Bipolar–dVerse Poetics


While this story is fictional, I have worked with patients and friends who have bipolar disorder. The prompt that our gifted Claudia Schoenfeld offers today at dVerse Poetics, challenges us to engage in conversation. We’ve all experienced self-talk, I’m sure. You’re invited in to eavesdrop.


“Look outside,” I tell you.
But you ignore both me
and the hawk posed upon
our redwood fence,

striated tail in tones
of golden brown and black.
“Hurry,” I say, “You’ll miss him.”
Your shoulders slump,

unblinking eyes fix upon the screen,
follow the red jack you drag
over to the queen of spades.

Was it just last Wednesday?
You dragged me to the mall,
paid in credit for a Persian rug,
paid with money we don’t have.

Golden brown and black
and orange and red—the colors
that you coveted,
and here you are.

Your silence screams, echos
down the hall. Dissipates
into the shadows.

You coax the final king
and plop him on his queen.
The monitor explodes in
bursts of color.

Slamming the laptop shut,
I hurry to my room,
ignoring crimson leaves
and gold.

My medication sits,
untouched for days,
beside my bed.

Sidle up to the bar with us at dVerse Poetics and listen in to some more conversation. Bring a poem of your own…


23 thoughts on “Bipolar–dVerse Poetics

  1. A very poignant example of self-talk and a glimpse into the world of people with bi-polar disorder. Thank you, Victoria, for sharing this thought-provoking poem.


  2. Beth Winter says:

    Excellent and so very true to life. Your insight brought the disorder to light with grace for there should be no shame for what one can’t control. I respected you as a person before this poem, I respect you even more deeply now. The conversation is excellent, the portrayal one with honor.



  3. How artfully you inhabit the patient here. The pace and the “other voice” going on in the background as though he/she were plugged into two different radio/tv channels at once. One wanting no action, the other demanding action and the spirit not knowing which to hear, to which respond. Excellent, really!


  4. tinkwelborn says:

    colorfully expressed via thoughts and visuals.
    to do or not to do,
    impulse vs. intention,
    to be or not to be.
    good piece of work.


  5. The game expertly played in words. It is sad that patients often cease meds when they feel well and then fail to see the signs of decline.

    Brilliant write.

    Anna :o]


  6. kaykuala says:

    A bi-polar reaction can be quite testing. Puts one off tangent for no reason. I know someone in her 80s not wanting to take her medicines. She missed a few days once and that ebbed her strength for otherwise she moved around the house independently.



  7. vivinfrance says:

    I have known sufferers, so your poem rang all sorts of bells with me. It would be such a boon if the meds could be improved so that they stood more likelihood of being taken.


  8. Mama Zen says:

    That ending is chilling. Excellent write.


  9. kez says:

    bi – polar ….a condition of extremes on occasions …think it’s relevant you have patience on the monitor …we all need it ….thank you x


  10. manicddaily says:

    Ha! Terrific. Very funny. (I kept thinking of Jerzy Kosinski==Being There, etc.) Enjoyed much. K.


  11. libithina says:

    ‘The monitor explodes in
    bursts of color’ ~
    real high ~
    what lovely descriptives ~
    hard to control as medications side effects take their own toll ~
    greatly insightful ~
    ~ Lib ~


  12. Mary says:

    Deep, disturbing, brilliant. Pills not taken. I wonder how uncommon this is. I have heard some say that they are most creative when NOT on meds. Meds are a mixed blessing for some, I think.


  13. Ravenblack says:

    It’s sad. There’s a tendency not to want to take those medication because of the undesirable side effects. It can take a few rounds to figure out the dosage and the course of that has its own ups and downs. It’s a battle and such requires a lot of support and it is difficult for all. Very well portrayed in the poem.


  14. zongrik says:

    it’s hard to deal with bi-polar people. you love them so much, and they rip you apart anyway, and they can’t really help it.


  15. wordcoaster says:

    Awesome poem with so much stunning imagery–love the colors weaved throughout 🙂
    Here’s one of my own that’s similar but with a quite different slant:


  16. bipolars love being off their meds, don’t they? lol


  17. My Father is bipolar so this was a pertinant read for me.
    So many images resonate here, the game playing, the defeat, the paying for things without funds, the ignoring of the real colours of life.
    So real and so emotively written.
    Beautiful, dynamic, compassionate poetry.


  18. souldipper says:

    Bi-polarism is so cruel when it is out of control – not only for the person with the diagnosis, but also for those who live with and around them.

    What a poem, madam observer. You don’t miss much, do you? 🙂


  19. Shawna says:

    I love this idea and really enjoyed the interspersed card game plays.


  20. Laurie Kolp says:

    That ending blew me away… great piece, Victoria!


  21. claudia says:

    a close to life capture of a bipolar person..i once had a colleague who suffered from this and it’s extremely difficult for the person himself as well as for the family – You coax the final king
    and plop him on his queen.
    The monitor explodes in
    bursts of color…this is awesome victoria…and your mussels are ready…smiles


  22. brian says:

    oy i know this all too well…several of the clients i currently work with are bipolar…the high and lows as daydreamer says…you play this well in your words victoria….


  23. Wow, very deep and somehow disturbing for its truth.
    I’ve known a few bi-polar people ( my late partner was once diagnosed with it) she used to tell me the highs were so awesome she never wanted to be on medication that made her feel flat and took those fabulous highs away but, the opposite were the lows and (as I learned) they were dreadful for everyone not just for her.
    Lovely piece of writing from you again. You really have a way of conveying thoughts and feelings of others that are not necessarily your own feelings yet, they seem to have that personal touch to them.


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