DBSA-Charlotte: Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance
    Here's a chance to express yourself and share your talents with your fellow members
People with depression and bipolar disorder often are very
creative. Read Kate Redfield Jamison's book
Touched with Fire for lots of examples. It's on
our book list, the fifth one down. Below are some work of people  who have been diagnosed with depression or bipolar or are believed to have had the disorders. Enjoy this page!

         Others' Gifts

Perch: Arts and Literary Journal

Cohen: Waiting for the Miracle . . 

Poe: The Raven

Michelangelo:  Pieta

Dr. Kay Jamison: Exuberance

Van Gogh's Starry Night

Doors: The Other Side

Creative, Troubled Mind

Coleridge: Kubla Khan

Beethoven's 7th, 2nd mvmnt

Martin Ramirez slide show

Roethke: My Papa's Waltz

Snoopy dances w/ bunnies


Below are poems and other art that members have found particularly inspiring on their road to recover:

Bend in the Road

Renoir: Dance at Bougival

Iz: Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World

Chico Playing Piano

We are Gifted

   What more     need we say.

         We Share Our Gifts with One Another

                                                                                     --   Photo by Sheryl

  Our Art, Poems, Aphorisms, Photographic Art, Other Talents

   Purple Martin Blues

I am a Purple Martin
and, Lord, I do get bored
eating insects all evening long
and living in a gourd.

My cousin is a Blue Jay, 
my uncle’s an Oriole, 
and I’d be happy
if I could be a St. Louis Cardinal.

But I am a Purple Martin
and did I say I’m bored
eating skeeters all evening long
and living in a gourd?

My grandpa, Pepper Martin,
was so crazy about the game
that it drove him out of his gourd
and into the Hall of Fame.

My brother, Billy Martin,
he stayed under the gun
managing damn Yankees,
but he had his fun.

But I’m just a Purple Martin
and I’m tired of catching flies.
I’d rather be fielding grounders
and hitting long line drives




Batting Practice

    If you can hit with a broomstick
    a bottle cap speeding
 at you
    in a wide arc at dusk,
    just as the city lights flicker on,
    you might go three for four
    at the game Sunday afternoon,
    where hurled baseballs
    will seem to float in
    bigger than a rising full moon.
                                         -- Cobb

    The Lady of the House

The day the bump in the rug erupted
between Another World
and The Edge of Night,
I was wondering about the lava stains
and Proctor and Gamble
and how to cook rice.

A telegram came the very same day
from the Angel with the Flaming Sword.
They’d declared our house a microcosm;
I’d better look up the word.

Before I found a dictionary
a truck pulled into the drive.
Where do I want the Americas?
How about under these spacious skies.

We don’t have time for jokes, lady;
we’ve got the whole world on this truck
and we’ve got to have a place
for it in your house
in exactly two lines or else it ends.

If you put it that way, you can take

any of our rooms, just don’t soil the towels.

            --Martha S.

haiku by Chuck

leaves crunch fast under hooves -
blue smoke hanging in the air,
rifle staring at nothing

something hums
in the hot, dead air -
the sound of nothing

                haiku by Debra
               fall sky - a perfect
                 parallel for brain
                 sun, clouds, sun, and rain

The edge hold is lost                 It's freefall again
        Into the Dark Pool

Dense - a stone sinking
Can go nowhere else
But down to bedrock


Death by Euphemism


                                                                                                                               -- Cheeko


                                                                   Dog Days

                                                   A/C, Internet, LazyBoy, Cable, 
                                        What's that?  Aah, pizza at the door.
                                        Retired, few bills, no setting the table.
                                        I love you, Dog Days, all the more.
                                        But, come September?
                                        I will, I will not change a thing.

                                       I'll open some windows
                                       I'll turn on the heat.

                                       I'll buy more Christmas puppies 
                                       for little ones, not me, to keep.



  Von Gruben's Grove

He tapped two kegs,
ladies showed leg,
fire flies sparkled
and old eyes twinkled:

Moon- and star-lit tubas
playing waltzing oompahs
got flushed farmers dancing,
their raised steins splashing.

Helga, ho, and Greta, go,
help the beer and schnapps to flow.”

To dawn they went on dancing,
their weathered skin romancing.



 The brilliant sun on green leaves
     Asks no question of trees
  As I have no question for you



                                Petals on the porch,

                            at the door Mystical Rose
kissing away tears

I.M. Sari


          Black-and-white cows graze
           field of goldenrod; tearing
              brown eyes blazing red.




  Ditties and riddles
           of seventeen syllables,
             fiddle, count, fiddle

--Count Haiku

   Cold Fear in Maine
     Snow, roads closed, phones out,
  psycho's cords burn bound wrists, gags,
           muffled grunts for mercy

                          -- Stephen K.


