Stevi Lee Alver

Rookie - 222 Points (1984 / Australia)

Glenside - Poem by Stevi Lee Alver

The asylum is green dust not the green of fresh leaves but the green of skies falling, the green of clouds opening, the green of hailstorms. Green dust rises but does not fall. Green dust floats in tormented corridors. Green dust touches saffron robes and indifferent coroners. Motes of green dust mingle with wafts of singed hair. Layers of green dust spread like encrusting coral on deep-water gates. Thread of green dust stitching yellow-buttoned madness. Green dust buzzing like phosphorescent bees over nightmare stew.


Green dust shadows on a moonless night concealing condemned geniuses. Shadows inside brown-buckled straightjackets. Disinfected shadows stretched over piss-stained gurney-scarred floors. Silent shadows seeking audiences. Screaming shadows cast upon dilapidated walls. Honey-coated electric-shadows seeping from shock-pad temples. Distorted shadows drip from slanted faces. Suicide-watch shadow. Bedframe shadow. Sighing-door shadow. Torn-sheet noose shadow. Swinging shadows of green dust and lithium.


Lithium rolling-doors and corner-less walls, save and deliver, sliding-windows and razor-sharp wolves. Lithium children, count and dispense, two-tablets three-times daily. Lithium snow, powder and shower, chemical straightjackets. Decision-making lithium. Double-vision lithium. Wasted-mind lithium. Manic-depressive lithium. Sedated-zombie lithium. Transcend the prison of lithium. Transcend the green dust and the shadows.

Topic(s) of this poem: depression, freedom

Form: Prose Poem


Comments about Glenside by Stevi Lee Alver

  • Stevi-lee Alver (9/8/2015 6:24:00 AM)


    I see the misunderstanding! I can't see my first comment anymore, but what I meant was that medicine can become poison and poison can become medicine… It feels like a fine balance. Thanks again for reading, I appreciate the dialogue! (Report) Reply

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  • Fabrizio Frosini (9/7/2015 2:41:00 PM)


    sorry.. I had no intention to wear the doctor's white coat here, at PH..1st and last time I do so.. My apologies.. (Report) Reply

  • Stevi-lee Alver (9/6/2015 6:26:00 PM)


    Hey Fabrizio, thanks for reading... yeah, lithium medical poison, poison medicine... it's a good thing mood stabilisers have improved so much in the last twenty years! (Report) Reply

    Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (9/8/2015 5:46:00 AM)

    Stevi-lee,
    my words
    - ''Sorry, but that is your opinion.''

    refer to your words (replying my 1st comment) :
    - - ''... poison medicine... it's a good thing mood stabilisers have improved so much in the last twenty years! ''

    NOT TO YOUR POEM... - re-read my 1st comment [''yeah, a true slice of a medical reality.. '']: you see?

    Greetings from Italy

    Stevi-lee Alver Stevi-lee Alver (9/7/2015 9:00:00 PM)

    I'm not a psychiatrist or a medical doctor. I’m the daughter of a bi-polar woman. This poem was written based on my childhood experience of watching my mother suffer from mania, depression and lithium toxicity for years. Her symptoms of lithium toxicity were brushed off by doctors, as 'in her mind', and her blood levels weren’t monitored. This was in the 90s, I'm sure things have changed since. Although I know people suffering from mental illness are still largely ignored within the Australian health system. The poem isn't an opinion piece on the pharmaceutical treatment of bi-polar, it's a personal piece based on my experiences.

    Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (9/7/2015 2:35:00 PM)

    Sorry, but that is your opinion.
    Usually I don't discuss about medical aspects - of illness/treatments - out of a doctor's study, especially when they don't regard my field.. I'm not a psychiatrist but I can tell you that lithium (when it is correctly administered) is a good medicine.

    lithium is probably the best mood stabilizer among those we have today - better than valproic acid and carbamazepine
    (think that it's very rare to have suicide in those patients treated with lithium salts for depression and bipolar disorder) .

    Plus, according to a research *** (Tomas Hajek and alii, University of Halifax, CA) lithium would show also a neuroprotective capacity against damage from bipolarity.

    *** through functional magnetic resonance imaging they have found that, in those who suffer from bipolar disorder, the hippocampus (= a key area for memory) has a low volume if lithyum is not included in the therapy - while this value is identical to that of healthy persons (control group) if the bipolar sufferers are following a treatment including lithium. Such a study needs confirmation, but it is very promising.

  • Fabrizio Frosini (9/6/2015 4:53:00 AM)


    ''Wasted-mind lithium. Manic-depressive lithium. Sedated-zombie lithium.''

    yeah, a true slice of a medical reality..
    on the other hand, lithium can 'save' patients, letting them live an' acceptably good' life..

    thanks for sharing, Stevi
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 5, 2015



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