Published by Bill Braga in Memories, Psychology, Psychiatry, Shamanism
I open my eyes and the same scene repeats itself once again: Valerie lying on the bed beside me, I on the floor, the same room, same TV, same doors. The days were always the same, dragging on endlessly inside that prison clinic. I couldn’t stand the monotony anymore, the sameness of it all. Especially since I had been let out before, breathed the airs of freedom for a short time before being locked back up again. I had strolled through the streets … Ah, how I miss crowds of people, the beauty of walking aimlessly, spying every look, catching glimpses of inspiration around every corner, poetizing the world. It was like a metamorphosis, I had freed myself from my traps, from the average caterpillar that I was. I had gained wings, I had opened the doors of perception, and I wanted nothing more than to just be myself – strolling and poetizing. Is that a symptom of insanity!? It’s like I once read somewhere: in a mad world, only the mad are sane…
Fragments. Nonlinear thoughts. Connections. I see beyond the visible. There is no remedy to “cure” me with. In my room there are two doors. One of them, always open, leads to the corridor, a link to my comrades, to all species. It is kept open, always ready to receive visitors, sane or insane. It was the access route to my universe, all are invited to come through it. The other door is always kept closed. I know what’s on the other side. The closed door is the icon of the segregation and castration that they attempt to impose on me.
By this time, much has been said, poorly said, inner-said, since that carnival’s eve traveling with my girlfriend. Current ex? I don’t know where she is these days, my memories are so murky. She’s come by before, she doesn’t anymore. Between a gasp of freedom and surrounding incarceration, we saw each other. I remember flashes. I don’t want her to fall from my memory, she still dwells in my heart. But she’s not here anymore. Will she ever come back?
Tatiana isn’t here either. Her voice doesn’t even whisper in my ear anymore, nor does her presence make my heart skip a beat. They have deprived me of her company, of Sandra’s, the sweet carioca, and of everyone’s … I was deprived of the loves that bothered and enflamed my heart. But I wasn’t alone yet. Behind the other door, the closed one, there was someone there on the other side.
It wasn’t just anyone, it was someone special, someone who placated the pain of being. I remember the day when I was in the patio, alone in one of the kiosks, melodizing on the guitar the sorrows of my being. It was always a joyful moment for me. I would sit at one of the old kiosks and fingerpick, sing, exorcizing my pain away. I shared with whoever was interested, and gradually they would come around, singing, listening, laughing. On this day, I noticed another kiosk in the distance. She was there. Still, inert, a melancholic look in her eyes, looking without seeing, reflecting the sorrow of the soul. I played on with my eyes fixed on her. But my melodies did not arouse any effect on her, there seemed to be no harmony between her and the world, she looked numb. Finally, I decided to sit, the guitar and I at her side. She threw me a sideways glance. I fingerpicked a little more, we exchanged a few words. How beautiful was the sadness reflected in her eyes.
The next day I was sitting down waiting for the patio gate to open. She sneaked up suddenly and sat down beside me. We didn’t talk much, we just looked at each other. And a kiss was the natural response of our troubled souls. From then on this girl, Fernanda, became my companion in incarceration. She was the one behind that closed door. The door that separated the last room of the male wing, mine, with the first aisle of the female wing, hers.
Simply knowing that she was there on the other side placated the loneliness and sorrow of being isolated, captive. Yet another ingredient in this soup of madness. Poor poets, slaves to their volatile hearts, to their necessity to constantly fall in love.
Leaning my back against that closed door, I started writing to get some things off my chest, in the hope of one day being heard.
“At the present time I have found a lovely woman, whose name I cannot reveal, but who might be the woman of my dreams. Except that the people here don’t allow us see each other. This is how someone living in a prison feels. Men and women can’t even talk together in peace. Without any ulterior motives, just to spend time together. After all, we were made to love. Everyone loves someone and in the way they want to. But it is different here in Pinel. (…) It’s absurd. Whatever, life goes on. I wanted to see her no matter what, it was as if my life depended on that unexpected visit. But it was just LOVE coming back to manifest in my life. No pressure, no psychoses or neuroses. Just love in its simplest manifestation. Love for all the friends I made here, love for her, my inspiring muse who gave me the enthusiasm to write these pages. No disrespect to the owner of the clinic, but he can go fuck himself! Men and women deserve the company of the opposite sex. But life in this mental clinic is not so simple. Here there are paid professionals on staff to prevent human contact. They fulfill their duties, and as for us romantics, we are like headless chickens. Such is love, it grabs us by the elbow when we least expect it. Women deceive me as you will see in the sequence of events. But wait a while. I want her now, but there’s no way. What now? What do I do? Write. Try to relax, listen to some good music. What can you do, right? Do nothing. Write about the indescribable, try to vent the sorrows of a broken heart, one tired of being trampled on and abused.”
And I was invaded by the immortal verses of the little poet comrade, Vinicius de Moraes:
“This is why we were made:
To remember and to be remembered
To cry and make others cry
To bury our dead
This is why we have long arms, for goodbyes
Hands to gather what was given
Fingers to dig the earth.
So shall be our lives:
An afternoon to forget
A star to fade into darkness
A path between two graves
Therefore we need to ensure
Speak softly, tread lightly, see
The night sleeping in silence
Not much to say:
A song over a cradle
A verse, perhaps, of love
A prayer for those departing
But may you not forget this hour
And to it, our hearts
Leave them, grave and simple.
For this we were made
To hope for a miracle
For the participation of poetry
To see the face of death
Perhaps we will never wait again…
Today the night is young: from death only
We are born, immensely.”