by Joanna Gilman Hyde

written in the year 2000, Barrington Passage, NS


I want You for My Candy Man Caramel

I mean Camera Man

I want Your One Eye for Mine

All Mine

before the ball gets rolling

I want You to drive with Me

in Your Big Rich Car

I want You to walk with Me

through the smelly corridor

to My Place

so You know You’re in The Right Place

The Place of Its own dis-stink-tion

Oh, You can take Your Camera out all right

just don’t aim it at My Face

just get The Incoming Hall

show The Interior on Its way — The Way

to My Living Gallery

complete with Hall of Fame and Identity Room

I want You as Dr Drosselmeyer

with a black patch

with Me as Your Director

with You as The Player

of Me Your Instrument

carry Your Instrument

to The Second Floor

and ring the buzzer

see if They let Us in

shall I show You My Hall of Fame?

the only section with any natural light

over here to the left with sun

actual sun — if They haven’t got it locked

We can see The Anonymous Work

of Former Patients and My Brother’s Mural

on an Eastern window a close-up

of The North End of Our Island

with the full moon above a fishing boat

across from It is My Maple Leaf Map

of Quebec with Its South-Western Boundary

explained to a man with no name

as The Region of Poetic Lie-Sense

You can zoom in on that My Man and aim

above to the ceiling where You’ll find

ceiling tiles gaily painted and unsigned

One of them

is Mine

more ice cream

You know what?  I painted once

there an ice cream sundae

The Fire Alarm was The Cherry On Top

somebody painted a wall over It

and nobody knows why

but it’s sunny down that Hall of Fame

at least it’s sunny

The Man With No Name

has a place to go before They lock Him

out of there

into The Cloister I’ll eagerly take You

before We get to The Inner Sanctum

(well We have no choice with The Cloister

It houses The Inner Sanctum where My Identity lurks)

now steady That Hand as I show You

images of My Past Present Future

(We’ll ignore The Observation Desk

just look straight ahead)

on the wall before You

across from You as You enter

The Light-less Cloister

is The Image of Mother and Child

playing with dough

I call this My Foundation

under It I was interviewed once

as to why I was Present and now

The Furniture has changed

the table and two chairs of The Assessment have been replaced

by a settee

My Past Life with My Mother — My Mother’s Dream

where no one was present but Ourselves

is replaced

on the adjacent wall to the right

of My Past

hangs My Present My Gift

My Dream observed by You My Lover

where I sit in ruffled white

at the age of fourteen

distracted by a dark kitten

above My Left Shoulder

I am couched in a rattan chair

thrown with exotic fabric

picture book upon My Open Lap

tiger rug at Black Stockinged Feet

My Present My Game My Fantasy

and Yours hangs upon This Wall to be walked past

A Wall once housing a big white bulletin board

displaying patients’ “levels”

now moved down the Hall of Bedrooms

The Bedrooms have no sun either

hold Your Camera down down

We do not need to go Down There

The Sleep I’ve had in Those Rooms

has been therapeutic sleep


lied about

The Dreams There were of black globs

I was a gelatinous black cloud of quivering coal

until I heard an alarm somewhere


out into the hall I leapt to save The Life

as only I could of A Man I see linked to Me

for My Sanity when I’m There

enough of The Past – let’s talk

to A Woman named Lorraine

for Whom all that glitters IS gold

Whose art is the lyric of colour

with seeds made into flowers

“Hi Dr Blair what are You doing with that camera?”

She would ask

I would ask

“Lorraine could I see Your earring collection?”

and I would arrange Them for You only You

to show You My Annual Cycle of Life for Aliens

I would find the felt-blue crystal shapes

for winter at three o’clock

the double raindrops for spring at six

the fireworks for summer at nine and for fall

the pumpkin shells at midnight

I would put one four-leaf clover in the middle

and hand You the mate for good luck

for We must always have a bit o’green

Lorraine has a lipstick collection too

forty in all since We gave Her four new ones

for Christmas

and You know She grows a beard a goatee

and I told You how picking The Colours

became a test for Me:

what’s a true red

a true pink

a true orange and a real brown?

I’ll take You now

by Your Left Hand over to The Desk

where The Image of My Future glares

out from the eyes of A Dark Haired Child

in white with blue satin sash holding

a basket of cherries She stops Us

at the door to The Medication Room

from Her Left Finger Tips dangle two heart-shaped cherries

within the glistening bivalves I see

My Self and My Other Half

The Poison and The Remedy

being told ordered to take take take but

THIS is My Future

THIS is My God in Your Face

and for You just You I will touch

Your Face and turn Your Head away

toward The Therapeutic Quiet Room

where They put Me

by force of Code White Team

including one black doctor

(after I attempted to secure Lorraine’s Expression

in a vault on The Administration Floor)

They locked  Me in That Room

where I lay on a mattress

doing all I could do

looking around and around

to the writing on the wall

I saw A Star drawn at My Head

and The Word C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N

along My Right and I knew then

I’d been tricked and found

God put Me in that Inner Sanctum

to find My True Self

My Identity

in The Writing On The Wall

but I was still alive

so I could finally say

“I Am A Star and My Message

My Tag Line is COMPASSION”

God laughed cruelly at Me There

on That Mattress God — My Own God-Damned God

howled through Me at the irony

and off I stripped My Golden Tee

to show anything that happened to be underneath

come now let Me show You

yes We’ll go in There — They’ll let Us

They can’t “handle” Me anymore

We’ll go into that cubicle

behind waist-high louvred windows

I’ll show You just where I sat

in a black bra and You can see My Back

The Sky is on My Back

You can zoom in and I’ll name

the three-dimensional mole The Sun

and You can shoot Me lying down

while I cover My Face with My Hands