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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ode to Schizophrenia -- Submission for Barnes & Noble National Poetry Month in 1996

This is "Ode to Schizophrenia," a poem I submitted for National Poetry Month, 1996, to the Barnes & Noble in Tucson, AZ. It won 2nd or 3rd place (I'm trying to track down the official announcement), and I read it in the store in May of 1996 to a small audience.

I was petrified, never having been much of a public speaker, but it's my poem and I like it ... so, I powered through it. Anyway, "Ode to Schizophrenia" by yours truly.

Ode to Schizophrenia

Asking the little person in my mind,
I get a queer answer:
“You must not do, you must not do”
Naturally, I approach the retort
With very little regard for the actual
Words, since they mean nothing.
But I think I get the drift:
Whatever I was contemplating,
I should stop.
What was I thinking?
I know what it was:
Love and happiness and desire
And also doubt.
How shall I forget all these things?
How can I remove my thoughts of happiness,
And desire, and doubt, etcetera, from

I am what I think, I think.
Descartes had it backwards, in my opinion:
Sum; Ergo, Cogito
I am; therefore, I cogitate.
And regurgitate, and speculate,
And occasionally recreate.
But not today. Today is
day to do nothing whatsoever.
If I should decide to poke out my kneecaps,
I will damn well do it.
If it occurs to me to go downstairs and
Harass the small cacti there,
Then I will be intolerable to plants today.
I suppose, however, that I should sit at my desk
And become less of a menace to myself (and
Green leafy substances everywhere) and
More of a contributor.
Aloud, perhaps,
But probably not (thank goodness, my voice
hurts this morning).
If I wrote it all down, would it be any more true?
Or would the act of committing ideas and thoughts onto
Reams of computer type and virtual pages
Actually make them more false?
I think that the latter is true: falseness is the truth.
What will the philosophers say?
Truth equals falseness.
False is a substitution instance of truth.
They will probably laugh, and make rude comments,
As well they should.
I make rude comments about them
All the time. In my head.
All in my head.

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