Mixed Media

Insomnia

I converted a section of the poem into a Photoshop brush and created a mandala. I then layered the mandala with a pattern and clipped out a section.I converted a section of the poem into a Photoshop brush and created a
mandala. I then layered the mandala with a pattern and clipped out a section.

A conversation with my psychiatrist inspired me to write the poem. He asked me why my feelings of hopelessness led to thoughts of suicide. I answered that I thought there was no point in living. He asked me, “What is the point of dying?”

Insomnia
by Tara

What is the point of living
With the struggle for sleep?
But what is the point of dying?

What is the point of living with a storm twisting inside me, turning itself inside out and leaving
The streets bleeding gold rivers of dirt that seep
Through the sheets with the sweat? A fallen rose, dying

Scatters its petals in the gutter. What is the point of living
With the waters that keep
Rising and flooding the banks of my eyelids, threatening

The lowland cottage that I built inside myself, seeping
Up through the floors, ruining the ribbons that I keep
Tucked away in drawers, ruining the snapshots of summer dying

Into fall and winter? What’s the point of living
In the deserted streets of my mind, where I weep
And wander searching

For torn packets of sugar, scattering
Themselves in the wind, searching for fragments that leap
From my fingertips, searching with the sound of lightning dying

In the distance? What is the point of living
With the cockroaches that creep
Down the walls of this tiny room inside my heart, crawling

Across my skin? It’s 3 a.m., time for housecleaning.
The pile of dishes inside the sink is deep.
I toss out the tulips dying

On the windowsill, and I struggle to keep
the conversation in mind about the urge to leap.
Perhaps the point of living
Is to struggle to the point of dying.

History

Flowers from clay and metal

My great-grandmother had a younger brother who volunteered for the Iowa National Guard just after the Pancho Villa expedition into Mexico. After America became embroiled in World War I, he was sent to Europe to fight in the trenches. He was injured in July of 1918 and died from his injuries in France, where he is buried.

Since learning about him, I have been researching his life and experiences. He wrote many letters home which have been saved for posterity.

Recently I watched a film, They Shall Not Grow Old, by Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame. It is an incredible movie. It is about the First World War, using film recorded more than a hundred years ago during the war. The soldiers come to life. It is amazing the technology and techniques used to make the documentary.

It inspires me to create similar projects of my own. I want to tell the story of great-great-uncle who died in France. I want the world to know.

In Flanders Fields

BY JOHN MCCRAE

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

Writing

Misophonia

Misophonia

Sound Sufferer, Sanity Sucker, Serenity Slapper, Soundless Sobbing.

Small sounds – Huge problems
Breathing, chewing, chomping, slurping, bowl banging
pen clicking, keyboard tapping, whistling, walking…

Eyes engorged with sound,
synapses tied in a jumble of knots
implode with another breath.

Trapped in a crater of insanity
noise echoes, brain howls.
emotions erupt
fragments bombard.

I cringe,
gut ravaged.

Revel in silence

Misophonia, a neurological condition, is real.
Many in the medical community don’t understand and dismiss it,
often believe it’s a mental health issue.
People suffer in silence,
withdraw from family, friends, society, feel alone in a sea of triggers.

I shut down at dinner tables, cringe when people type on key boards, breathing puts me over the edge, gum snapping sends me outside my limits.
I can’t get away from sound.
When I was a kid my dad smacked his lips, I tried to mimic him hoping he’d notice and stop eating like a pig, but he didn’t.
I was afraid of him, so I suffered in silence.
My brother had asthma and snorted, a cousin had inner ear problems and snored.
I was afraid of the rage I felt with each inhale and exhaling breath.
So I clenched and suffered in silence.
My motto became shut down and half smile, I didn’t know what else to do.
Tension crunched in my brain,
I’ve lived on the edge of sanity, my nerves shattered,
face scrunched, my body clenched with the assault of each sound.

Now, I understand, my brain is just a little different.
When I get triggered by people eating or breathing, I bristle and move away.
I still shut down and half smile, people sense my energy shift and think I’m a bitch.
Sensory overload is the way I live, misophonia, a brain thing, it’s real.
Researchers are studying it, are learning, but don’t have a fix.
So still, I suffer in silence.

