“If I hurt you, I hurt myself.”
Often enough the concept and experience of madness has been romanticized and described in glamorous terms. In this instance, I use the term “madness,” more casually and not in the strictly clinical sense. I am not attempting to glorify madness in this piece. Anyone who has experienced their own brand of madness can probably attest to the difficulty, or at least the duality of such a spell. That two-sided coin of insanity is what I’m trying to discuss here. I’m also sharing the many opinions of madness that have been spoken by several different cultural figures in history and in our modern day. I want to talk about what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it makes people do, how ecstatic and how excruciatingly painful it can feel to experience madness. It can help us, it can save us, it can destroy us, it can control us. It is real, it is inside us all. Thanks for reading!
It Is Madness
Crazed! All daft loons!
Rotting, reeking in vases
Crying pink and white on
Counter tops, slipping down
Drains in sinks, in bathtubs,
Filled with Voltaire, Nietzsche,
Miller, salt-coated and shaking
In bathrobes, roasting by
Fireplaces, running down
It’s optimism! It’s a tonic! It is
Moonlight! It’s protection! It’s
In all of the cities! It is youth!
It is freedom! It destroyed a
Generation, we must leave the
Door to it ajar! Demented kooks,
Ripped open, leaking onto tables,
Fingers plunging in to tear it out,
Plug it up, put it back in, the
Nobility of souls! It is love!
Smoldering in doorways, stretched
Out on carpets, on floors, singing
Along, stepping on cracks, falling
Out of clothes, clutching at sheets,
Biting into shoulders, wailing
Against the ache of atrophy, against
A corrosive emptiness, bellowing,
It is vitality! It’s invigorating!
It’s every great genius! It’s sold
By the bottle! It is break-through
And enslavement! It is the mother!
It’s today! It is the rule of nations!
We’re given only just
A little spark of it!