Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hope in The Madhouse


Hope in the Madhouse

 

He can’t let 
the 
masters
of the universe know
how small 
hope can be

walking the zoo tiles
a dimebag collector
shooting an empty gun
with
screams for bullets
limping clacking
on his pegleg

down a corrider in the dark
pursued by dark
following a candle
disappearing
 
round the corner
yellow and green
trimmed
chihuahua sized roaches
turn belly up when he
coats them in a vocal spray
of stinking oily cries
 
though he was told
screams have no dominion
where life and
death are shaped by 
 a hand of words
a different madness
in each finger

he still runs
from his own hands
 dropping the sacred flower
following a girlchild
with a dim candle

always the messenger
never the message
long he sits looking through
bars of glass at the stars

 so naked yet
they stand the cold
 
before he signs
his own word


departure



November 2011


Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub
Brian hosts the usual wild and eldritch festivities at the pub tonight. 
Come join us. Link is live till midnight Wednesday.









48 comments:

  1. lots of great lines in this...starting with letting them know how small hope can get...and the pursuit of that candle that ever seems out of reach...the shouts...i dont know if anyone hears them...and there are those crazy roaches...yikes...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great title, well-evoked by the poem's imagery, especially in the second stanza and in such lines as "a different madness / in each finger". I also like very much "looking through / bars of glass at stars// so naked yet /they stand the cold". Shivery.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ...I begin by saying I hate my mind, just to get it out of the way. I must confess, when I read "Masters of the Universe"...I had a He-man cartoon flash. I need help.

    In SERIOUSness though, an image-intensive piece. "looking through bars of glass at the stars"...this figure, this soul, wandering through the night, pursuing the candlelight...such a beauty. Chihuahua-sized roaches, though? Shudders. Shudders indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sheez Louise Hedge, your underworld's a busy buzzing hive of complexes ... dunno who these messengers are, either, but I have a feeling that paying attention to them and giving their hopeless screams a voice pays some kind of coin to Charon so you can get through the night. Hope in the madhouse would not be for sanity, not even understanding: on the old maps, that's where the dragons would be inked. As I've said before, if the real leaves you homeless, there's always the surreal -- departure from sense - into madness, and its frail and fictive candle of hope may be awful dim, but it may also be the only way out. Such dark communication here, but that doesn't mean there isn't a important conversation going on ... Not with such precise and entertaining articulation ... Brendan

    ReplyDelete
  5. As I read this poem, I kept shaking my head as each new stanza unfolded, thinking: How does she do it? Where does she find these words?

    Whew! It's all just amazing to my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love the part "always the messenger, never the message"...that is wonderful and thought provoking....love the picture...bkm

    ReplyDelete
  7. wow hedge..love this..the small hope, the shooting an empty gun
    with screams for bullets, the roaches...step by step you lead us deeper here...
    always the messenger
    never the message.. alone this says so much.. all the disappointment in the world in these two lines...awesome

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks all--another dream. Sigh.

    @ B: Yes, I am a psychiatrist's masterpiece waiting to be written. :P

    @Chris: Yeah I thought about that--almost made me not use that phrase--it's always hard to use a cliche and expect it to be fresh in context--but I just had no better way to say it as it was a cliche I was aiming for. Thanks for surmounting your childhood programming. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very dark and sad.

    always the messenger
    never the message.

    ReplyDelete
  10. whooo-wheee I hope I am never aware of death stalking me like that (that is what this made me think of anyway.) Awesome images, esp liked the cockroaches. The photo is so cool - I had to look twice to realize the black dog was there - which made me like the pic even more!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Eerie just seems to be your forte'. I love how I feel like I've just been plopped down in the middle of a nightmare. Perhaps "love" is the wrong word but it is most effective. Is that sanity just going around the corner?