                  Father's Days Past

               Drawings, paintings, poems
                  crafted by tiny fingers
                   still adorning walls



            Mockingbird dives, whirs.
          Hissing, clawing, fleeing cat
       eyes brood - stretched beaks scold.

                                                                                    --Photo by Sheryl

             What Racing Was

It was an old boy under a shade tree
doing brain surgery on a Chevy carburetor,
telling his son how to tune up the Ford,
listening to his wife yelling about supper,
and the baby crying and the dog chasing

a pickup down the road; all the while
he's keeping track on his radio where every
car is in the race, their times, and how likely
his guy will make it to the checkered flag.


            The Grape Gatsby 
Steinbeck Meets Fitzgerald

Somehow, George Wilson, cuckold mechanic,
wound up at one of Gatsby’s famed parties
and mingled with the Roaring Twenties'
flappers and dandy dancers, having no fun,
ill at ease about his slut of a wife.

Watching his lawn party from a window, 
Jay Gatsby. not a party guy himself,
noticed Wilson’s unease and had him brought
up to his den for a drink and some talk
about money, love, longing, pain, and cars.

Wilson had no money, nor did Gatsby --
until recently. B
oth longed for love but
found pain instead; Gatsby had a yellow
Rolls Royce; Wilson had cars, too, to fix.
Jay led men in the war; George fixed trucks.

Both really knew no one at the party;
no one at the party really knew them.
Jay loved Daisy, an old-money girl wed
to an old-money guy; George loved Myrtle,
his own poor wife, mistress to Daisy’s Tom.

Gatsby had connections, who had tommy guns,
who could eliminate Daisy’s and Myrtle’s Tom.
It freed up their women, but a few years later
Jay dropped spoiled Daisy, George dropped Myrtle,
still a slut, and the stock market dropped dead.

Jay and George got a jalopy running
and headed west as the Depression hushed
the Twenties’ roar.  On the road, they joined
a family named Joad, California-bound
to pick grapes.  Soon wrath grew great.

Wherever there was a cop beating up
a striker, there they were, fighting, singing:
“The banks are made of marble,
with a guard at every door,
for the vaults are full of silver
that the pickers sweated for.”

Back east, dead Tom the eugenicist, spun
in his grave as the poor and brown and black
kept having babies, and old-money families
dried up, blew away like dust from a bowl.

                                                               --John F. Scott


                Feeling of melancholy comes to rescue
               After a storm of ecstatic joy,
               Only to cling to the barometer of contentment
               Creating memories with each moment

               To dream without constraint

Becky Jean

                                                             -- Painting by Sheryl


Solitude is not lonely
Solitude is peaceful.
Solitude is not needy
Solitude is full.

There are other times

when I’ve been alone too long.
Then I crave company
to remind me that I am alive.
But it always comes back
to that ache for solitude.
And after a large dollop of solitude,
human company seems to satisfy
the deepest craving.

Solitude always soothes me,

even when my nerves are frazzled,
even when I’m angry.
Solitude soothes my soul
and makes me
a rational human being
once again
-- Mebane


    Psych 101 Medley
(to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)
Pavlov’s dog, Pavlov’s dog,
Poor doggie drools all day
Since the people down the street
Got that noisy sleigh, hey!

(to the tune of “I Wish I Were an Oscar Meyer Wiener”)
I wish I weren’t a fan of B.F. Skinner
That’s who I really shouldn't be.
For if I weren’t a fan of B.F. Skinner,
I’d be free . . .  and have some dignity.

(to the tune of  Sinatra’s “Fairy Tales Can Come True . . .
If You’re Young at Heart”
Synchronicities are true;
They can happen to you,
If you’re Jung at heart

(to the tune of Streisand’s “Memories . . .
 Of The Way We Were”
Memories light the symbols in my mind,
Racial, archetypal memories
Of the way we are.

to the tune of Sinatra’s “Chicago!)
Id-ego! Id-ego!  That wonderful town!
No super, super-ego to boss us around.

(as Henry Higgins doing “Why Can’t the English Teach Their Children How to Speak")
If your every thought’s not sexual,
They regard you as a freak.
Why can’t the Freudish,
Why don’t the Freudish 
Teach their privates how to speak?

(to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”-- Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
 . . Glory, Glory, 
My brain has felt the wonders and the cunning of Big Pharm.
It is flushing out the feelings that they said would do me harm
It has loosed my frightful humor on some  folks who flee alarmed.
My chains go flying off:
Worry, fear and melancholia
Worry, fear and melancholia
Worry, fear and melancholia
They are gone, and I am freely mad.