In class when people eat or drink or breathe a little loud, I can think of nothing else; my focus is trapped in each crunch, each crinkle of wrapping, each sip, each breath.
One day a fellow classmate was writing vigorously, I could hear nothing else,
each scrawl was an assault to my senses, a punch to my brain.
People click, tap their pens in thought,
that’s all I can hear and can’t write another word.
How do I go through life like that?
I suffer in silence

The other day at a PwA meeting two people mentioned they have misophonia.
OMG, I thought; thank you for sharing. I exclaimed “I love you.”
I thought I was alone, so alone.
Now I have allies, now I can see the ‘me’ in the ‘them’ and know they suffer too.
If there were three of us in a meeting of ten, how many more of us are there?
How many more people suffer in silence?
We are not alone,
As I write this, tears are flowing down my cheeks, I am not alone.
Thank you Path with Art,
WE ARE NOT ALONE.

Pam Winter

Poetry

Lost Friends

Being a part of Path with Art for so long
People coming and going
Some staying, like me
Friends
Many, many friends
But what about those friends who drift away?
Remember Eric?
Where is Eric?
Blind
A nice guy
Young
A gentleman
Where is Owen?
A professional dumpster diver
I loved learning
about that underground culture from him
He narrated the first ever podcast
created by Path with Art students
I ask JJ
“I’ve reached out to him with no luck. I haven’t heard from him in more than a year.”
How is Adam?
Now married
Busy, busy, busy
I am sure
Where is Sol?
Canada?
How is Andrew doing?
San Francisco Giants fan
Bay Area aficionado
Where is Ruanda?
She is dead
For months I did not know
I ask Holly one day about her
Holly shares the sad, bad news
We never did go to the Seattle Aquarium
Made plans
Interrupted by life — and death
Cancer took her
I discover this poem by her

Worthless.
I know the feeling in worthlessness.
And find it hard to describe because
I’ve swum in the sea of worthlessness.

Thank God someone has been documenting this
The lives of ordinary people
Often forgotten and neglected

Poetry

for our poet


She said to us
I need a nudge
Without a push
I just won’t budge

Call it a block
To write my words
More like a rock
Perch for some birds

Toss me a theme
Float me a boat
If it’s a dream
I’ll help it float

Pen to a page
Fingers on keys
It’s just a stage
Leaves off of trees

Look in my eyes
Knock on my door
I’m here! Ever wise…
Up off the floor!

~ Bill Kirlin-Hackett, PAB (Program Advisory Board)

Poetry

Ode to My Mom

Ode to My Mom
Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020
By Holly Jacobson

You were not a Kool-Aid mom.
No grape jelly. No white bread.
Ugly peanut butter, ugly brown apple butter.
I was a lunch room outcast.
And now I know.
You were right.

Peaches.
Hanging like a sunset, a mosquito aquarium
Heavy orchard air.
And those bushels. We filled them heavy,
sneaking bites.
Sweet juice running down my chin, spilling on my flower printed dress.
Better than that was waiting at home.
Taking turns on the hand cranked ice cream maker.
I was always given the first few cranks.
The burden heavier with each turn.
Then “the men” took over.

And at the end, I could lick the paddle.
Summer days at the farm.
Where the daily anxiety of my eyes melted into pure joy.
The ritual of it all.

All my happiest childhood memories are food memories.
That was always our time together.
The drive in for rootbeer floats.
There is no substitute for a frosted mug.
You, barely out of high school.
Should have been recently groomed at the Sorority like your parents planned.
But no, you were with me, my dimpled hand holding the baby frosted mug.
Our time tasted sweet.

CHERRY LIMEADE!!!!
Let’s not go back to school.
This was a trip to the drugstore.
Grilled cheese and a cherry limeade for me.
You – a patty melt and a coke.
Oh how I love a counter lunch.
With a box of Russel Stover Turtles to go.
Just you and me.
Happy with our secret.

I think Doctor Sam was downtown.
Every check-up seemed to end at Kaiser’s ice cream parlor.
It was a true parlor.
Tile floors.
Tinned ceilings, tall as trees.

A few fans at the top whirling rhythm.
And a requisite screen door that creaked, jingled, and slammed.
Every time, you ordered pistachio.
Seemed exotic for Oklahoma City in the late 1960s
I must have ordered peach.
Always afraid to stray from the glory of summer.
Always afraid.