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Saturday, October 10, 2020


 by Gil Fagiani

Introduction: Hallucinations, defined as the perception of an object or event (in any of the five senses) in the absence of an external stimulus, are experienced by patients with conditions that span several diagnoses but most often show up in those suffering from schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorders. This poem is based on such a patient.

Richmond Center for Rehabilitation, Staten Island

I’m affected by the crisis of terrorism. I don’t want to put a burden on you, but I have a burden on me. The staff here is mean and sneaky, and uses laser guns to shoot poisonous chemicals in my room. They are immigrants who come from the countries that President T***p says export terrorism. The smells are powerful and cause my nose to be stuffed. The staff is aggressive, and if I say anything to defend myself, they write me up. That means I lose my privilege to order Chinese food on Friday night! The director says I talk over her and refuses to speak with me. If I complain to the other staff members, they say I’m “popping shit” and try to frame me. Look at my record: I’ve never bothered anybody here. The only one who understands me is my social worker. I’m having some lucha—struggle—with the poisonous gas and smoke in my room. I could use a garlic necklace and a water pistol filled with holy water. I’m forced to leave the toilet unflushed and my bathroom door open. This way, the smell of my waste products can block out the poisonous smells. I’ve seen homeless people in subway tunnels burn fires to get rid of poisonous smells. I’m trying to get in contact with organizations like Greenpeace, the Greek Orthodox Church, Amnesty International, and Jews for Jesus—to ask for help.

Gil Fagiani (1945-2018) was a translator, essayist, short-story writer, and poet. He  published six books of poetry including his Connecticut Trilogy: Stone Walls, Chianti in Connecticut, Missing Madonnas; as well as his collections Logos, A Blanquito in El Barrio, and Rooks; plus three chapbooks, Crossing 116th Street, Grandpa’s Wine, and Serfs of Psychiatry.