    ReplyDelete
  12. The section from the chihuahas through the different madness for each finger just blew me away. I could feel this, the too-close, dank stifling tunnels, and the one dim retreating light. All of that makes the "bars of glass" all the more striking and puzzling.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such amazing writing, Hedge......wonderful language, incredible images, culminating in your last absolutely perfect line. Wow, what a read!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks all.
    @FB: One of the scariest things is that the bars are so often made of glass.

    @Sheila: I think it's a black horse, but I hadn't even seen it till you mentioned it. Freaky.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You created this a bit too well - horrifying!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Beautiful writing again, depressing and hopeful at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hope can be very small. It only says: maybe. I used to wonder if people weren't able to have hope for themselves, we could hold it for them. I liked to think the answer was yes. It seemed especially important in a madhouse. But if he signs his own word departure, maybe not. Or maybe that's what he said just to get away. Anyway, I'm rooting for him.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Matt: Thanks--actually, it's meant to be rather more upbeat than not. In my fashion.;_)

    ReplyDelete
  19. This gave me the chills Hedge and that is no mean feet - reading your work i get this feeling of clear script - crisp text, written in light on fog (in my mind this is possible;)
    excellent
    forget the t-shirt i'm gonna get HOPE IN THE MAD HOUSE tatooed on my face hahahhaha.

    great title and maze like content. superb

    ReplyDelete
  20. HA! On you, it might look good. Better than a white bag, anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Loved this--I love your sense of imagery--

    walking the zoo tiles
    a dimebag collector
    shooting an empty gun
    with
    screams for bullets
    limping clacking
    on his pegleg


    So many wonderful lines--

    Audrey

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would not want to meet that size roach no matter where I was. Spooky, and yet, not. Yes, so many great lines, love the little bit of hope because sometimes no matter how small it is, hope is still hope.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I really like the first and sixth stanzas, Joy. And you have such strong images throughout..."chihuahua sized roaches turn belly up"... wow.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love this, Joy. "always the messenger, never the message"...great lines throughout.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Lost Hope
    in a maddening swirl
    of wonderland woe.

    There are too many - too many! -
    great phrases & stanzas here.

    I love it.

    The piece takes several reads,
    and each one comes up as joyous
    as the preceding.

    damn good piece.

    But, I’m always just the messenger,
    never the message. (great.)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Very scary and vivid. The end pulled it all together for me--wonderful close. K.

    ReplyDelete
  27. When I read "chihuahua sized roaches," I actually recoiled from the monitor. That doesn't happen often!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Makes me more giddy with each reading...or am I just going...MAD! (drool...drool...)

    ReplyDelete
  29. "He can’t let
    the
    masters
    of the universe know
    how small
    hope can be"

    The hell of being alone and powerless. This piece has captured that feeling throughout. A chilling recitation. Very well done.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hey, we have three-inch Cambodian cockroaches here in L.A., 30 miles from the harbor where the ships brought them in as stowaways, so we walk carefully on the skittering night sidewalks.

    And lately it ALL feels like hope in the madhouse. But hope was so 2008. And the masters already know how small we all are...

    ReplyDelete
  31. the roaches gave me chills...

    and the rest just terrified me...

    don't wanna be in no madhouse, uh-uh, no sirree....

    a tad too vivid for me, Joy! {smile} {i'm NOT paranoid!}

    ReplyDelete
  32. A cinematic bag of chihuahuan horrors... you were there... so was I. I always feel that every word has been dropped clean into its slot.. perfect alignment. Chills, for sure, but vibrantly crafted.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Joy! It's a HedgeWitch fairy tale! Bone chilling imagery, yet so sweet to read....perfection once again flows easily from your pen...LOVED it!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yeesh! Blogger appears to have gone crazy last night after I switched to pop-up comments. I've deleted everyone's mutiple duplicate posts and changed back--I was wondering why people were commenting five times on the same poem--I know you guys are good to me, but that was a bit hard to swallow.
    Becky, Natasha, many thanks. Ollie--great to see you stop by again.

    @Timo: Mad as hell and not taking it anymore?

