Remember, Nothing Is Ever Free

My birthday month, a German doctor,
we talked of Brecht, Weill, and The Threepenny Opera
while she picked at my brain’s cadaver,
and smiling pinned a label. Arms bandaged (heart too),
It looks like you’ve been in a war, they laughed —
in some ways, it was true.

Remember, nothing is ever free.

Five months watching rain, blue chairs, plastic sheets,
swallowing pills to swallow pain and public-funded food.
When your trust is sanctioned daily,
when each scratch of ear, nose, or arm is a sign of danger,
it becomes easy to surrender what remains,
like my friends: Shaun who mislaid words; Harold, the king, who careened his car;
Debbie only wanted a child; and Martin with his Chlorpromazine smile.
Then they surprised me, released me into snow, wearing freedom like a strange shoe.

Remember, nothing is ever free.

A dragged spectator, reluctant player in someone else’s game —
My back is fine, their assessments said, there must be work to find.
But life’s page flipped, became a strange, perplexing vocabulary:
art therapy, psychotherapy, CPNs, CBT, community-funded therapeutic communities,
Prozac, Seroxat, Lithium, Efexor, MOAIs, SSRIs, tricyclics, suicidal tendencies
it was enough to give anyone anxiety.

Remember, nothing is ever free.

© 2017 Occasional Dreams
In response to: napowrimo, day eleven (Sylvia Plath / bop)


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