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Case History: Melancholia


ISSUE:  Spring 2000
In 1965 I enrolled in the psych ward at Mt. Sinai.

I read the Cantos with the Annotated Index.
The famous poetess visited me
before she was famous.

They assigned me
the pretty nurse
from the plains of Kansas—
to coax truth from my lips.

Her hair was corn silk.
Her eyes were blue discs.

But I would not talk
would not take meds,
though on Broadway the tofranil-ritalin-artane-mellaril cocktail
used to upraise me
for an hour
before it crashed me,
out of phase.
It does not cohere, Pound said.
How write the epic
if the heroes were dead?

Years later, watching TV, it dawned:
it need not—cohere—
though others had been there before me.

Discharged,
I walked Broadway again,
starting equal.

Though personally,
I hardly care anymore.

Let the Muse keep the work
if she wants to,
poor woman.

Post-partem depressed,
bleary with Altzheimer’s,
enduring our imprecations,
no less than the dead who flutter around us more and more.

As now the starts of stories begin to have ends,
and we see the risen and who may fall.

Do I go off here? where it is not about God nor heaven.
Or 20 more points of IQ.

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