I am not capricious
yet, when you turn your head from me
without needing to read what I write
already knowing it’s not to your taste
yes, I feel the sting rest deeply like false
hand of comfort, a nod as good as a wink
to a blind horse, not the way a child would
defend themselves, the outrage of elastic ego
protesting, protecting; don’t you know
my worth? Lord it’s been a while
I have given up selling to others
the pieces of me that have long been broken
rent, hung, bloody, from iron hook
take me as I am, or leave me flayed
I no longer need your approval nor antidactylus
marking stress is not the same as marking meter
today I left everything to the air, because people
leave and those who stay, grow distant in the folds of their eyes
I asked once, is it because I dragged you down with me
to that place they say only 9 percent live?
I cannot believe it’s only 9 percent, you replied
don’t trust statistics, or people who answer
surveys, they’re invariably polluted
I think of the words you used, they
reach across the sea with discolored nails
elucidating nothing, time evaporating the need to ask again
binary oppositions, spat on gorged speculation
we who have no answers, ask less
you, who claim silence as a fortress turn bronze
we eat salad from the heirloom wooden bowl
I polish with oil after every setting, thinking of my father and rituals
passed on; lost, transformed, history repeated
against best intention, kitchen cupboards closing
on the neck of time
if the knife were sharp enough I’d carve
those 9 percent genes out of myself
bury them beneath sanguinaria canadensis, for
yet to bloom, blood-root holds her poison and disfigurement
in the dormant peat before spring ephemeral claims
its turn, mouth stained by choked taint, drowsy
by a perfume only we seem able to detect
but the knife is never sharp enough
as 9 percent only adds to that deafening isolation
the eternal query, how could I be born so malformed?
Bad feet, poor eyes, crooked fingers, corrupt heart
foul womb, rotten skin, thinning soul, fitful ticker
why did you bequeath 9 percent as well? Did I give
you the impression I could handle it? I can’t.
The day leaches light as smoothly as languid cream
pricking an ornamented desire to hope
the drying flowers still retaining their pigment of purple
will brighten what is now shadowed, always
I slip into devouring bed, reading away the need to
scream, and tomorrow, tomorrow I
should be grateful for so many things
as I am, as I am not
capricious at all
I am fearfully sorrowful.
(Inspired by the supposition in the medical field that clinical depression only affects 9 percent of the population. Not in my experience, but I am a mere humanoid without sangfroid, I share more in common with the blood-root).
16 Replies to “9 percent full”
I wonder about all the people who go improperly diagnosed or simply do not seek diagnosing. That number seems extremely low. 😢
I seem to recall it said (Tho by whom and when, probably many and often, I forget.) that what we most avoid examining closely in others is what we fear to find in ourselves. If that be true, then 9% is a low guess by a considerable distance.
To see it on the page makes it more real. Not more supportive. Sadder. I’ve wanted to take care of so many, but can barely take care of myself, sometimes. Please keep writing, Sister Poet. I will wipe my own tears.
Great poetry and I doubt its only 9 percent!
Nowadays it effects much more people! xo
I wonder the same. If I were basing it on experience I’d say the number would be closer to 1-4 (25 percent) but …
Yes for sure. Tho clinical depression differs from depression all feel at a lost job or relative who has passed. Thank you so much for reading dear Carol 💕
You take the words out of my mouth regarding wanting to help others but not always being on a position to. Thank you dear one 💜💜💜
Ah that’s a very good point.
These conditions should not be reduced to relative numbers. Each 1 is 100%
As someone who was diagnosed as clinically depressed in my early teens, I find this statistic hard to swallow. Beautiful writing as always though.
Yes, but he’s such a great writer, makes it easy to want to dig in even when it’s hard to read.
I happen to be reading The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon right now. It’s about depression. I think he would agree with you that the number is much higher than 9%. And it’s getting worse every year.
I’ve read it – an EXCELLENT book I often use it with clients – a great (but hard) read.
Honestly Jade I do too – I was kinda writing tongue in cheek because it doesn’t seem possible … and yet. Makes me wonder if they can’t even get the stats right, what hope is there for decent treatment? But I try to be optimistic too. There are some terrific people with clinical depression – just the best. Thank you for reading dear one xo
Dearest Derrick I agree. I am a bit dismayed the number is considered 9 percent as that seems artificially low, which leads me to think there is not enough being done, but of course, easier said than done. On the other hand if they spent the same amount of time helping as they do judging … well. Thank you for reading this. It’s been a hard time lately and I really, really appreciate you reading my work.
That’s so true the best writers can discuss really off putting subjects and make you enjoy reading
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