Clementine von Radics – “Patron Saint of Manic Depressives” @WANPOETRY (TGS 2016)

Clementine von Radics – “Patron Saint of Manic Depressives” @WANPOETRY (TGS 2016)


For Vincent Van Gogh Patron Saint of Psychotic Manic Depressives Often I think of Vincent
and the meat that was once his ear how he gave it to a pretty girl that was not certain
of his name and then spent the night alone trying not to bleed to death And ever since my own diagnosis, some part
of me is always alive and inside that moment And I picture the scared girl, the bleeding painter,
the jagged flesh between them and sometimes I am the girl, sometimes I am the dripping blood, but most often I am the one offering up some
unwanted mess of myself and calling it a gift. On the worst days, to be manic depressive is to stand on ground that can’t promise to stay beneath you it is to be both violence and victim both the knife and flesh that welcomes it in And so often in these poems, in a lover’s bed at my mother’s kitchen table I offer up the truth of this illness And watch the people I love
pull themselves away from me I am chaos I am a barely hidden bar fight and I know exactly how many people believe
that makes me impossible to love There are days I believe it too I am in love with a good man He sleeps beside me every night and every time he says he loves me
my first thought is “why?” Can’t you see all the nicer people with fewer problems? My second thought is “good” Who else is going to love me when he decides to stop? It is so easy to lose myself in the mess of this. To say I love you and mean only I’m sorry but I try and think about Vincent Van Gogh How his first teacher said only
a madman could paint like that Only in madness could you hold so much joy
and grief in the same paintbrush and in that thought every drop of paint
and blood joins in the same river like how every sunflower bursts like
a star from Vincent’s wild heart You know art historians say his mania is the reason
he saw the starry night sky swirl like that His illness became his genius
which became his revelation and thank the stars for that miracle for the way we work our broken fingers through the dirt ’til we convince the good to grow there I have spent countless nights grieving my own brain but tonight I sing of its brilliance In the way that only I can, and thank the stars for that for this new joy, for this good blood for the beauty I find and the river
it takes to carry me there and I swear I will not apologize
for what allows me to see the sky Not tonight Not ever again.

23 Replies to “Clementine von Radics – “Patron Saint of Manic Depressives” @WANPOETRY (TGS 2016)”

  1. "for the way we work
    our broken fingers
    through the dirt til
    we convince
    the good
    to grow there"

    poet

  2. for Vincent van Gogh, Patron Saint of Psychotic Manic Depressives
    often, I think of Vincent and the meat that once was his ear
    how he gave it to a pretty girl that was not certain of his name
    and then spent the night alone
    trying not to bleed to death
    and ever since my own diagnosis
    some part of me is always alive
    and inside that moment, and I picture
    scared girl
    the bleeding painter
    the jagged flesh between them
    and sometimes I am the girl
    sometimes I am the dripping blood
    but most often, I am the one offering up some unwanted mess of myself
    and calling it a gift
    on the worst days,
    to be manic depressives is to stand on ground
    that can’t promise to stay beneath you
    it is to be both violence and victim
    both the knife and flesh that welcomes it in and so often in these poems
    in a lovers bed
    in my mothers kitchen table
    I offer up the truth of this illness
    and watch the people I love, pull themselves away from me
    I am chaos
    I am a barely hidden bar fight
    and I know exactly how many people believe
    that makes me impossible to love
    there are days I believe it too
    I am in love with a good man
    he sleeps beside me every night and every time he says he loves me
    my first thought is: why?
    can’t you see all the nicer people with fewer problems
    my second thought is that: who else is gonna love me when he decides to stop
    it is so easy to lose myself in the mess of this
    to say I love you and mean only I’m sorry
    but I try and think about Vincent van Gogh,
    how his first teacher said only a mad man could paint like that
    only in madness could you hold so much joy and grief in the same paintbrush
    and in that thought, every drop of paints and blood joins in the same river
    like every sunflower bursts like a star from Vincent’s wild heart
    you know
    art historians say his mania is the reason he saw the starry night skies swirl like that
    his illness became his genius
    which became his revelation
    and thank the stars for that miracle
    for the way we work our broken fingers through the dirt
    ’til we convince the good to grow there
    I have spent countless nights grieving my own brain
    but tonight, I sing of its brilliance
    in the way that only I can
    and thanks the stars for that
    for this new joy
    for this good blood
    for the beauty I find in the river it takes to carry me there
    and I swear
    I will not apologize for what allows me to see the sky
    not tonight
    not ever again

  3. I relate to this… it seems every poem about mental illness are the words I am trying so hard to say. Maybe I'm just hiding behind the words of someone strong enough to say them, but dammit life is hard. I don't know the right words or how to explain why they mean so much to me. If poetry didn't hold my hand, I would be far to scared to say "I've felt that…"

  4. It hits me so hard when she says I offer the truth of this illness and watch the people I love pull themselves away from me.

  5. Clementine I love this. After a suicide attempt little over 2 yrs ago I was diagnosed Bi-Polar 2 and ADHD. Poetry has always spoken to my heart;pictures with words. Thank you.

  6. My diagnosis isn't BPD. I've maintained MDD my entire life with ever worsening, until recently undiagnosed cPTSD. The symptoms of the PTSD have become so severe and stand in such contrast to the MDD…I feel every word…and yup now I'm crying…but oh my this was just…I have to feel this again. I'm not listening to this, I am feeling this. So hard.

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