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Rueful and proud
like a bold boy, one bone broken
Scared yet impressed
by your own audacity
You call me up
to share your gods and monsters
your mad delusions of divinity.

That fractured mind.
Those plastercast prescriptions.
Grown unendurable,
obscene, untrue.
Your crazed self-healing shamanism
brutally suppressed
beneath a bleak conformist burial of pills.

You slipped that noose,
a wild fast-talking Lazarus,
beat-preaching martyr of an unquiet mind.
Shrugged off the shrink-wrapped shroud
for mania’s mantle, and your freedom
Ran for a life
uncared-for and carefree.

You're calling now
to tell me that you love me.
Knowing I’m leagues away,
unstrung, string-free.
Safe port for sailor’s tales:
I’ve no right
to recommit you
myself being uncommitted territory.

But Lazarus,
Beat-Lazarus,
I’m terrified you’ll call soon
No more a boy
and with more than one bone broken.
Quenched under mania’s cooling shroud,
bereft both gods and monsters,
And though you may roll stones
no longer free.


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Comments

The following comments are for "Beat-Lazarus"
by MobiusSoul

"Beat-Lazarus" by MobiusSoul
I am awestruck by the precision of this poem, so completely enclosed without one wasted word or overdone breath. Controlled passion, which to me is amazing. I found the last stanza such a perfect closing to it all;
"Quenched under mania’s cooling shroud,
bereft both gods and monsters,
And though you may roll stones
no longer free."
Thank you for so much for sharing this.

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: October 15, 2007 )

Mobius soldier boy
Marvelous poem. I believe I know the inspiration. It moves along well and is pointed in every way. Much like gunfire. It has an anxious quality to it and in a semi-veiled way is poignant. A great believers poem to the tough guy agnostic. Keep on.

williamhill

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: October 15, 2007 )

So glad...
...you're back and writing more.

The words in this are very good; but with "beat" in the title, I kinda hoped for something a bit more... beaten?

Sometimes beat poetry is hard to read and must be heard read aloud. The exact pauses and nuances of breath are very hard to get write on the page/screen, and hearing a piece read can give you a better idea of, "Oh. She meant it *that* way." That being said, if you show some beat, I can eat it where I find it. If you say, "beat," in the title... I'm expecting some pretty chunky rhythm.

Also... I was a little confused on tense/time; not sure if the pills were in the past until I read it a couple times. Partly because the tense of "you call" is the same in first and last parts. Not a big deal.

That's all the (hopefully) helpful critical stuff. The rest is me being impressed with a really clever use of extended metaphor; manic depression is a tough nut to crack any day, and you do a great job of showing it in your language rather than beating it up in an obvious manner, which is always a bit sad. Nice, nice subtle stuff here.

"Quenched under mania's cooling shroud," is, frankly, fantastic and scary. The presumption of a dichotomy between life/death that mirrors bipolar swings if brilliant. And the idea that mania is like a shroud, covering/cooling up the other stuff... nice, nice, nice.

Good bit with, "I’ve no right / to recommit you." A bit punny, I think, but subtly so and self deprecating, so that's OK.

Biblical, pharmaceutical imagery... just wonderful. Thanks for this. I really like it.

( Posted by: andyhavens [Member] On: October 15, 2007 )

Beat-Lazarus
I'm slinking in here feeling a bit like scum, because you always leave such thoughtful, in-depth comments on my work and all I can really say to this is, "Oh, GOD, yes."

I think the third stanza was a near religious or at least orgasmic experience for me.

This is flawlessly penned, in my opinion. Thank you so much for posting this!

( Posted by: chinadoll [Member] On: October 16, 2007 )

Lena, WH, Andy, China - unevenly risen...
Lena, thank you. I'm flattered that you found 'precision' and 'controlled passion' in this, that suggests the hard work might have been worth it! And it was hard work: this went through a thousand iterations of refining, reorganising and rephrasing (throughout a weekend dominated by long erratic conversations trying to persuade the poem's subject to take his meds and come down off whatever mental precipice he was currently perched on). I think it still has a few soft bits but for now, I've exhausted it and it me.

WilliamHill, the sense of anxiety and veiled-poignancy that you detect is dead-on (I hope). Any agnosticism here is only in my conflicted feelings about mental health meds... mania, meanwhile, can make a person a foaming believer in almost anything. But yes, I will keep on.

Andy - constructive comments much appreciated. I think you really got this, which is great. It would indeed have been hubristic to sit down thinking 'I'm going to write a poem about bipolar disorders', and then let rip with what would certainly be a cascade of inaccurate high-drama and awful cliches. This, however, was more a case of just setting down my prevailing preoccupations and futile anxieties on paper, and ending up with this piece.

I never intended to write a beat-poem (wonderful, sometimes, but not my style) which perhaps makes the title misleading. I vascillated between 'Delusions of Lazarus', which might be more accurate, and 'Beat-Lazarus', which I liked for it's allusion to being both beaten and/or risen-from-the-dead. The 'beat' term refers to the manic's speaking style, all messianic and benzadrine-wired, not to the style of the poem. Maybe another title would be better, though.
Oh, and I possibly should clean up the tenses a bit: the phone call (in the present) comes only because giving up on the pills has already caused a dangerous bender... but you're right, the poem doesn't really make that clear. I'll see what I can do, some other time...

Chinadoll, praise much appreciated - I think you overestimate my critical powers! I read your story prologue yesterday night and was far to fuzzy to comment constructively. I'll get back to that too...

( Posted by: MobiusSoul [Member] On: October 16, 2007 )

Delusions of Lazarus
weirdly familiar, this felt, that “crazed self-healing shamanism” is known to me… full of empathetic anxiety this, allowed reader to stand on and listen to both sides of that telephone conversation… this is not known to me, and give me a hot feeling under the skin…

by this point I suspect most of my comments are so belated as to be rendered surplus to requirements, but I love the sound of my own voice so…

“uncared-for and carefree”, is almost painful, indicative of both victorious and fierce will to freedom and the consequences of being “free”, amounting to much the same as being “lost”… this applies to anybody, but more so to the Beat-Lazaruses of this world, who feel the weight of the paradox that is freedom most acutely…

“Quenched under mania’s cooling shroud”, is painful too, for all the fine reasons everyone else has already stated, and beautiful for many of the same reasons…

cohesive this, held together and sustained superbly, I envy that at the minute, when my own writing style seems to be falling to bits… but then this is something that requires refining, some poems its just imperative that they’re written, some it’s imperative that they’re written well… this is written well, mindfully and compassionately and evinces a breadth of understanding that’s admirable, admirably understanding, but also admirably grounded…

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: October 16, 2007 )





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