On leaving Psychiatric hospital and entering six months rehab
For ten years I am Travis Bickle. Staring out exposition as bubbles pop and fizz. Surface bursts, not Magic Kingdom fireworks. I tell my therapist answers to questions he has yet to ask. His discomfort shuffles. Psychoanalytical bites at pitted, muddy nails betray enthusiasm, the proximity of a lunchtime feed. He has his troubles. Not in a glass or bottle. He is caged. Bars throw sunlight rectangles on straw-strewn concrete. My therapist chatters, points skyward with long arms, as if he can see Jim Jones descending with a tray of cold Kool-Aid. I am opposite this white-coated chimpanzee, drowning not dreaming. Simian Freudulent couch-chat saves me from an uncomfortable plastic chair in Guyana. Too much thinking is sending me blind. Cataracts milk my eyes, foam frothing the top of a beer glass. I move on, never see the ape again.
Guarding against stumbles, someone has my arm. He is a leather-harnessed Labrador. My sight, real and imagined, rises like Lazarus. Everything 20/20. For a split second I head the Disney Parade, baton twirl, velour costume, clammy inside a giant head. Then I see what I see. I will be here beyond the main feature and my outfit will be tatters. The Rapture has arrived, foreshadowed by capture - Cheeta and his Tarzan side-kick nod, each a wise owl. I beat my chest and howl at empty jungle dark.
Spoken at, not by animated zoo dwellers, but psychedelic versions of myself who are other people. I raid the fridge, I am broken. Cheese and onion and bread in expectation of vaccination. 'Are you lookin' at me?' I mumble at the starers, various me timelines, past, present and future, all with unique chimpanzee battles behind and ahead. I am going bananas. Only hearing evil, only seeing evil, only doing evil. To myself.