It's also poignant because whenever my brother feels guilty for his sexual behavior he tells everyone he can see that I'm his "sis".

**********************

Words poured out of me
without warning
carrying my darkest secrets
to the eyes of someone
who knew only a shadow of me

the cursor blinking
blank like my mind
a world without black or white
a bolt of reality
before a flash of fiction
a run-on sentence a run on-sentence a run-on sentence

my personality imprisoned behind
a mask of eternal sunshine
shattered by the screams of "Help me!"
the imaginary pitter-patter of a baby girl's feet
her family
knarled and twisted like a Juniper tree
the blackest of blood

catatonic
like a timeline printed on newsprint
the milestone of I love you
blending with the words
save me, save me

a hypnotic pendulum
swinging clockwise
then counterclockwise
like your words
soulmate. lover. best friend. sister.
trauma scar. faceless fantasy. mother figure.

a Palomar knot
in my psyche
chained
chained
chained
to the moment
the veil tore
between the living and the dead
between us

the reflection of myself in a dirty window pane
behind unblinking eyes
a secret
stone-washed white feathers
adrift in the wind
another secret
the friction between our skin
the murmur of I love you
but let's keep this a secret
my lips shackled
keeping the fairy tale images
of you and me from shattering
Oceantide
Member
Posts: 1700
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:20 am

Re: Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by Oceantide »

Devastating and powerful. Thank you for sharing.
jrholman
Member
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 7:33 pm

Re: Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by jrholman »

Thank you for reading my poem, Oceantide. In the past, I used to write poetry all the time, but eventually, I became afraid to share it...afraid someone would be able to read between the lines and discover my secret...and my pain. I'm glad here I don't have to hide.
Paper
Member
Posts: 644
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2022 9:14 pm

Re: Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by Paper »

I’m glad there’s a place where we don’t have to hide too. Thank you for sharing this poem here, jrholman. I looked up the word Palomar and found that it means dovecote (if I found it correctly) and I looked that up too and there’s an image in my mind now of the knot and somehow a sound to go with it, which is also in your poem, sound I mean. It’s beautiful writing with so much symbolism and levels/depth of what’s being said. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, sad about what happened to you and glad you’ve found writing to help. I feel like all my writing has helped because of all the things I couldn’t say- it was a way to talk without talking, when talking wasn’t possible or good. Or safe. I really needed some way to talk about what I couldn’t talk about and writing has been a useful tool for me to do that. Poetry especially. Like you, I’ve written many poems with truths I feared to reveal hidden between the lines. I’ve written a whole bunch of words sometimes just to cover up a small but devastating truth inside them. And I’ve spoken in images, some which only mean something particular to me (outwardly they just seem descriptive), so I could record and “read” my history with some of my poems but others wouldn’t be able to.
"... I've been livin' in my own shell so long:
The only place I ever feel at home...."

"I Never Wrote Those Songs," Alice Cooper, Dick Wagner, 1977, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
jrholman
Member
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 7:33 pm

Re: Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by jrholman »

Hi, Paper,

Thank you for reading my poem! I'm happy that you thought it was beautiful and had layers of symbolism. Moreover, I'm glad that you found writing as a way to reveal what is haunting you between the lines. Symbolism can veil the elements of our trauma that make other people's skin crawl. While I don't believe we should have to hide, I also realize it's impossible for everyone to understand where we've been without a lens of judgment. Poetry is an excellent way to chronicle our lives without fear of our trauma being shared indiscriminately.

The Palomar Knot is considered the strongest type of all-around knot. For me, my unhealed trauma, particularly the back-and-forth declarations of my brother's love, seems like an unbreakable knot in my soul. The pendulum was actually a psychology instrument I used before I had a psychotic break to try to hypnotize myself due to extreme stress. I didn't know the word Palomar was connected to a dovecote. I love it because it corresponds with "stone-washed white feathers, adrift in the wind", which was about my unborn daughter who is like an angel to me. Her name is also hidden in this poem. Thank you for adding an extra layer of meaning to that line for me.

Long ago, I used to paint and write a lot of poetry, but under the weight of my incest, I stopped. However, I made two Impasto (3D) paintings recently. This was the first free verse poem I have written since my miscarriage in college. As I start to heal from my trauma, I feel the artistic parts of myself creeping back. I hope they're here to stay. And while I'm heartbroken that trauma has brought you here too, I look forward to reading the next poem you write.

Sending peace and hope.

JRHolman
jrholman
Member
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 7:33 pm

Re: Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by jrholman »

Quick update: I shared my poem with my former high school English teacher, and she wrote: "[JRHolman], I’m not saying this just to flatter you or because I love you …. But … as a lover of poetry … This poem is beautiful. I feel as though it might be … at least part of it … for [your unborn daughter's] dad … but … I also see a much wider audience as well." I wasn't expecting this reaction but might try to use poetry to convey more of my feelings.
there
Member
Posts: 9795
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:41 am

Re: Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by there »

I love this poem!
All women are beautiful. Period.
I deserve better than survival.
jrholman
Member
Posts: 521
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 7:33 pm

Re: Psycho*sis | A Poem

Post by jrholman »

Thank you, There! I appreciate you reading it.

Sending peace and hope,

JRHolman
Post Reply