L C Vieira

(Lisbon, Portugal)

Mental Health Awareness Week

Oh, I'm aware. Too aware.

I wore my bright colors, my orange and golds,
the big yellow hat, closet greens unrolled.
I walked as a billboard to questions and stares,
promoting the week in the way that I dared.

I dared, but soon noticed that not all yet believe
the idea of ‘mental ‘ should be loud or be seen.
Loud or allowed, or improperly bold,
outside of the box, escaping the mold.

Is it mental when it cannot be contained,
the idea controlled or conventionally sane?
Must we still plan to hide it somewhere back at home
and speak in the whispers of those left alone?

I dress for the manic, depressed, and confused
from the depths of their struggle to the heights they don't choose
and their families who live while covering tracks
of self-medications, missed parties and grads.

Mental Health is as tidy as its Illness is raw,
one carefully speaks, the other guffaws.
One politely sits through a serious play
while the other with darkness sleeps day after day.

One tries to keep the other subdued,
and tries at a distance not to be rude,
but the lady in lavender still speaks to the street,
with her elegant voice and no one to meet.

And the girl eats her sugar bag simply to feel
as if there's a way to really feel real,
while the boy locks his door to the every of days
of schools, friends, and doctors who can help in some way.

These don't always show up to stand up to say:
'it's not easy to live with us every day,
with unplanned disappointments, and great expectations
to rein in extremes in our binge of sensations.'

Oh I'm aware. Too aware like the many who know
of the normal we dreamed, then had to let go.

(May 9,2012)

Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Edited: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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