    @Charles--yes, they're big down here in the South, too, especially the wild ones that live in the woods and fly. I have to admit, they're a particular terror of mine. It was very satisfying to kill them just by screaming. ;_) Hope your ribs feel better soon--very uncomfortable thing to injure.

    @dani; This is all about killing the monsters and getting *out* of the madhouse, the prison of glass bars--that's the point of the Hope, and the final word.So its not nearly as grim as you think. Thanks for coming by.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Like all that's truly worthwhile your words require work. I love the imagery in this poem and the faint glimmers of hope which lighten its darkness.

    ReplyDelete
  36. lots of great, dark images here. love especially
    "he still runs/ from his own hands..." ... and the last several lines, in fact, i think are killer, the nakedness of the stars... :)

    p.s.--maybe i've never looked around here properly before, but i just noticed the "poetry... because it's cheaper than whiskey" in the sidebar-- love it!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dark, complex, thought-provoking. I responded to the glass bar lines as everyone else quoted, the roach imagery quite eerie and chilling, the entire piece cold and rather angst ridden left me feeling isolated. A very Sartre type piece. Deftly written and highly stylized to me. Wonderful writing as always

    ReplyDelete
  38. Whoa! This evoked so many images for me. I was a student nurse in the early 60's before State Psych hospitals were "decentralized." This was still in the dark ages of mental health care and I did my psych training at Patton State Hospital, a "city" of 5000 patients. My memories turn to the 2-3 days a week that ALL the patients in the locked wards received electroshock therapy, regardless of the indication. They were all pre-op'd and lined up on their beds (in huge dormitories)with their heads at the foot and we went up and down the rows zapping them. The images haunt me to this day. I can't say I found much hope in that setting, but when they released so many patients in the late 60's is when homelessness exploded. So many needed the structure of a facility and on the wards that were for what they used to call "simple schizophrenics" the patients functioned in jobs like working on the farm, making fireworks (imagine!) and other things that at least made me feel useful. Your poem, though, takes me to an even darker place...further back in history. And yet you do capture a flicker of hope.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wow, this just spills down the page, and I felt my heart beating faster with every word waiting to see how it would end. Another wonderful piece :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is a powerful poem that sustains something that I think is very difficult, plumbing the mind of lunacy. There are many haunting images that bring me to a door that looks out onto desolation. I'd like to think that door does not exist, but it does and many walk thru and don't come back. You remind us to not forget them or the reality they face.

    ReplyDelete
  41. First thing that came to mind was, Hw having more dreams? I think I saw you confirm that...I'm jealous, you know, as I "see" mine upon waking but them lose them in the day.
    Brilliant write (always); when I read the line
    "chihuahua sized roaches" my mind conjured Stephen King. I'm not a huge reader of his, but a fan of his vast talent. Something tells me you two could have quite the pow-wow about vivid dreams and writing it down; excellent use of language to swirl us into your nightscape~

    ReplyDelete
  42. Wonderful images in this shadowy piece. Great flow and line breaks too. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  43. In the dark, pursued by dark . . . ! screams for bullets . . . I think each person's psyche has potential for madness. It's terrifying to think what can overcome us, when what should be small, in proportion, is much too looming, like cockroaches the size of chihuahuas. Your attention to detailed images is beautiful, as always, and I cringe.

    ReplyDelete
  44. You create such a spooky scene with your words that I can see the candle shadow against a dungeon like wall. If the cockroaches are that big, it makes me scared to wonder about a rat.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Joy, definitely the Dark Side of poetry here....the imagery chills and the spirit still tries to transcend ...perhaps that is the issue of hope?

    You always amaze me at the level of your complexity....and diversity in poetry.

    Lady Nyo

    ReplyDelete
  46. Excellent piece. Sorry a bit late, been a tough go of spending time online, even tonight I'm inches from falling asleep. Love the images in here, and the definite shift in tone midway through. Really great job, thanks

    ReplyDelete

'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg