Everyone knows weddings wreak havoc on mental health down at the psych hospital

The crisis specialist tells me my regular therapist will be back very soon and I should try to wait for our appointment. I mention I’m just a little stressed about my wedding and she says oh…well then, you should come right in.

Same thing with the suicide hotline. It’s like there’s a red button with the word wedding on it and when you push it 3 doctors get ready to run up with a straight jacket.

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How to keep working through a crisis

On top of all the phone calls you have to make
the emails you have to write, the appointments
you have to schedule and keep, the hygiene and remembering to eat
it is vital to remember the three most important things:
phone, wallet, and keys

i ask for donations so i can donate them

its appalling how differently
my nonwhite neighbors and i are treated
i get donations whenever i tip my hat
because, after all, its almost christmas
and all i need is your extra appliances
they get their donation jar stolen
and take it with them on their breaks
to the bathroom

i feel like i need to chaperone them
just to ensure fair treatment
at the housing authority
and i log them into AirBnB

my problem is mainly
that i have too many donations
their problem is that
they have next to nothing
and the little they have
keeps getting stolen

thank you to everyone
who donated to me
once in awhile, i can sleep
the rest of the time
i like to distribute things
nothing given to me
will be wasted
towels, kitchen supplies
we need everything
so tell me, whats your address
and a good time to stop in?

it happened

i could tell my situation
made some people uncomfortable
one invited me to dinner and said
ill cook, at least i have a kitchen
and my emergency housing
felt insulted so
i didnt end up going

so many of my little prides
were injured in the fire

two people have said
“I can’t even imagine”
in response to my stories
one called them depressing
well, i wanted to say
it happened

Is the crisis over?

is the crisis over?
some of my neighbors are still homeless
but that isnt my fault thank god
because my landlady wanted a woman
and i was the only one in the building
i can still send them resources
and drop off things and it helps me
i think the crisis is almost over
and that we will all get placed
but i still cant sleep

i can afford to eat without worrying
about what ill do tomorrow
the funds havent come in
but i have toilet paper
where before, i didnt

i dont have to depend on charity
although i worry about being indebted
about baking cookies, what a trial that will be
when my heart is still beating too wildly
my friends have started to talk about other things
two of them have found love and i have many phone calls owed

my therapist said that all the generosity
doesnt detract from the wounds thatll start festering
if i dont address them-ill address the fire with wellbutrin
ill miss my sweet little apartment
with my books, my clothes, my grandmother’s paintings
but mostly ill miss the window with my writing desk
and i cant help but think of the men
when i was in there with a firefighter trying to salvage anything
who barged in, knocked what was left of my little desk over
and broke my window more than it was already broken
they didnt acknowledge me. and there is this shame
involved with having been needy and having been destroyed
in an instant makes me feel weak and i cant help but think
that cancer will be the next big thing…and i cant stop thinking

An old Lady (but I still got it!)

i refer to myself as the fire woman
when i ask for favors
because i dont like to identify myself
as a victim

but i needed just a couple of things
a roll of toilet paper, five minutes to sleep
my legs are still full of stumbles
my eyelids are drooping down to my neck
and i often forget to eat

why havent i slept? strict time limits
i had to find a home before i freezed out on christmas
my crisis team included a pro bono lawyer
a dear friend’s sister’s on again off again boyfriend
a college professor turned chair who was “appalled”
by my school’s lack of housing, the mayor and her assistants
two realtors, one from my aunt’s church, one from facebook
and three laborers who’ll refuse to let me pay them
but ill try hard to anyways because they are my students
one of which, after class, waited until everyone else left
gave me a hug and said “I don’t know about fires
but i know about homelessness”

my solution for emergency housing
left me thirty years old and the new girl on campus
and you know, the best part about all this has been
the young college boys’ reactions
when they see me walking down the street
with bags that are too heavy. they have stars in their eyes
when they run to help me-me! and im an old lady!

Intake

I have several appointments coming up

to fix or at least get a diagnosis on

my teeth, my mind, my cunt

 

I tell the intake lady for psychotherapy

that I have a history of addiction

and trauma from a relationship

and a forced abortion

and that I currently can’t figure out

whether or not I’m pregnant

 

“Ok,” she tells me, “you’re at the top of the list.

We’ll bump another appointment if we have to,

to get you in.”

I think, Well, this is unfortunate

it’s been so many smooth years

since I accepted special treatment.

I just say, “Yeah, ok, thanks.”