Submission for the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize

So I am working (feverishly–after all, isn’t “genius” 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration?) on finishing up a collection of “medical poetry” for the aforementioned contest (I found it through a scholarship website, but I don’t think you have to be a student; it’s not a lot of prize money, but the entry is free).  The submission had to fit a theme, and since I had the most poetry written about medical anomalies, I went with it.

I’ll admit, I’m not much of a “theme” person–I like to just “write whatever” (as evidenced in this blog), but this was a real challenge and I love challenges (writing ones, that is).

The collection must be at least 20 pages, so this, I believe, would cover it.

Complexities of the Mind and Body

Table of Contents

The Last Dance (Huntington’s disease)
Petals in the Wind (Capgras delusion)
The Moon is Blue (depression; lobotomies; electro-shock treatment)
Raining Bullets on the Fourth of July (PTSD)
Ace in the Hole (compulsive gambling)
Jeremy Johnson (autism)
The Memory Thief (Alzheimer’s)
The Hells of St. Mary (multiple personality disorder)
The Daily Mirror (body dysmorphia)
The Annexation of Angela (chimeras)
Her Fearless Symmetry (OCD)
The Color of Happy (synesthesia)
Seven Beautiful Days with Genevieve (bi-polar disorder; suicide)
Chasing Summer (seasonal affective disorder)
Waiting for Huntington (self-explanatory; I did a lot of research on this disease, and there was enough material for a book of poetry)

Waiting for Huntington


I never knew your secret,
until the day the symptoms came to call
like a doctor of Death.

They told you when you turned twenty-one,
you had about fifteen good years left.
I met you in a bar that night,
looking so bereft,
that I was drawn to you.

I was twenty-seven when,
over tears and a scotch and soda,
I told you I was barren;
it was then that you were drawn to me.

And it was after we fell in love,
you became my hero—
you became everyone’s hero.
You slew the fire-eating dragons
with water from the White Snake,
you saved my brother from the Deep,
from the Edge of the Horizon,
from the End of the World;
and another’s, a stranger’s,
whose name we never knew,
for it was nothing to you.
You fought with valor to slay the enemies in foreign lands,
as Great Balls of Fire exploded around you,
lighting up the earth like lava.
Reckless and brave, all at once.

The terrors of the night city you did not fear,
neither the cars you drove fast without purpose,
as if daring Death to take you,
and it is only now
that I know He is simply taking His time.