He sits, bow-legged and cramped in the chairs that aren’t meant for anyone to be in them for too long
Picks at his cracked and dry fingernails
The soft tops of his shoes lifted by the curled knuckles of his toes
On the intake sheet, he fills out every bubble that says he is doing fine
We have seen each other here before, our alphabet soup of mental diagnoses linking us
I want to shake him, just a little, for the coonery and the fuckery that has nothing to do with the rest of this poem or either of us having bipolar disorder
I want to talk to him
Take our two jagged pieces and build something sharp, but still good
Bipolar disorder does not make me who I am, but it sure doesn’t stop me from going back to who I used to be
Kanye pops off on Twitter in what folks with bipolar disorder everywhere recognize is a manic episode and Kim Kardashian talks about trying to get him to go to therapy. Talks about taking a star so big and so bright that it close to imploding and asking it to shrink, not dim, so it can stay alive.
Do you know what it’s like to live in a body that calls your sickness your superpower?
To be your own Gotham city, and Joker, and dark alleyway?
My bipolar disorder is my superpower too, Kanye–
My brain is so strong,
it can bend reality, conjure ghosts out of shots of tequila or empty corners of a room, the cobwebs in the corners of my brain are coated in electric currents, and what a shock it is to be able to want to die and live at the same time
I have seen myself supernova so big and so bright I didn’t care that I was burning out, was just glad the world could see me as on fire as I feel inside all of the time
I know what you’re capable of Kanye
We can turn any man into a poem, especially the ones who want us dead. We can scoop stars from the sky and deep fry them in sunlight. Swim in the bags under our eyes. We can wilt, burst into flame, and be reincarnated within the hour. Our bones, our flesh, always sparkling new.
If my body is a wonderland, then my neurons are bumper cars. This merry-go-round of meds that don’t work. Every time my doctor has to change my meds, I don’t want to go back on them. Convince myself that mania is the same as being better, and that weeks of depression that follow are just something i can learn to deal with. Bipolar disorder is a tilt-a-whirl diagnosis. An amusement park meant to drop you from the freefall tower while you scream for it to go faster
See, Kanye, our brains love themselves in shards. Our tongues exclamation points ready to slice anyone who tries to take our powers away, saying anything we can just to remind ourselves that we can
Those white women who truly do not get you, who cannot love you, will not save you, but
This shit is genetic, so our blood can cradle us long after everyone has left, will cradle us long after our arms have forgotten how to
Those white women do not love you, but they are right about this one fucking thing–
That you need to be in therapy too, Kanye.
I understand not wanting to let go of it feeling this good, but it does not need to feel his bad.
We deserve stability that doesn’t feel like settling,
We deserve joy that does not land us in the hospital.
And I get it, if it was our choice, it would mean we’d have a choice out
That when we felt that good, that manic, the crash wouldn’t have to come
You can’t talent your way out of gravity
We can’t do things that make us sicker and then say we are not sick.
Cleo (They/Them) is a Black femme genderfluid poet and educator. They have been blessed with opportunities to perform up the east coast, and have publications out with Kissing Dynamite, Barren Magazine, and Pocketfire. They have recently had a poem nominated for best of the net. They hope for their poems to heal, hold, and rage.