by Darick Taylor
I danced naked—primal and ecstatic—
a chasm opened by crumbling synapses
where the drugs had been.
The benzodiazepines and dextroamphetamine
were given to me by cold men who saddled me
with a prognosis of “poor to fair.”
This was the initiation rite:
to survive the long dark
of being something both more and less
The god-shaped hole in
my chemically damaged brain
was met with a constellation of deities
as the universe poured into its blackness.
I lay hallucinating—
an eternal terror of being outside of time
where the vast vacuum of meaninglessness
at least trembled at my unwillingness
to give up and die—
as so many others had, would, and will.
Darick Taylor is a mental-health advocate and survivor. He studies Converged Communications at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and he hopes to use his growing skills in media production to combat stigma and support all people who experience mental illness.
by Angela Santistevan
She couldn’t stop grinning. Unaware of the fact that she was, Katie also couldn’t stop singing. It was one of the songs the Sheriff liked so much, “Everyday it’s getting closer, mmm hmm, it’s getting closer, going faster than a roller coaster…” She couldn’t help herself, Katie was over the top on this one, she was practically bursting with anticipation. “What a day!” Katie had to get on her tiptoes to sit on her bike, after that it was cake, just balancing and pedaling. She didn’t concern herself at all about stopping and how that would all work out.
Continue reading Katie and Siciley V3: No Greater Love
by Valarie Kinney
Often, people celebrate anniversaries with dinner out, champagne, maybe a dozen roses.
Today I am trudging through a different sort of anniversary, and it’s hard.
Early in the spring three years ago, my sister complained of shoulder pain. It was in her shoulder blade, she said. Kept her up at night. She went to our doctor, who thought it likely my sister had been a waitress too long. “You’re pushing fifty, Charlotte,” she said, “you’ve been doing this over thirty years. You might need to consider a job change.” But the pain continued and the anti-inflammatories didn’t help, so my sister went back a week or so later. The doctor ordered an x-ray. The radiologist noted something, some sort of mass, in her left lung. Suddenly, there was a flurry of appointments, and in a very short time, we knew there was a tumor in her lung, the size of a grapefruit. It had already eaten through three ribs and part of her spine.
Continue reading When Green Day’s on the Radio
by Grace Carpenter
He sits in front of her like some kind of Buddha, legs folded on the carpet, slightly protruding belly just visible through the folds of his loose shirt. She’s fond of that belly, the way it jiggles happily when he laughs and bounces around when he runs shirtless, jumping off cliffs or chasing her with a feather duster. His belly is playful and free. She needs that.
Continue reading Takeout
She followed me with bravery in her heart,
Without realizing my lack of interest.
The deformed web of thoughts in her mind
Obscured her understanding of,
Politeness and Reality.
Continue reading She, Stalker