Category Archives: relationships

Today is March 13, 2016. I am alive and well.

The following is the first pages of my book in progress, tentatively titled Emma in the Corner:  A Spiritual Quest of Someone Living With Schizophrenia and Alcoholism.


This book follows on the back of Mind Without a Home. Much of Mind Without a Home was written when my brain felt sick. The writing is imagistic, metaphorical, not always lucid. In this second book, my mind feels healed. I still hear voices no one else hears. I still think things like “there is a plate in my head I need to dial into.” And yes, the other realities still exist.

When I write my mind feels healed. I have not been in a psychiatric hospital for seven years. I have held my same job with the library for five years. I have been in a relationship with one person for fourteen years, and am just recently newly single. Guy left me for someone else and I did not fall apart.

Because of this change in mind, my writing is more lucid, hopefully not to the point of being boring. Here is where I don’t necessarily know the difference between chaos, lucidity, and freshness. I really ask myself if I’m misrepresenting myself as having schizophrenia and alcoholism because I am doing so well. Then I am reminded to take it back a notch and remember that I have two illnesses that tell me I don’t have them.

If you are meeting me here after reading Mind Without a Home, welcome back. And if this is your first experience of me, hello and I’m glad you came.


Emma. I named her Emma. The baby giraffe stands poised at eight feet, 250 pounds, in the corner of the psychiatric hall. I see her as clear as the lines on my palms. She is not able to hide among the Mimosa trees from which she eats. Her body, camouflage. A spotted stick at rest against a peeling barn.

Trees do not pop up from the gray industrial carpeting. I am the only one to see this stately, serene presence at rest in this tumultuous world:  the world outside this psychiatric unit with its loud honking cars, kids on the playground bullying the fat boy, adults bickering over bills, hate crimes inviting real artillery, artillery being used in seemingly random acts of violence.

My brain is dialed in. Emma is beautiful. I believe she winks even though I am fifty yards away at the other end of the hall.

Emma sees farther than other creatures. The Egyptian hieroglyph for giraffe means “to prophesy,” to “foretell.” I’m sad that I won’t always be dialed into Emma. But I will remember how she made me feel safe, feel cared for, feel loved. A ninety-year-old woman having her toes clipped by her granddaughter.

It is giraffe magic the way Emma can disappear among the trees. In the open, Emma stands out like an exclamation mark. It is too bad others are not dialed into seeing her. They too would feel a tremendous amount of peace radiating from her tail.

Emma’s cloven hoofs the size of a dinner plate can kick a death blow. However, giraffes almost never harm another being. They are devout pacifists with neither aggressive or territorial inclinations. They never lock the door to their home they do not have.

Giraffes have no tear ducts, but have been seen to cry.

Emma can spot a person more than a mile away with her bewitching softness of eyes, high gloss and sympathetic, framed by movie-star-lashes.

She moves as a galloping mare, and as silent as a cloud. I imagine her nibbling on stars when not taking care of me. I grow calm looking at her; my smile as large as a split watermelon.

She’s a symbol for people who just don’t fit in:  they may be too tall, or too eccentric, or simply too different from everyone else. She’s my omen of good fortune.

My six foot body reflects off her eyes. I am in love with Emma.

The nurse announces medication time. I will leave my vision, step into the common reality, assured that Emma will be in the corner when I need her.

I will be here when my brain rights itself.

Emma, me, we will live free.

The facts about giraffes I retrieved from the book Tall Blondes by Lynn Sherr.

Today is February 21, 2016. I am alive and well.

I want to have a party with fake alcohol and see how many people act like they’re wasted; rum, not rum, roars through the thin man who pinches the breasts of the host. She giggles, then slaps him after coming to her senses–the slap smells of beef, a fingerprint left on his cheek.

I want to repay all the kindnesses my friends have shown me all their lives. A sunflower bends at the neck in welcome. I hand out handkerchiefs, love wrapped  in knots of stripes and polka dots–it is simple.

I want to travel the world bagging people’s groceries. A stick of butter rubs skin with a potato in London. The jolly man in Brazil grins with green jello the color of palm leaves. Canned beets are slippery in Seattle. A banana rots at the foot of an onion in Germany. Radishes remain the dirty spice that they are everywhere I go.

I want to say meow during a speech. All the dogs will riot when they learn the bill won’t pass the Senate; it’s a matter of boxers wearing helmets in the ring, the blood loss would be cut in half with the ear out of the way.

I want to believe in God. God has come to me in the form of a twisted branch in a tree three stories high. Leaves rejoice!

I want to have a story worth telling. I wake to the woman mowing the grass outside my open bedroom window, smell the grass, chamomile with a touch of honey. Paint a purple mustache on my niece’s doll. Ask her where Ken’s head is.

I want to take a cute girl to the moon. She smiles as I strap her into the card board box. The stereo explodes with the sound of flame. I tell her “close your eyes and imagine cheese.” In no time, we hear mail being dropped through the door’s slot and know we are still grounded. The moon is another dream, like cows pirouetting to Greenday’s Awesome as Fuck.

