Michael Gennarelli Speakout

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/21/2007 - 02:00

(you can also listen to an interview with Michael, where he reads this poem, on the Madness Radio page)



my nerves are splitting, my limbs are jerking, i'm scared...i'm scared...i'm scarred. i can't make eye contact.

"i...j..ust n...n...ee...d he....l....p; to...t..al...k to s....ome...o..ne."

She looks at me in the same manner i imagine the FDA over tainted meat; flagged and tagged. can't see straight at this point.

"empty your pockets," someone says in a new room.

"how'd i get here?"

"i need all your belongings; we'll put 'em in a locker." (at this point, you don't know how long it will be before you see them again.)

The lights, the walls, the people, all devoid of life, all mechanical, all meant to sedate...why always the opposite effect? A nurse prods your past like those little kids that would play with wounded animals.

"Are you now, or have you ever been suicidal?"

"How many times?"

"With what?"

"Were you abused as a child?"

"By who?"

"How often?"

"With what?"

"Do you get fits of rage?"

"Do you hurt others?"

"Describe your cycles?"

"How long do they last?"

"Do you hear voices...do you hallucinate?"

"How long do they last?"

how did i get here? iÕm schizoaffective with seizure disorder. i couldn't take school, work is wearing me down, i've been homeless, i need more money...just a little, then i can travel. i wanna volunteer my time, not slave it away. fuck the system. let them pay me. their system did this to me!

how many times will how many people ask how many of the same questions?

A man says he doesn't have freedom of religion because no one will accept him as God. A man rocks, a man spits, a women announces, "we shouldn't have to watch kids shows, i'm an adult." She then return to singing the Chia Pet song over and over, while aimlessly wandering the hall, breaking only to mention she's here for 6-8 weeks, and when are the sandwiches.

A young and fragile semi-catatonic Asian woman makes her way to the phone to speak to a husband she's not sure she has. Baby Huey hollers for his chicken...and don't touch his bed. God wants my phonebook...he needs a lawyer. ativan, ativan, ativan will calm you Michael. But wait...I can't forget about Sophie: the black, white, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican girl with 50 kids and twice as many husbands. and she's got quite an attitude for a 10-year-old, especially since she's 23. Alas, the ward would not be complete without the renegade runaway schizo-elf, clad in tight red and green and a ring of tampons for a belt (they take yours away, along with shoelaces). She smiles and claps for every commercial.

the Asian catatonic woman doesn't want any meds.

"I have rights. I have a right to not be medicated."

they do it anyway. no feeling.

"we don't play that nonsense. she gettin' those meds, strap her down."

they hold her against her will. her face...in it i see defeat, as the orderlies make subtle references to Vietnam era whore humor. And she is goneÉgone to a place in her head where no one can come for her. she must stay here for safety. And my heart breaks for all those minds permanently scorched by the sun.

i stand on the other side of the glass, a lab rat not to be taken seriously. i speak and people just look at me...like i'm crazy, but they're the ones that aren't supposed to. the staffers operate on a fast-food run mentality, only their product is the mental well-being of fragile individuals. i get ignored again. and i start to cry. i wanna see my friends, they'll take care of me. i think about the sweetest, most intelligent, creative, outspoken, kind, caring, sensitive, anarchist punk girl i know. i smile. i cry. they say i'll be here up to 8 weeks.

i bang on the window behind which i'm encased, screaming for KeTcHuP. they look at me like i'm crazy, so i start screaming for Nick and Gabby now everyone's attention is aroused. they strap me to the bed. I scream for KeTcHuP. this time an nurse with a syringe says, "what, no mustard?" i smile...and DREAM.

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