I’m doped and thick from my last sleeping pill

in Ark Review/Essays by


I saw a movie on the airplane. There is this type of women in films. Slim faced, dark straight hair, worried mother faces. Nearly divorced. They seem to have this ability to uphold marriage on their own after their husband left them. Like they are the institution of marriage, and have been and will continue being.

London airport: cold,

grey wet grass



I thought about how Pasolini and other revolutionaries write about the bourgeoisie, there is a strange longing, to corrupt or to behold in the descriptions.



Notes in the airport. The medication is making my thought process very clear and concentrated, like everything has been washed. I have to repeat important sentences or fragments again and again so I don’t forget. Funny how this is the clinical definition of sanity, this taste in the mouth.



Sylvia Plath writes; this is the light of the mind, cold and planetary. / the trees of the mind are black. The light is blue. I take notes whenever Sylvia Plath writes about mental health or medication. I’m doped and thick from my last sleeping pill. … now your head, excuse me, is empty …. and I have no face … now I see myself, flat, ridiculous



A visitor wrote about Sylvia Plath, her hair gave off a strong smell, sharp as an animal’s in the last month before her suicide.



Schizophrenia is a problem of causality. Let’s imagine I’m driving on the highway to get Mcdonalds and pass two red lights. If I pass another red light they will not have what I want. There are no third red lights, which mean they must have it. This is the problem of connecting thoughts. Therefor it’s also a problem of language of gramma, what I mean is, how sentences and paragraphs are linked together.



At the museum I read the following text to one of the glass montrues, a person may be deprived of voluntary movement, of one or more senses, these can be diseased and their functions disturbed in various ways, for example, a patient might feel a burning sensation of the skin, he might see flames, see objects doubled or upside down, he might hear bells ringing or smell various odours, as long as he is able to identify them for what they are, the patient cannot be deemed insane. But he is insane when he believes that these external impressions are the real cause of his sensations. A person who thinks he has a frog in his stomach, or that his feet are made of glass or straw, or that he is walking on eggshells, is also insane. In conclusion, what is deemed insane is not as much the experience of insanity by thought or hallucinations, but the ability to distinguish if these experiences are real or not.



In The Handsmaid’s Tale, I read, I look at the one red smile. The red of the smile is the same as the red of the tulips in Serena Joy’s garden, towards the base of the flowers where they are beginning to heal. The red is the same but there is no connection. The tulips are not tulips of blood, the red smiles are not flowers, neither thing makes a comment on the other. The tulip is not a reason for disbelief in the hanged man, or vice versa. Each thing is valid and really there. It is through a yield of such valid objects that I must pick my way, every day and in every way. I put a lot of effort into making such distinctions. I need to make them. I need to be very clear, in my own mind.



A piece by Jenny Holzer reads; I try to excite myself so I stay crazy. The piece is part of the exhibibt Lustmord (1993-1994) which drew attention to the war crimes that took place in Bosnia, the german word Lustmord meaning sexual murder, often connected with rape. The piece in large drew attention to sexual violence against women.



There seem to be two strategies, to stay insane or to remain sane, not entirely mutually exclusive   



It’s summer, the streets are empty. The light lays like milk or dust in the yard, as I slowly drive by the psychiatric hospital, a red brick house. It’s quiet. On the bench, an employee or a patient is smoking in the shadow of a tree. Through the halls the rooms are secretive and anonymous, I like them. This is what you give: your privacy, your belongings, the remembrance of your name for the calmness. The light is bright and shallow on the sheet, blankets, and pillows. Laid bare like a bone.



In the poem Tulips Sylvia writes, I’m learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly / as the light lies on these walls, this bed, these hands. […] I’ve given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses. The first part is a description of solitude, but a productive solitude, one that is needed for writing, space for the personal, (I remember reading that the public was masculine, the public that was written in was or is masculine, and therefor female experience was personal, longed for a new way of expression, yes). I note how they treated her, dehumanising I note. What I would like to say is that the hospital for a moment was both, freedom and injustice.



Tulips continues; the tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me / their redness talk to my wound, it corresponds.



Some others seem to corresponds better, than others. We can write tulips on this list. Maybe flowers.



Sylvia Plath’s psychiatrist wrote to her Keep him out of your bed. Above all, keep him out of your bed on Ted Hughes, he was her allegedly unfaithful. In letters Sylvia wrote to her psychiatrist in her last months she let him know her miscarriage was a result of Ted Hughes beating her. I’m not mad because he was her husband, I’m mad he was her friend. I’m mad I don’t know the truth.



She looks at me as the cat the cuddles up on her lap, saying she’s smart, cats are smart, they know who to love, and I lean back so she can’t touch me, the cats lies motionless on her legs, she says slowly, low voiced of me or the cat, my mom would have liked you. The shadows of the branches of the trees overlook us from afar. Wanting her sits in the bones, in the back of the neck.



Sylvia Plath’s poem Lady Lazarus ends with the sentence and I eat men like air. In an introduction to the poem on BBC in December, 1962 Plath summons: The speaker is a woman who has the great and terrible gift of being reborn. She is the phoenix, the libertarian spirit, what you will. She is also just a good, plain, very resourceful woman



I take medication, not as much for health reasons, but as drugs, I think this is perfectly normal.



A late afternoon I type in google search Sylvia Plath psychiatric diagnosis. The first thing that comes up is a page that arranges insanity with points after different parameters. There must be some kind of feeling of safety or trust with these mathematical elucidations.

She was diagnosed with depression. She was treated with electroshock therapy.

It’s cold in my living room and I watch the darkness outside as it dangles somewhere over the computer screen with a frozen glance. A white glitch. The shops are closed, it’s Sunday. I stop looking for answers. I realize what is interesting to me is not her diagnosis but her lucidity, her writing. Not academics arguing back and forth, making her a case for something larger, stranger. It has been all along.



The moon is a recurring character in Sylvia Plath’s poetry. Who is she? The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right, she writes about her, bald and wild. Her face is white and terribly upset. In Rival, she writes If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. / You leave the same impression / of something beautiful, but annihilating. / Both of you are great light borrowers. In another poem she writes, I am still raw.



Another summer, not warm. I sit in the psychiatrist office, dressed nicely. It’s like a living room. He sits in a yellow chair in front of me. It’s the first time I see him, he looks old, white milky eyes. The air feels stuffed and unreal. He asks me a couple of questions, then his questions get more sexual in nature. He is grinning, asking my sexuality. I understand two things from this exchange. 1. I’m alone. 2. What sickness is depends on who has the right to overstep which boundaries. I also understand I’m on the wrong side of the fence. I walk lighting a cigarette, moving in this androgynous manner that is possible in a large space. Wearing a white louse shirt. I feel what, free. It’s so sunny, bright outside, if I close my eyes to look at the inside of my eyelids all I see is red.

She works underpaid jobs and talks more about writing than she actually gets down to it. She likes american writers who have lost their mind at one point or another. She likes Hilton Als, Carrie Mae Weems, the first poems by Eileen Myles, juice, Nell Zink and others.

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