I want to go to a city where nobody knows me and act like a completely different person. My name will be Betty, an easy name, one I will recognize on a stranger’s tongue. I will wear boots and smoke cigarettes and smile only in the grocery store from where I buy slices of cake. My downfall is butter cream frosting. I like it on toast in this new life of mine.

Today is January 30, 2016. I am alive and well

This is dedicated to two women whom make certain I don’t go without food or coffee. Guy also contributes to my financial affairs, although this is not about him.

Love Letter Written with a Wishful Penny Attached

I borrow letters from the alphabet at no cost to anyone. The letters never run out but occasionally get lost in the paper clips and rubber bands, the empty ice trays or rolls of toilet paper. How do I curve where we are headed without falling into the abyss of tired “Gs.”

This is about love. “Js” jump at the chance to be involved. I can handle one jack rabbit jumping over the name John; a dear John this is not. I’m trying to say this is about love. About love being so much more than a penny. Although, pennies can decorate an evening on a porch of a restaurant known for its linguini and musicians tucked in corners of the building, on low, serenading everyone.

I have little to offer others than letters and toothy grins. It’s a stretch for me to get this on paper because there is so much I want to give. I usually trust that most written words find their niche; they roll over on a line and butt up into a sentence. Sometimes an exclamation settles it, but usually it’s a period. Love is not lost with a dash. A dash simply means something else is a attached, maybe the geranium I spotted sitting in the window of Pete’s Pizzeria.

It feels like I am moving further away from you while enlisting all these words to form paragraphs. It was not my intention to write paragraphs. I was going to turn all this into a poem. My printer has plenty of ink. My type is showing off; it’s more useful to me than a magenta crayon. Crayons have to be sharpened and, well, magenta is too bright for me right now. I’m thinking more gray. Did I mention the band serenading the patrons?

How many letters ago was that? “A few,” you say, and aren’t I glad you finally showed up. I do know you were there all along like one does a dog leaving a muddy trail across concrete.

I am reminded of a poetry class I once attended. I would write long stretches of words and turn these stretches into the professor. At long last, the professor said “Kristina, I have yet to see a single poem from you!” So I wrote a poem, a very bad poem that contained poison ivy and love gone wrong.

My love for you is raw and bridled, reflected in the flank of a horse. It’s not sexual. There is no kiss that follows hello and walks away with a promise. We are not attached by anything greater than an intimate friendship; intimate because we show up to dinner vulnerable, willing to share anything that belongs to us, lingering just below the edge of consciousness.

I’m winding down like a girl who does “around the world” with her yo-yo, her yo-yo landing safely in her palm.

Today is January 16. I am alive and well.

Dear mom. I’m missing you and your sloppy smiles that fall to the sidewalk as you glint in afternoon sun. The smell of Opium rounds the corner ahead of your polished toes, red like ketchup.

I’m the only one that sees you’re wearing ocean blue flip flops in the desert. I’m the only one that sees you’ve come to life again like an orchid blooming for the second time.

Missing is like this–shaping squares out of windows, framing the height of a mound of sugar.

You sweet in a short dress allowing for knees.

I see you, but I’m greedy. I want your touch on my arm, prompting me to embrace your five feet eight inches, my chin on your shoulder.

How is death? I wonder. “Painless,” you say. The air hangs like dead drapes.

I want to believe you fare better than you had in life, scotch taking your breath, leaving you slumped over a coffee mug. A fool says the liver is not important. You lost yours when it became laced with liquor. All talk stopped.

You looked beautiful in your coma, a painting unlike the Mona Lisa.

I imagine a peach at rest on your chest, waiting to be bitten, its juice making rivulets.

Your arms appear stiff, your hands unclenched. Life escapes from between your fingers that stare at nothing. You hold nothing.

I am glad for the glimpse of you standing in my doorway. It lessens the missing, my missing found in my closed palm, my missing cascading over me as you glint in the afternoon sun.

Today is August 6, 2014. I am alive and well.

My schizophrenia has kicked back in. It is a small child who needs my attention and grabs my hand. The voices are telling me to say very inappropriate things at work; things that would get me fired. I very much need my job. I’ve been with the library five years in October.

The small child is not of me, but is of other. She tugs at my hand so softly that no one else can see my hand move. No one else can see her. I do know this. I see her as a shadow and know in bright light she will be gone. And she is, she is gone when I pull the blinds in my study, allowing light to force its way upon me. Light forces its way upon me when there is something in my life I don’t want to look at.

I don’t want to look at the fact that I miss Guy. I want to keep him in my life forever, but from a distance. Who says a person can’t be friends with their ex? But Guy is more that just an ex. Do I want to have friends in my life who lie to me? The answer is no, but then I think, Guy is different. I am okay loving him even though he lies to me.

This line of thinking will not set well with my friends who want the best for me. For now, I bring an umbrella with me. The umbrella can only work for so long to shade me before light breaks through, and I act accordingly.