Sublimely Spoken

Message heard, the challenge enjoyed,
occasionally comprehended
In defence of the cryptic poet

 

Closed-ward psychiatry
offered boundless opportunities
for the young therapist and would-be poet
to liaise with unregulated minds.
 
Some incarcerated souls
had the dramatic presence
of Roman and Greek orators
presenting solemnly all they had
sacrificed for humanity.
Some were iceberg emotional,
their seething inner turmoil surfacing
as repetitions of a few key words.
Some were always on long inner hikes,
smiling glowingly at recurring visions,
describing them only with superlatives.
Some were rhythmic, reciting dancing lyrics,
racing along in spirited dirges,
or slowly whispering in largo,
matching the throb of even the most
bereaved hearts.
 
Communicating too,
a tattooed man tracing veins on his forearm
with a smuggled-in razor-sharp knife,
interpreted as:
this was his love bequeathed,
the way back to his Mother heart.
Was this a visual form of poetic expression
as well as a warning not to go there,
not to reveal his central social self
for, if found to be empty,
it would lead to your or his demise?
 
And, when the creepy sex offender,
grinned lasciviously while sucking his thumb,
saying: “…that Hollywood bimbo,
Mary Magdalene,
helped raise Jesus from the dead too..”
did that powerful instinctual messaging
make the student female therapist,
lose all inclination to continue?
 
For, some types of communication can be
extremely repelling!
 
During his lunch break,
visibly clasping keys granting him
immunity from off-duty conversation,
he sat on the inner-sanctuary lawn,
reading his newly purchased book of
modern poetry.
 
The published cryptic poems
were so similar to words expressed
by those inmates he tried so diligently to understand.
 
He wondered if cryptic poets had the ability
to conjure up new fine verbal nuances right on the limits
of logic without feeling their mental balance
as being dangerously near to madness!
 
Or whether they too, like most of the inmates,
had no choice, through lacking sensory regulation
via motor discharge, striatal pathways,
predominately facial muscles,
normally seen as grimace, frowns, and smiles,
but also gesticulations;
Nature wasting nothing in assisting
communication!
 
Did these poets like them,
suffer unregulated memory spread instead,
caused by any unmodulated sounds, i.e. noise
that carries no message or coding,
like traffic, and wind, and low-level aircraft drumming,
being allowed to pass unhindered beyond the
sensory-energy distribution centre* in the psyche?
 
Does the shock of a behind-the-head “clap!”
not trigger the universal pass-through startle reflex,
automatically producing protective crouching,
with muscle tensioning preventing
energy pulses surging along pathways
carefully monitoring rhythms of heartbeat and breathing?
 
Is none, or very little, superfluous incoming sensory energy
diverted out through designated motor escape routes
to prevent excessive psychical tension disturbing
finely-controlled regulatory processes,
and in particular, prevent memory searches
travelling way too far along association pathways
in the defenceless brain?
 
What distinguishes this extreme memory spread
towards irrelevance in the wayward mind of the mad
from the frontier nuances of cryptic poets?
 
The need to externalize cognitive dissonance
in aggressive defence
caused by false religious profundity in futile pursuance
of its support and truth, and novel jokes and humour
in laughter, the latter tension-relief being common to most,
he understood.
 
But, if these inmates had the singular exploring ability,
from invasive father and/or phallic-mother,
to force their way freely and far throughout memory,
where was the cohesive social mother and/or breast-father,
helping to collect, gather, and hold associations awoken
keeping them connected and logical?
And if not present,
where was the guardian of manifest relevance,
the depressive defence, the synapse-level suppressor,
stopping thought from wandering too far from
being understood by we, the kindred spirits
who sensibly follow common rules
of language and logic?
 
His book was an anthology
of thirty poems from nine poets,
some from good voice, or some from psychosis,
what does it matter?
Perhaps the value lies there,
the evidence of two kinds of destiny
distinguished only by degree of cohesion,
the one accepted as consensually brilliant,
the other rejected as singularly mad.
Even cryptic poets can lose contact
entering realms of the esoteric, or even
go too far, and suffer the excesses of
temporary incoherence?
 
He remembered a poem he once wrote,
where he even then alluded
the cryptic poet’s special ability
to some exquisite use of vocabulary
stretching intellect to risky limits,
and that not everyone, while able to appreciate it,
had this creative gift at primary process
level:
 
“If, standing before you,
removing all that shields the mind,
all that protects cautious thought,
he revealed:
a harmonious, balanced trichotomy,
the ideal, the man he is, his emotive wishes,
all striving within systemic synthesis;
 
an adhesive wholesomeness,
tenaciously resisting regressive dissolution
back to where ganglia,
pulsing in phonemic confusion,
prompted by some inherent inspiration,
capture urges in speech’s exclusive images;
images that exquisitely transform
primitive emotive compulsions
into symbolic creations,
allowing like minds to dance in unison,
or compel a unique mind to
walk alone in private madness;
but, also, when challenging Nature’s supremacy
at creation’s precarious precipice,
an absence too,
of that black encumbrance that,
in helping to keep people mortal and sane,
dampens lust, life, and hope,
to a pilot flame just flickering,
suspending overstretched intellect
in slothful dejection till stable integration,
till contact with kindred spirits,
is achieved again.
 
If standing before you,
the naked mind revealed
a well-adapted, contented, and happy man,
functioning at surface level,
creating at already manifest,
would you say of him,
he may be spared depression and madness,
but, he could never be a poet?”
 
Placing the book aside,
he discovered a love-note
under the paper napkin in his lunchbox:
“Roses are red,
violets are blue,
forget-me-nots are perfect,
for they remind me of you!”
 
After a day filled
with purposeful intellectual activity,
this simple expression of love,
if only for a moment,
allowed him to be existentially aware,
in contact with the human emotion,
that, unknowingly, had in fact been there
all the time, throughout the morning.
He felt moved, mutually connected.
 
Perhaps that’s the real answer?
 
Wrestling with mad thoughts
keeps us intellectually challenged and defensive,
continually on our guard,
unable to stop and be, and feel any emotional
connection other than fear or pity.
 
The cryptic poet, on the other hand,
tells us something we already know,
kernel-truths, non-specific,
allowing for personal variations,
but which, though permitting us to feel
their essential emotional effects,
had never let us find sufficient courage
to test the limiting boundary,
where only there,
dangerously close to madness,
they could be adequately expressed
in words.
 
 
 
 
 
* Thought to be the Thalamus
 
Goth:September:2015
 

© Gothicman 2019
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critique and comments welcome.

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