                                                         -- Alfred E. N.                                                   
                                                             -- Drawing by Grace


                         Soul Doctors

The scene: An 18th century country churchyard
on a cloudy, cold evening.  A tired elder seated
on a stone wall is telling an erect, magisterial
pastor that he can do no more for a troubled
member of their church.  Let’s listen to the two: 

We must cut the returned one from the flock,

Parson.  Have you noted the things he says?
Our ways of healing sick souls do more harm
than good for his, he says, the salts that quiet
his brain stifling his ardor for the world.
Counseled that it is best he fit in well
to go back to his house and his workshop
and his prayers and his church, he bridles
and snorts that he wants back into his “self,”
that our salts and hymns turn one into straw
easily kindled and burnt away, that the fires
of madness, though, can forge strong metal
from those who dare gaze into its white-hot
cauldron of creation.

  Then, grant him chains.


     To a Poet

A soft voice in a loud world,
an eye that sees the beauty
amid all the distraction,
a pen that pricks
sleeping souls,

hunter-gatherer of all
that offers itself to keep
souls and minds alive, you
accept new light gratefully

and gently anoint our ears
and eyes and hands,
our noses and tongues,
and turn us quickened toward a world
that makes more sense.

                      -- Guy de Sant Louie

                    Sun Song

        Sophia rises,
        pinking the sky,
        winking at me
        through woods,
laughing in the new day.

Birds sing sweetly,
but can't compete for joy
with the funny love songs
dancing  'round her head.

Rising above tree tops
her radiance kisses away
the morning chill
and sends me singing
into the new day.


         Plover Beach

Threatened piping plovers
march along the water’s edge,
piping a tattling battle song:
pooeep, peep-lo, pooeep pooeep.
Sandpipers pipe dirges and dance
dainty dances with ghostly foam.

Gusts tumble unstuck umbrellas. 
Balloons snap strings and ride
air streams to seldom-seen
strangling seas where eternally
swirling grocery bags form islands
the size of Iraq and Iran..

Kids cry, "New balloons,"
mammas rent new shade,
unpack plasticked lunches.

Sand-chafed soon,
they waltz away
to their hot showers
and cool lotions.

Ocean motion
washes onto
the grating beach
cocoa butter
and jellyfish
sandwiches, there
for the taking
by olden,
tangled in seaweed,
tugging rising
red moons,
darkly hungry
for man-versus-
sea tales, wolfing
down wee turtles.
Pooeep, peep-lo
pooeep, pooeep.

           --Corona Vlad


abundant, wild 
in trees behind 
the Esso Club,
its gas pumps dead,
beer taps alive, 
a noisy joint 
inside, outside 
the sweetened air
cleanses noses 
of the goat-stink 
of spring's bock beer, 
of rugby sweat
and cigarettes.
Two Lit majors
sit on a bench,
oathfully crushing
out their smokes,
drunk, man-handling
words, redundant,
“reborn again.”




When I was a youth,
I had a temper.
It was sometimes hard
for me to control.

Playing golf seemed to
bring out my anger.
Sometimes my club flew 
farther than my ball.

Language was crude, like
a sailor's tattoo.
At the end of nine,
I was always done.

My brother played on
with one or two friends.
My anger made me
not have any fun.

So today I no
longer play the game.
If I could control
anger I might have.

What has your anger
caused you to do or
made you not do in
your life so far?

                                --Albert Martin

   No Longer a Victim

All my life I've been subject
to overpowering feelings 
of depression and loneliness.

I've been a victim, but no longer.
I've outwitted depression and loneliness
with distractions that get my soul
into a happier groove.

Come on, depression.
Come on loneliness.

Try to invade me now.
You haven’t got a chance.
I now have the weapons to evade you.

So I'll say sizzling good-bye to you.
Go find someone else to bother.
                                     -- Mebane

Easter Bunny

   The silence of the hare
   as I bite off its ears 
   then hollowly stare
   into its empty skull.
   How sweet new life

   how chocolate, milk
   chocolate, not dark
   and bitter-sweet, just
   sweet, and chocolate
   and patient, waiting
   earless and quiet
   in the fridge, waiting
   for my return
   from Easter mass,
   waiting for me
   to open the door,
   and bring new light.

   But what is this?
   No bunny is here,
   just a Saran Wrap
   shroud in the Jello.
   Is it miraculous
   or just the callous
   work of crazy,
   drunken Uncle Bert?

   He betrays himself
   with a whiskery kiss
   that’s also chocolaty

    “Was Santa good
   to you?”  he asks.

    “That was a bunny,
   Uncle Bert,” I say

    “Oh, yeah,” he says, 
   “hard to tell without
   the ears, you know.”

           --Peter C.

  Pumping Rocks

In mid-town Charlotte
they turned an Exxon station
into a pile of rocks.
I pulled in anyway,
out of habit.

I broke rocks in the hot sun,

heaved them into my little truck,
filling it up.
I looked for someone to pay;
nobody was there.
I left an IOU
and tried to pull away.

