I know the unnatural jangle of medicated nerves,
The terminal dryness of mouth and mind,
The side effect of drugs whose sole purpose
Is the side effect itself:
The attack of a symptom as yet undefined,
The management of spirit.
I know the holocaust of solitary confinement
In a place of mercy, where mercy itself
Is defined by the cruelty
Of a door slammed on soul,
And the only escape
Is beating out brains on bare walls,
Electrodes attached to human temples
Constitute treatment of the ultimate sort:
The parental kind which says,
"I do this because I love you,"
And the blow follows
(Cold heat of destruction)
And the brain burns.
I know the years of life promised as a chalice
And given as medication. Pollution of wine
Is the final desecration, but we drink what we can
Or what we must. Stumbling to the table
We feast on a banquet of bruised peaches
And stale crusts, the crumbs themselves
The only reminder of life promised,
The soggy fruit our only taste of sweetness.
The integrity of the guest is a matter of courtesy
And pity reserved for the reluctant host.
We were invited to a table of spoils
And we accepted.
-- Sally Clay
Human Rights &