Jmac wrote a very touching post here that got me thinking.
I have exactly six friends. That's a lot. I don't mean acquaintances or people I hang out with. I mean friends... the kind that would help you move a body. Of the six, two would take a bullet for me. One because he is stark raving mad, the other because he believes he is invincible which I suppose means he is also mad... but still, in the event of gunfire I know where to stand. Most of my closest friends are at best... unconventional.
I spent the majority of my professional life working with chronic schizophrenic clients. As a 'hobby', I commune with the homeless... can't help it... I am compelled to perform random acts of community service. I blame a childhood spent with a community active but distant dad and a wildly unpredictable mother.
My point (and i do have one here somewhere) is this: I have first name basis, up close and personal, intimate relationships with crazy that is not my own. My own crazy is out there too. If you squint just right you can see it here between the lines.
For me, not being able to say crazy would be the same as not being able to say blood runs through people's veins. For me, the word mad is a term of endearment.
Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people.
The Cat: Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
Alice: How do you know I'm mad?
The Cat: You must be. Or you wouldn't have come here.
The Day After Alex Went Crazy
in my helplessness I bought her a necklace.
each bead a shimmering crystal droplet
i wanted her to have light
for those black soundless days
she's wearing it today
caressing the familiar contours of each sphere
a familar gesture that
makes my eyes sting with salt because
I know the psychology of grieving
but she knows the geometry of tears
I wanted to write about Denis
how he has seven bottles of Scope
placed precisely on his window sill
turning sunlight cool blue and wintergreen
how he knows it is
sixteen steps to the kitchen
where he sits in the same place
and chews each bite twenty seven times
I wanted to show how he
paints characters in columns
straight lines of mysterious symbols
his secret alchemy of turning entropy to art
how he wears three stocking caps
stacked in the same sequence
and once cut holes in his walls
to search for the source of a voice
I wanted to tell how he thinks
that the lint on his sleeve is a talisman
and junk mail he receives is a sign
that when he read this poem
he said he was here in the sounds