[Transcript] Clementine von Radics – Patron Saint of Manic Depressives

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

Patron Saint of Manic Depressives
by Clementine von Radics

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

Unavoidable

My fatalistic point of view is unavoidable
I apologise for having molded that part of me
It was the only way I could had survived
Myself, my very own enemy

Sometimes, I forget
and those days will be fine
And sometimes I remember,
or someone reminds me
and still–those days will be fine too

2017

 

// A colleague was surprised reading my handwriting. “I have never thought that you have this baseline,” she said–pointing at my sentences that curve down in the middle but go slightly back up in the end. And a few moments of analysing later, in the inside I was like: yeah, that is me, I have forgotten for awhile, but I guess that is true.