They say genius and madness are often bedfellows. I think this is definitely true, especially of the person on whom this poem is based!
Your moods were like mercury –
A flash of silver in the hand
Your words beating against fragile ears
Like a door slamming shut –
Closing out everyone, even your wife.
You always claimed you hated your mother –
Was this the cause of your malaise, the reason for your rage?
Or maybe it was the war –
Perhaps driving all those ambulances
Full of dismembered and bloodied limbs
Shook something loose in you, never to be found again.
You retired to faraway climes – Cuba, Spain, France –
But no matter where you traveled, or where you took your moveable feast,
You could not escape yourself.
Next you tried electroconvulsive therapy, tried to shock yourself sane,
Only instead of finding solace, you found yourself losing your memories,
The years slipping through clutching fingers like forgotten grains of sand.
But the one thing you never lost was your genius –
The control you strove to regain in life was evident in your sparse prose,
Your military-precise punctuation –
The words appearing pure upon the page as if burned into existence.