Mind Odyssey

 

For all who suffer from
mental afflictions

1

“A multi-headed monster—within my mind—
spews scary thoughts of every horrid kind.”

“The doctor said that I have OCD.
It feels as if the devil has got me.”

“It seems I’ve lost my soul and hope in God.
I feel myself as doomed and faithless fraud.”

“When I felt full of love, life felt worthwhile.
Not now—when I feel full of all that’s vile.”

“Whatever thought stirs in me great aversion,
erupts, like ones of violence and perversion.”

“It looks like everywhere I tread there’s proof
that I am lost and hope has vanished—poof!”

“Impervious to feelings—dense as stone—
I feel I’m doomed to lovelessness, alone.”

“The emptiness and hopelessness that I’ve felt
seems well-deserved card that I’ve been dealt.”

“With all the awful tumult in my head,
just misery—and terror—lie ahead?”

“I can’t see any further, miss the past
as by my present state I am aghast.”

“I’m half the man I used to be—or less—
a fragment that erodes to nothingness.”

“Cut off from other people—and from God—
I’m like a lifeless tree trunk that was sawed.”

“Within my mind, the unrelenting dark
will gobble me—as if it were a shark.”

“My mind was woven on a stellar loom
but now has sunken to infernal gloom.”

“I tried to be a saint, without desire,
but that just added gasoline to fire.”

“I want to touch and sense life’s joys—like love—
but thick with thoughts my mind’s a winter glove.”

“My faith that once felt solid now is cracked
with God now feeling absent and abstract.”

“It seems the thoughts I have are who I am:
a person which an angry God would damn.”

“We’re all aboard one boat upon a sea:
the boat that’s sinking, called mortality.”

“I want to grow toward God like trees to the sun.
I chopped my chance and have no second one.”

2

“Within my mind, not only monsters speak:
an Advocate points toward the life I seek.”

“Through actions, you escape a mental prison,
and come to life, as if from death you’ve risen.”

“Mind monsters form in us when fears congeal,
but you see past them life they would conceal.”

“Your fears congealed into a mental bully,
but standing up to him, you live life fully.”

“Don’t let the bully tell you what to do:
the life you want to live is calling you.”

“The monster you are facing lies within
and lies about its size—small as a pin.”

“The giant in your mind appears so big,
though in the tree of life it’s just a twig.”

“Disturbing monsters in your mind have entered,
but they’re peripheral when you’re life-centered.”

“Mind monsters seem to be as tough as steel,
and rob your joy—You needn’t let them steal.”

“Mind monsters make you feel you are alone,
but lots of people face beasts like your own.”

“Can you live well? Mind monsters will say “No!”
But you can prove them wrong before you go.”

“Mind phantoms may affect the way you feel,
but you can reach for life and touch the real.”

“Neuronal ghouls splash ripples in your mind
but can’t touch solid life you’ll make and find.”

“A monster told you that you should give up,
but blessings keep on pouring in life’s cup.”

“A need for certainty spreads like a cancer,
but you can live, uncertain of the answer.”

“The monster bites and leaves a lasting ache,
but it can’t keep you from the life you’ll make.”

“Lift misconception veils so you can see
that the truth is not a puddle—it’s a sea.”

“Though mental monsters in you bite and scorn,
the life you want and work toward can be born.”

“Like ghosts, the thoughts within your mind may haunt,
but you are alive—and can strive for the life you want.”

“Disarming mental monsters, you are drawn
to rise as from the dead, and like the dawn.”

This illustrated couplet series “Mind Odyssey”,
inspired by Sean Hinnock’s “Draw Your Monster” initiative,
is available as a booklet: Mind Odyssey

Mario A. Pita

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Pianina

for Nate Shaffer, Piano Teacher

Two brothers, named Staccato and Legato,
had different ways of walking, and although
they often got along with one another
they fought of how to walk and asked their mother
who had it right; Staccato, taking stabbing steps
or else Legato, moving quadriceps
in ways that made the steps sound fully blended
until the stroll or faster walk had ended.
Pianina, mom of these fraternal twins
exclaimed that neither way of walking wins
and both were good, depending on your mood,
like sometimes you may choose a different food.

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Two other brothers with this mother were
Pianissimo and Fortissimo, and each was sure
their way of speaking, very soft or very loud,
was right, and only it should be allowed.
They whispered and they hollered as they fought
then went to ask their mother what she thought
or rather what she knew through being old
and wise. They’d do as they were told.
Pianina, mother of these kids that quarreled,
proclaimed that there was room in our wide world
for speaking of all volumes, low to high,
a range that’s like from thunder to a sigh.

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Two other kids of hers, a girl and boy,
Soprana and Basso, would differently employ
their voices, feeling pitches, high or low,
were best for words one spoke or sung to flow
like lovely rivers. So they had a feud,
and low and lofty chattering ensued
about which range of pitches was the best.
They asked their mother which one should be blessed.
Pianina, mom of these two feuding siblings
suggested they could learn from watching saplings:
“Their roots dig lower while their limbs grow lofty,
and both are needed.” She said, scolding softly.