The truck too heavy to move,

I walked home,
a habit lighter.

                           -- Gruzovik

  Ode to a Greek Salad

It came out like a big flower,
with petals of pita triangles
and catty-cut cucumbers.
I fluttered and buzzed
around it for about an hour
talking my dinner mates
into squirming fits of boredom.

His shift over with,
the salad's artist passed
by and said in disgust
he'd never seen a
take so long to eat one.

Shamed, I finally dove
into its briny middle
of anchovies and feta,
olives and onions,
slashing and stirring up
a vinegary, oily stew.

When I surfaced,
I felt like Ulysses
flush from aquatic battle,
sputtering fertile seawater,
filled with gargantuan gregariousness.

I now had a story to tell, one
filled with hunger and passion,
the whole damn story of life.

I was Homer sitting
beside the campfire,
I was hero and poet
making table talk
heightened to epic
by eating like a Greek
                         --Landmark Charlie.


           One Fine Tuesday
        During Holy Week

        He went up on the mountain
                      to pray.

        Spring-break bible-schoolers
               in a big church van
               already had claimed
                       the top.

            Keep moving, wild eyes,
                     or we’ll call
                         a cop.


                                                                    (Sabra warrior, 1948
                                                                                              --Watercolor by Chuck

Space Shaman
                                       Death, Rebirth and All That Jazz

Bombs demolished the town.
And I lie ripped-apart, manic
in a burnt-out building.

I become a worm split in time 
burrowing into both the past
and the future. I’m also
a worm split in space,
burrowing simultaneously
up and down, side to side,
back and forth, fleeing 
a dimensionally gifted bird,
which eats me, flies away,
itself to be eaten
by a golden hawk.

In time, I am digested,
by the resting hawk,
who exhales and frees
the earthbound me.
I rise -- I am
spiritually awakened
and travel now celestially
the upper reaches
of the axis mundi 


into space, a space
teeming with lines
alive with direction,
devoid of substance,
full of one-dimensional,
single-minded meaning
that joins every line and point,
first into a paper-thin
of two dimensions
and then into the
serene unity of three, 

serenity that’s solidly aware
of each passing neutrino’s
quadrillions of passing neutrinos
that blur the lines
that I, meeting you, must see.
I am your spirit’s guide
but must see materially,
through hawk eyes, lines that are compass needles in spacestacks of swirling galaxies
amid vast, wild meadows 
of  black-holed daisies.

Jokes aside, they are guide-lines
in a sacred geometry
that I must see and read
and show to you
like a map, like tracks of time
through space and matter.
They are our way home,
we two atoms dancing
in the dark, invisibly
joined in blissful,
holy molecularity.

Do you feel
lost in space?
And time?
I understand.

Don’t worry; nice and slow,
just let the good times roll:
toe-tap, head-bob, be-bop;
do a dreamy seat dance
to the beat of whole souls
calling out, calling us back..


Other Worlds

Sometimes walking along
not paying much attention,
I walk into another world.

Mostly, the things I see
are as ordinary as cups
stacked in a dish drainer.

Once I saw a line of tanks
parked on a grassy ridge
pointed toward my house.

Or they could have been
pointed toward my school.
It was hard to tell there.

But it really didn’t matter
since my house and school
were in the world I had left.

I tried to warn the people
in this world about the tanks;
I couldn’t find any, so I left.

Another time, somewhere outside
Kenitra, Morocco, I came
upon a river bank that isn’t there.

Moroccans sat in tall grass
quietly doing nothing at all
and smiled for me to join them.

So I did, and there I stay
despite my being here.


     Everybody Loves
             Friday Night

    Better to die with Stonewall Jackson
    at Chancellorsville than to live with 
    Johnny Carson (or Jay Leno) in Burbank.

                -- a sentiment of Andrews Lamar
                in Walker Percy’s novel Lancelot

It’s Friday evening and happy hour
for young revelers; “you work hard,
and you deserve it for all you do.”

And it’s candle-lighting time for Jews
who begin a Sabbath of rest and study
and sex, with their spouses, of course.

And for Catholic Workers it’s the time
for “clarification of thought,” a rather
authoritarian-sounding name for what
anarchist, socialist pacifists do to stay
focused on their voluntary poverty, on
serving foul-smelling and surly bums who
just might be holy Jesus himself incognito.

And for Socialist Workers, it’s time to plot,
with a can of brew, on how to bring down
the capitalist structure that keeps us slaves,
yes, you young revelers, too, and you Jews
fixing, perfecting the world with alms, logic,
and especially you Catholic Workers putting
bandaids on the system’s victims just to send
them back in, to get beat up again and again.

But what do I do?  I just watch  movies with
Walker Percy and wait for a hurricane or war
to come and fill life with death and meaning.

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