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Institutional Memories

By Carmelita Estrellita

Honorable Discharges at the Dementia Center

don't part your lips on the dementia ward
unless you want to be crammed full of puree
you're in the company of mostly angels
who've already made it past their judgment day

don't open your mouth on the memory unit
unless you've got nothing to say
you're in the presence of people
who never imagined they'd be this way

between the two of us
only one of us knows who we are
my money's on you but I'll bet your money's on me too
until I don't think it matters anymore

one of us is here
one of us is gone
both of us are at a distance
barren and long

don't stop along the highway
you'll miss the light in her eyes
put your own concerns away for a while
and prepare to be surprised

don't open your kisser on the nutjob wing
if you don't expect to be stuffed
don't open your piehole don't open your bible don't think about survival
in a dining room full of people who've officially had enough

(I've Got You) Under My Tongue

there's a patient population
tranquilized and stunned
waiting for you to discover us
keep it under your tongue

sometimes when my daddy comes
it's almost worth every pill
he wouldn't ever come to see me at all
if he didn't think I was mentally ill

sometimes when a new inmate arrives
they last a while before the drugs kick (them) in
the rest of us know it's a losing battle
but it doesn't stop us from pulling for him or her to win

there's a geriatric dumping ground
I've seen where it is
old people mumbling with food on their faces
hurting to live

I've been over to the big barber shop
in the basement of building five
my daddy likes to see me with a buzzcut
so he knows I'm not alive

I'm good friends with slow learners
we're all prisoners here
sharing what's left of us among each other's
the only way to make the bars on the windows disappear

I've been workshopped
I've been bled
force-fed psychotropic injections
for disease I've never had

I've been diagnosed
to be put through
paying for being outnumbered
by the likes of you

they took my ward mate down to the shock shop
executed him one weakness at a time
first he didn't know who I was then he didn't who he was
and at fourteen he was soon to be past his prime

(share our defeat later while you can
right now I want to see you fly
as far away as you can get from here
behind your eyes

smile while you can still mean it
laugh out loud
celebrate life one last time
because in here it's not allowed)

they're taking my ward mate down to the morgue
boy he looks so small
his face all melted onto the front of his mind
in his eyes no one at all

more pills for the rest of us
but tonight I'm going out over the hill
I get to still believe in miracles
on account of I'm mentally ill

sometimes when my daddy comes
I can't get my fill
and he wouldn't come to see me at all
if he didn't think I was mentally ill

From April, 2014

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Tracked on April 15, 2014 04:20 PM