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February 5, 2021


It seems that, more and more, I feel myself being drawn to face the dreaded realization that I am certifiably mentally ill; not just depressed, or anxious, or emotionally exhausted, but deluded, my sensibilities having strayed well beyond the boundaries within which normal people experience reality. I have come to live in my own asylum, a refuge I’ve furnished with artifacts representative of the symptoms of my illness. The walls of my cell are a gallery of portraits illustrating my dreams and my nightmares, deliberately chosen to fill the needs of my hopes and fears to be illustrated by more than mere words.


As though to give further evidence of my dementia, each frame has, affixed to its reverse side, face to the wall as though ashamed to be seen in the light of day, a poem I’ve composed, either directly inspired by the subject it backs, or simply a verse that suits by coincidence the illustration to which it is matched. Every picture tells a history. The same goes for the several mirrors in here that present me with instant self portraits more accurately sketched than any my shaking hands would ever be capable of producing, even if I were an academically trained and practiced artist.


Regardless of my lack of talent with graphic media, I am able to assure myself that I have drawn many accurate representations of my own likeness in verse, though my numerous self-portraits vary in style from the soberly realistic to the absurdly abstract. There are `portraits of desire, despair, regret and redemption, naively innocent songs of joy, cynical dark hearted dirges, starkly penned depictions of loss and frustration; all being intended to offer testament to the author’s noble, but ultimately futile struggle with the chronic symptoms of terminal loneliness.


When it becomes obvious to others besides myself that I am disturbed beyond hope and they guide me from my self-styled asylum into one officially sanctioned as such, my gallery of foolishness will be discovered and my museum dismantled in order make it ready for the next lodger to occupy. I only wish I would be able to be present to observe the reactions of those who remove the frames from the walls and find my fragments of neatly typed lyrics taped to the back of each portrait and landscape. Will they make the connection between painting and verse? Or will they simply laugh to each other in agreement that the former occupant of this apartment was, in fact, a very, very odd bird?

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