Saturday, April 2, 2016

National Poetry Month Challenge, Day 2

"The Dive"

by Dan Bruno

The moment when the water parts
Disorients the body and the mind.
The rush of displacement, the sudden
Substitution of crystalline summer sun

With deep, glowing blue. It is the way
My world changed, violent and disruptive,
The day I learned the name of the
Monster that attached itself to my life.

The sterility of the laboratory,
Claustrophobic and chlorinated.
The stiffness of each strand of hair,
Smeared with the silicone gel that

Attached each electrode. The cold,
Creeping fear of possibility seizing
My diaphragm, forcing shallow,
Apprehensive gasps of air.

The diagnosis leaps from the physician's
Lips and lands with an enormous splash
In my ears, disturbing the surface of my
Mind with an enormous wave of doubt.

The mitigating terms themselves, transparent
And contemptuous, splash about my mind:
Chronic, not fatal; manageable, not curable;
Permanent, intractable night in my mind.

The medication list is a bouquet of
Chemical wonders, latinate formulae
Rattled off with galling ease:
Modafinil, Methylphenidate, Escitalopram,

Oxybate. Life reduced and subdivided
To incomprehensible pills and potions
Of varying volumes and viscosities.
Clarity defined by the cubic centimeter.

Years later, as I drift to the bottom,
I wonder how much of me is left.
Am I man or medicine? Where am I
In the nootropic soup of my perception?

If mind no longer matters,
If matter conquers mind,
If the thoughts I have are given by
Chemical induction, which of these is mine?

My life has become the silent sea
That exists at the bottom of the dive:
Quiet, blue-tinged, enveloping, the
Incoherent distance blurred out of view.

Rest. At the bottom. No need to rise.
Stay beneath the rhythm of life and
Let it slide away. Vitality is the curse
Of one chronically shut out of a healthy mind.

But then, my feet scrape the rough stucco.
I kick out against the weight of water and worry.
A rush rises in my ears. Who knew that
Ten feet could be so deep?

Each flutter of legs draws me up to that
Crystalline kingdom of warmth just beyond
The distortion of the surface. A place of
Exhilarating laughter and adventure

Where human voices wake us to breath;
Where, maybe one day, my mind,
After its long stay under water,
Will emerge to resurrection.

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