Monday, June 17, 2024

Why Can't I Just be Feral

There’s nothing worth claiming
in this sterile cottage of beds
where mirrors watch and secrets
are only as safe as the whispers that hide them.

It is not popular to be called insane
even though it is a plague that stalks
every mind, and torments the brain
with visions the tongue won’t describe. 

I came for help, a map that had little green trees
marking the path back to sanity, or that is what
I envisioned therapy would provide.

You don’t stroll through nightmares
or talk your way out of hell where
every thought is bolted to a rusty lock
that has long lost its key.

White coats with needle hands
stab me into faux relaxed long enough
to tighten the leather to keep me
from flying the coup of metal ribs.

One chases famous only to wish
it would leave you the hell alone.
I’ve honeymooned with every tabloid it seems,
although I wasn’t asked if I wished 
to be married to their distortions. 

Oh, why can’t I just be feral?
After all isn’t that what feeds
the top spot in the headlines.

I suppose someone will want to publish
my memoirs, collect all those inky journals,
to expose the only prayer I ever wrote
was a plea for the window ledge
to be wide enough to hold both feet.

©Susie Clevenger 2024



  1. This pulls no punches and it staggers and dances with loose madness and a solid truthfulness that leaves the reader a little bit breathless, whether from exhilaration, fear, or something else I can't describe. Probably a mix of all of those. There is a clear wish to escape, but also a sneaky pride here, as if delivery into an easy life would never satisfy, despite the expressed state of mind being desperate, painful, and inwardly frenetic. This is what poets do, describing the indescribable.

  2. This certainly goes the extra mile and makes you feel the forlorn. Great observation of the world we like in.

  3. Susie, I cannot deliver a more succinct review than Shay ..... You traveled to the depths of "you" for this. Beautifully composed.

  4. Those closing lines could not sum up the story told in this poem more perfectly. Wow, Susie. Amazing work.

  5. "You don't stroll through nightmares . . . ." Indeed you don't. You run with feral madness to escape and the twists and turns of thought here make us feel how difficult and despairing that can be.

  6. What a powerful ending to such a rich poem - I could really empathise with the context too - Jae

  7. As usual, Susie, you don't miss the mark--every line evocative and fierce. Your close on this poem is especially exceptional. You write pain passionately and with dynamic precision.

  8. Outstanding, Susie! Those little green trees are not always marked.
    This poem made me think of Anne Sexton.

  9. Agreed about Anne Sexton, esp the "Oh, why can’t I just be feral?" refrain.