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Minora and Majora, daughters of
this wise mom pouring on her children love,
had vastly differently personalities:
one melancholic, full of mysteries,
the other bright and cheery. They’d dispute
which one of them was right and best and cute,
and which should be disguised as with a mask.
They just agreed their mom was good to ask.
Pianina, mom of these disputing girls
assured them that they each were treasured pearls,
and oceans in which pearls have formed are wide,
with beauty everywhere, not just one side.

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Some other daughters of this mom, so many
took steps of varied lengths from short to plenty.
Some steps were more like halves, some like a leap
to somewhere very high or low and deep.
Just like their siblings, all these sisters squabbled,
of taking steps that nibbled or that gobbled
the space between them. To restore the calm
at least they could agree to ask their mom.
Pianina, mom of these precocious sisters
who on their steps were adamant insisters,
said steps of every length, from long to short,
were grand, and we need steps of every sort.

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Some children of this mother dressed in white,
and they were longer and much more wide
than siblings who instead were clad in black,
more slender and receded to the back
of where they lived. They lined up in a row
and fought about which way was best to grow,
and since they couldn’t come to an accord,
they asked their mom of why they long had warred.
Pianina, mother of these warring kids,
closed her eyes and said with shut eye lids,
“It’s time you see that like there’s day and night,
your opposites are grand, and both are right.”

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Two brothers, Lento and Presto, were at odds
about the speed of walking, feeling God’s
ordained, desired speed was slow or fast,
one brother in a blink would scurry past,
the other one would move as though a snail
for which a leaf seems at a giant scale.
They asked their mom to settle their long quarrel
of moving like a snail or like a squirrel.
Pianina, who was mother of these two
declared that slow was grand and fast was too
and that the world has room for every speed
from lightning fast to slow growth of a seed.

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Consonance and Dissonance, a pair
of twins, were opposites. While one would swear
and make a ruckus with her rowdy gang,
the other was polite, and her friends sang
in ways that sounded pleasing to the ear.
They argued over what was best to hear,
a rukus that was rough around the edges
or pleasantness like neatly pruned hedges.
Pianina, mother of these opposites
said, “In the world, each way of being fits.
In different ways, each one of us is meant
to play our lives as though an instrument…”

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“My children, though you’re different, each of you
is treasured by me, loved since your debut,
now long ago so some may not remember;
you’re each adored as special family member.
Though others in the world may often fight
about which way is wrong and which is right
and give each other pain and woe and fright,
together you can be more sweet than honey,
enriching Earth with what it needs, harmony;
your ways of being, varied and unique,
a pleasure many people always seek,
that even makes them sing instead of speak!”

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This illustrated story is available in booklet form: Pianina

Mario A. Pita

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Fabric Camera

for Emily

When you were still a kid and liked to sew,
you made a replica of something mine,
my Nikon camera, as way to show
your sewing skills and also as a sign
of love you felt with something made of felt,
a fabric which you used for lots of cute
creations like the camera you built
that made a picture though it couldn’t shoot:
although it had no lens for looking through,
through it, I see your love so beautifully.
As camera, it’s fake, but what is true
is worth far more and means a lot to me:
Though love may not be seen, it may be shown
through something wonderful like what you’ve sewn.

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Mario A. Pita

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Handwritten

For Harita

How wonderful it feels now to receive
a card or letter written out by hand,
its personal, warm touch that can relieve
the coldness of a digital dry land,
where it’s a species nearly now extinct
as if it had been hunted down or banned
in years elapsing fast as eyes that blinked,
with instant messages in high demand.
But, thankfully, some, like you, keep alive
an art that otherwise would slowly perish,
and, celebrating people, make it thrive,
creating something solid they can cherish.
Computers help write books or lengthy theses.
Your hands, though, keep alive a lovely species.

Handwritten

Mario A. Pita

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Brainwaves

Electrodes planted all around my head
sprouted out as rows of wavy lines,
a skilled researcher with some software read,
amazingly then sifting through the signs
of consciousness and firings that led
to motion from a web that intertwines,
through which electric pulses being fed
leave traces while my bulb—awareness—shines.
As I observed the waves traced from my brain,
of sharp or sloping, varied frequencies,
I marveled at how thoughts can fall like rain
and ripple out across electric seas.
I saw as seas the thoughts I felt were deep
and oceans too the ones that made me weep.

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Mario A. Pita

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Mind World

It seems to be a world of swirling clouds
that shift their shapes as if in gusting wind.
Their quickly changing color thickly shrouds
a surface that’s unseen as they’re not thinned.
I stared in wonder at the world on screen,
at each swirl that looked like a hurricane,
aware that what—in fact—I’d seen
were current fluctuations in my brain.
Electrodes made a movie of that world
that’s in the cosmic darkness of my head,
electrical activity which swirled
transcribed by sensors so it could be read.
Beholding enthralled, I was an astronaut
who stared from orbit at a world of thought.

Mario A. Pita

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Supports

We’ve gathered to support each other, speaking
about the ailment we’re afflicted by
and found, in talk, support that we were seeking,
our friends and families could not supply,
as no one understands like those who’ve known
firsthand our challenges and can reply
in ways that make us feel we’re not alone
through gatherings on which we can rely.
But like a bridge requires more than one
support to stand across a rippled river,
we need supports beyond just talk—like fun,
which gives support that talking can’t deliver:
to better face afflictions that may sting,
we gather to support through play—and sing!

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Mario A. Pita

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