Karen Little (kazvina) is an artist and writer whose writing and art have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She's had mental health problems all her life, and believes art and writing are the best ways for her to cope with, and overcome these problems. Perhaps, by making use of her 'voice', she can help others find a way of dealing with these problems, and not feel alone.
Finding the Point Yet Again
Don’t tell my psychiatrist, but I binned the indifference tablets
a year ago. After nine years I thought it was time. When I told her
I’d halved the dose from 40 to 20mg she said I’d made a terrible decision,
I was self-medicating with alcohol. I said Good for me, because it works.
I once spent a year in bed. The worst part was not seeing the point
of anyone's life, not just missing the point of my own. Everything
was so dark I couldn’t tell when I was having blackouts. Dreams
were terrifying, but more interesting than life.
Yet here I am. I hadn't even thought of writing until all I had was a biro
and exercise books. I'm often sad. But life bled back in spite of me.
I was angry for a year,
in bed, prescription-drugged to the eyeballs. I had
thrown myself at Spain, dragged you with me; pulled
you out of the way of gunshots only I was aware of.
While our house burned down, we lay in the forest,
far from our electrified beds, the eyes in the ceiling,
the smashed phones with text messaged lies, wrong-
coloured jam. We were camouflaged. I had clarity:
I should drown myself to stop them killing you. Turning
myself into a speck of dust had not prevented books
changing order on my shelves or having different
endings; even the ones I had written myself. Turning
myself into a drop of water had not stopped them
mopping blood from the steps, a stream of black cars
leaving the village whenever we arrived; returning
whenever we left. When you were dying of sun-stroke;
the miles of hosepipes, but no water, and a car pulling up,
hospital, where you finally admitted something was wrong
with your mum, I called you an imposter. You forgave me.
My Trailer would float away if the river rose enough.
It doesn't have foundations, can be lifted by a crane.
I’ve almost drowned six times since childhood.
I’m convinced I can breathe under water.
I can't get into the bathroom today; the door is swollen
by damp. I can’t open drawers for same reason. Nothing
can touch the walls without turning mouldy.
I enjoy analysing myself. I’m an expert, after years
of therapy. Not drowning: a pervert at the baths when
I was eight. Saving myself by becoming an excellent
swimmer, turning my pyjama pants into a float.
Srinjay Chakravarti is a writer, editor and translator based in Salt Lake City, Calcutta, India. His creative writing, including poetry, short fiction and translations, has appeared in over 150 publications in 30-odd countries. His first book of poems, Occam’s Razor, received the Salt Literary Award from John Kinsella in 1995. He has won first prize ($7,500) in the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Poetry Competition 2007–08. His website is: www.srinjaychakravarti.com.
A purple umbrella blossoms
deep inside my cranium.
Vascular inventories of surreal time:
haloed by rainbows and lightning,
my head is an anvil of agony.
Throbbing hammers shatter
the mirrors of my eyes.
Candles inside these irises,
with recipes of wax, smoke, and fire.
The body twists and turns
on its spool of nerves,
the threads which gather
their synaptic marginalia
in my insomniac bed.
Sleep descends on parachute-
dark wings of alprazolam,
flunarizine, or sumatriptan.
The night drips iron shadows
through the sieve of 3 a.m.
into the wet tar of dreams
black with nausea and terror.
This is the hour when pain
stamps its postmark on my envelopes—
their destinations: nowhere,
their freight: my tomorrows.
This poem was published in flashquake and my second poetry collection, Apollo’s Breath (Writers Workshop, Calcutta: 2009).