Sunday, September 11, 2022

Banging Cup of Helter Skelter


“Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” – Blaise Pascal

 Insanity is a cell,
a blind man’s bars
where thoughts
play with freedom,
but a key doesn’t fit the lock.

Who am I if not, where’s beyond
if a cage holds what it won’t free?
Days wither on the throat of a scream.
I hear what can’t be seen…See what can’t be heard.

Climbing out in the center of falling in
I play a black chessboard dressed
as a blood thorn queen.

Helter skelter, neither here nor there,
what falls rarely finds up.
Riddles and swirls, answers that can’t find questions.
I’m there but not here…Gone but never leave.

I’m a ghost that breathes, skeleton without bones,
a mind that searches, a searcher who never finds.
I fish for reality without bait or hook. 

©Susie Clevenger 2022


  1. Insanity and incarceration are true stepbrothers and this dark but brilliant poem captures that powerfully. That first stanza is excellent my friend!!

  2. What a masterpiece of paradox, Susie. Those in the throes of it feel it so acutely. You reminded me of a poem, Antigonish, by Hughes Mearns.

  3. Lots of play here, Susie. I like it. My favorite is the "cage (that), holds what it won’t free?" That is almost a tie with ". . . the ghost that breathes, . . . "
    A Zombie here?

  4. Susie ... Susie ~~~ you are the Queen of Black Ink Howl poetry.

  5. Love the wordplay in this, and that splendid last line!