Guide to Madness

The rain is the color of instant coffee
A No Parking sign leans at an angle somewhere between 45 and 90
Nothing else is certain
The orange pixelated letters announcing the upcoming bus stop
Are blurred
The truth of many conversations
As a unit, is background noise
It’s raining only at the edge of the awnings

Madness is a popular word
People are proud to be mad
And prouder still to know that they are
Madness means different
Or it means entertaining, to watch
It means neurotic New York Jews
Drug induced genius, tormented artist,
Justified, worshiped, voracious need.

Madness is the space between what’s true
And what’s unknown. The interpretable space –
As David Foster Wallace would say
The never-quiet fears and hopes
Fears of the hopes
The always in question, in flux
The stay up at night, alone in a crowd
Driving down a dark highway, with a heart broke

But enter the filthy, the hopeless
The survivors of suicide
The unsuccessfully mad
The person you once knew who is no longer herself
This is unacceptable madness
This is tragedy that no art can justify
She had so much potential
This is perversion, waste of a life

The space between normal and broken
Between conformity and a self
Between the beginning of your mind
And the end of you soul
There’s more there than every
Beautiful sunset and child’s smile
Every distant star and mathematical discovery
It’s easy to stay.