There are times you need simply
to feel air.
The air does not ask
if it’s done enough in its life.
It just stirs,
or not; is what you’ve got,
this amplitude of air that sets
such an example–

making you think
about the too many who strove
for whatever air was there–some
you loved–

until you take that them

right into both arms.
Though most hollowed
to cheek and collar-bone, some were swollen
by their disease–yet, they seem to fit–

and you sit them
over your chest, trying to absorb
their collective will for breath,
becoming very still–

not exactly happier–but
quiet–for your chest must be still
to hold so many–

Some you have no right to hold
though they let you,
the dead so generous,
the dead willing
to sit with you.


Draftish sort of poem for Real Toads Open Platform.  Pic is mine from the San Jeronimo church in Tlacochahuaya, Oaxaca. 

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12 Comments on “Depression”

  1. Jim Says:

    I went in several directions while reading, you made a tread-softly subject to be brought into the air. Towards the end I was thinking this was about helping a ‘down’ pet. Some of them lead worse than a ‘”dog’s life.”
    I’m thinking about moving to Oregon when I need a final escape.

  2. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Depression is so insidious, I admire the sheer tenacity it must take to live with it on a daily basis, especially because it is so difficult for others to understand. Your poem provides a view beyond the myths.

  3. Sherry Marr Says:

    I love the lines about the dead being willing to sit with us. Which is good, as we so often need to sit with them.

  4. Brendan Says:

    The tenderness with which you encounter the blue liminal of depression — almost in tune with the song — what is it — “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend” — has that haunting intimacy of the old bad lover. What is the need “simply / to feel air”? A self-evicting nakedness, an embrace of “amplitude” where inside there may be none. Easier indeed that deed might be without the dead, embracing “their collective will for breath” — how difficult breathing becomes, with all the dead resting on one’s chest — it’s like giving up on air to bear witness to the world’s struggle for it. A suicidal gesture faithful, perhaps, in the end to the blue lover’s song. Very well done, friend.

  5. hedgewitch Says:

    A lyric poem on a difficult subject that manages to make a particular place feel hauntingly universal, and the dead very close and belonging.

  6. Perhaps it’ the weather, perhaps it’s my state of mind, but I found the poem “stifling”. I could not breathe properly whilst reading it. It’s excellent. It’s so good that it forces you to read it twice. With the same outcome.

    Greetings from London.

  7. I was hoping to read my comment but it has disappeared in the ether. 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  8. This is something makes me think how light and tender, yet sharp depression can be… I like the use of “they”, as if there are thoughts that are causing pain in sting upon sting.

  9. Depression is terrible on so many levels. I have had times when I have struggled through it and it was hard to see the light.

  10. zuluocean Says:

    The truth here

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