A wingless phoenix in Wal-Mart
By Special K and Quaker Oats
Stands mid-aisle, stock still, face pinched.
His eyes shift blank and stare
At a nightmare in the lightning flashes of his brain
Even with the doctor’s little pills, Franken-Berry,
Untethered chemistry, synaptic discord
A conflagration he could barely control
Or it would blaze into fiery immolation
As it was doing now
Had done a thousand times before
But for the clenched claws
Would knock down the hazy stupor of the day
Into wide Tartarus.
Storm-flash gone, he lifts his hand
Past packaged heads, past canned voices
Past paranoia, past schizophrenia
For the Lucky Charms
Broken bits of childhood psalms
Of a Man walking on water
Leading him home
A child of God by name.
Nota Bene (June 10, 2021):
I wrote this poem some time ago but it remains my favorite, not least because it deals with a subject close to my heart: children and adults who deal with various forms of mental illness ranging from autism to schizophrenia. If you yourself or someone close to you suffers in such a way, you know that life is a daily obstacle course in ways we can barely understand. This poem is dedicated to them and those who care for them. May God’s grace be their strength and their stay.