Poetry by Evelynn Black: Footnotes on Schizophrenia

Poetry by Evelynn Black: Footnotes on Schizophrenia

Footnotes on Schizophrenia



I dreamt waking always in a blue haze caught          & pressed blankly in the morn
sweltering alongside the bleak light rippling along that which is along side streets
& main streets & the bellowing of traffic     which is the lyric state of the world

I see you in the glass of this horned city       great sheets of it rising lucid
into the air         I recall once that time in the diner    cheap coffee too hot
with taste of human longing   a thing lodged in the throat       & hadn’t slept
& you asked if I wanted breakfast       just to spend some time with you

it’s always blue this starting memory     something of the color of it
last to be named, last to be discovered
with you who barely exist now      all the soul kept sacred in the fiery machinations of the mind

and I in the morning of it         unable to wake        the repose of our difference                                                        I think to have a whole world leafing out           to annex just one i from it
that central stem of self                           the long line from which grows out LIFE                                                                                                      would be a fine thing


one night I hallucinated writing on the walls of my room
it was that time I knew the walls of my mind & the shape of distress
each word over and over spelling KILL ME on every surface
& what is there to do in that time

but paralysis      birds in the bathroom    birds all year

& all my memories uncertain     gone through these red leaves
the only sign of nature between tall buildings

one time I dreamed a private cove
on the shore of the world      where I could whisper
my secrets to you          & was safe from the caustic blank of the sun
& everything was cloudy safe
I told the sea there I had no control over my mind
& it told me to go where the weather vane points so many beautiful directions

& we are the wind


in the psych ward
where the sojourners of the mind go on

opening the heavens  finding nothing & weeping there upon  that god might be found in tears
or in the ridges of the brain        or muck or plasm or the shirtsleeves of catastrophe

instead of the spiral of self        eventually telling what was sacred was found
in risperidone / lamictal / effexor / seroquel / abilify
god of a clean mind    god of white pills    god in a pile of orange bottles

him wanting to weep the blind man’s tears for the torn precipice of reality
hunted by demons & the blue skull in the flicker world
how a sight seen over the shoulder multiplies          disgorges

the black roots of disquiet        spelling out
chaosmos / coriander / cobalt / mind

in epistle to the frozen harbor of our lost generation

struck with the curious nature of dreams
unable to tell memory from dream from hallucination from reality
only able to write it all down & find out whether it was a vision

or whether memory meant the use of one’s mind
in service of another     listing out

woven / woke / won’t  / oval / laved / loved / lucid / zero / end


god produces nothing but movement in this era
he comes slack as snow         intrepid
intrepid           intrepid lord the lord is intrepid

out of kindness in the arid morn       I felt unheavy
somnambulant      solemn    a sweaty simulacrum or a brilliant light

the rain slides like bullets through the light
I am obsessed with light     how in dark places    the stark & sudden room goes

light light light light light light light light light

& erased what I came to call the erratum of my body   a shoddy sketch of photons  with
the word repeated only
so many times as the mind has capacity for    repetition is not endless

nor an infinite capacity for repetition
I have to say it right, but nothing there delineates
what’s right               god echoes in the distance

another sermon mounts         black clouds
shift             rain, there was a time I had to go home
and was so afraid I hadn’t locked the door

there was a time I had to go home
so afraid I hadn’t locked the door


god to have so many corridors      to have fallen among them aside them apart them
there is a way that washing makes it better, opens up
I’ll wash my hands of this              dry as they are

I used to think that largeness was what made of god a good thing
that his vastness was what we had hungered after all this time

granting the psychosomatic origin of what      in the paper morning
always a time of day for me    this urge of the day as the day is paper
something so easily torn           crumpled & written on

somehow it went     by an open sea where laved these waves over itself on the shore over earth
HEAR THE ART somehow writ on earth again       apart / aside / apart
rift this paper skyline from a paper sky


at the concert I looked over to find you smiling
some song about the pressure of life & continuation & how we all go on regardless
& you had the most       most beautiful blue I’d ever seen    I was dumb for you in that moment

spasmodic modicum erratic error stasis strike
chaos chiasmus servant of a stricken green corpse


you have to see it she said you have to and the worst part was I never believed her

I looked for it in painters      the hopeful lines of Klee   angels caught in the rush backward
covered over in material history    or the advent of the thinking eye
the letters of van Gogh to his brother Theo     advising him    out of love    to eat bread

such a stringent life rolls inward
give me toward it in a better ward               but little have I learned
you tell me hope is a small opal    lodged in the folds of the brain
that the cosmos has a lyric structure        & all other concepts are misconceptions

in an anxious sky
how beautiful that there should be anything at all
a field of clover on the heart of the universe