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WARD OF THE STATE

September 22, 2018

Trash can full to overflow,

Dirty dishes piling up.

I think of Emily ….

If only I had her wealth.

 

Dancer daughter of writer,

Locked away in asylum:

‘For her own good’, they said,

I learnt of this somehow ….

Not from books. No:

A low budget documentary.

 

She was seen from scene to scene,

Paris was where it was at.

She’d an endless source of income,

No. Not from her work

Which was indeed popular,

She lived off father’s fame.

 

Then he died. Then she was confined,

All she had left were memories.

A cruel mater, never sought to know,

To understand. Send son away!

Never! He did nothing wrong,

For he did nothing. He’d no skill.

 

The same temperament as pater,

But she didn’t have the right,

She had no means to fight,

She went quietly away.

There was little treatment there,

What type of hospital was it?

 

There was never any regret,

She decided her own fate.

She went out and always returned,

‘But look at the hour, young lady!’

 

She could have posed for artists,

She had far more in mind.

She could have had anorexia,

She could have had it all.

 

And she penned poetry, painted abstracts,

In her cell she was without pen,

Without paintbrush, canvas. She withered,

She died of boredom, not of illness.

 

I remember: they played song after song,

All by the same artist: most tiresome.

Hence, I now boycott the place,

The bar where I once knew love,

Unrequited love, true. I told anecdotes,

I recounted my life, from left to right.

 

From under the rock I peered,

The rock, it hung, as if by magic,

There’s a movie set here,

Based on a true story. True.

 

They went missing, mysteriously,

Young girls, a group, out for a picnic.

Now they’ve no more worries

Unless they’re also imprisoned ….

 

A grand day to set out,

The sun shone high,

The weather was most pleasant,

In their best Sunday dresses they were.

 

My Saturday whites were stained,

Too much play; not enough work.

Yesterday was a day off,

Not even caused by a breakdown.

I just wasn’t at peace,

All wasn’t right the day before.

 

I was cursed by my own self,

I could have set out and sat.

I’d have written and written,

I’d have forgotten the dramas.

Great drama, exaggerated:

I wished to see her. I don’t know why.

 

In truth, I don’t care for her,

This is my choice, my right,

She’s just pathetic enough for me,

Hence, we’ve always little to say.

 

I’ve little to add: she’s a bore,

They all bore me to no end.

I cut out my own self,

I turn myself off then leave.

 

Could she be a love?

I don’t consider her as such.

I loved her then she disappeared,

She was out of sight, out of time.

 

No word came though the lines,

She could write. She couldn’t send letters out.

She vanished. We heard rumours:

A jealous mother. Call in Freud.

 

The music cuts in and out,

The speakers give way.

The wires must bend just right:

They’ll soon be released.

 

An unmarked grave for

A ward of the state.

She could have been great,

Now she’s drug-addled.

The drugs do a world of good,

They keep her calm, unmoving.

 

She skips to an unheard beat,

She flitters and flaps about.

She doesn’t associate well,

Not with fellow patients.

Patient, prisoner: there’s no difference,

There’s only endless spite.

 

It was for your own good,

We don’t believe you.

Unshackle us. Let us wander,

Let us wonder. There’s awe here.

No light shines thought dirty windows,

Dirty, barred windows. Such is life.

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