TITLE: SCHIZOPHRENIA

J. DAVID

Abstract……………The body becomes a point of transit, halfway between there is and there isn’t—a balancing act
among gain and loss, me waiting at its fulcrum, not knowing on which side I stand while being asked to
tip it over. This is my predicament: the distance between two realities is the shape of my body.

Introduction……..My grandmother traded her sanity for the freedom of inescapable things. The helix my
mother builds for me shares her disappearances. It is the reason I fear the faces of my own future children
and the charcoal sketch I give them for a house.

Methods……………Auditory & visual hallucinations + delusions & paranoia + disorganized thinking &
discombobulated mental processes + irregular & spastic body movements + reduced feelings of pleasure &
difficulty sustaining focus + dissociation events & general disconnect with reality.

Results……………..I hear voices and the ceiling is made of peaches // my dead friends talk to me // thinking
becomes a wall I am to break or meander past // my body loses its coordinates // I forget how to brush my
teeth in the middle of doing so // the water runs // I disappear into the nothing I will end against // then
paranoia // topically directed at abandonment and loss of agency // then dissociation // everything is
either a nose or a graveyard flower // the other side of the storm is silent.

Discussion………..How fragile the things I call true are. Last year so much went missing. I cried so many times.
Witnessed the sacrifice of my holy electric. Held myself together under the oily smock of night and there
in the dark place / I was so desperate to love myself / that I offered my body forgiveness.

J. DAVID is a Ukrainian-American poet living in Cleveland, Ohio, where they are an MFA candidate in poetry at Cleveland State University. They are the editor-in-chief of Flypaper Lit, art and media editor of BARNHOUSE Journal, and chief poetry critic for the Cleveland Review of Books. A Baldwin House Fellow and member of The Sad Kid’s Superhero Collective, their work has appeared in Salt Hill, Passages North, The Journal, and elsewhere.

TINY SPILLS
  • Favorite lyric: “Why did you let them leave and then make me stay” —Julien Baker, from “Rejoice”
  • Any place in the world: Odessa, Ukraine

  • Best book nobody talks about: The Life of Poetry by Muriel Rukeyser