Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Card VIII from the Rorschach Inkblot Test

You’ll have to sit down. This may take a while.  He lowers his gaze. Shuffles some papers. You know that every few months I have to re-administer your tests. He pauses. Then. We’ll start with vocabulary. I’ll say the word. You’ll say what you think it means. Here we go:
MELANCHOLIA            and she says a sad indisposition?
Indisposition? he says. You meant ‘disposition,’ maybe? Indisposition is wrong. Incorrect.
But she believes she has a right to her incorrectness. On some level. It is hers to defend. She feels that when one is sad, one is INDISPOSED.
IMAGINATION, he says.                        and she says bright?
But, why the question in her voice? Though he doesn’t interrupt her this time. He is getting lost in his thoughts of how he had labeled her on the last battery of tests he had administered – NO AFFECT. ANTISOCIAL. ANOMIC. APHASIC. DEPRESSED. DISSOCIATED. HALLUCINATING. INSOMNIAC. LETHARGIC. etc. etc. – and of how it is all applying beautifully to what he’s doing now. No. Not APPLYING. CONFIRMING. Ah, yes. That’s the correct word.
            a blooming flower, she’s saying
     but not fully bloomed      ‘cause then she’d be dying
              just a little bit       every moment that passes
And he has to look back down at his test manual to remember the last word he had read to her: IMAGINATION. And what else? he says. And she says
            a change            but a good one                       
                  like sun after rain
And he says, How about a specific example? SPECIFIC. Like a geographical exactness. Like a point where latitude and longitude cross. But he is speaking inside her head. It is one thing to speak about what is misfiring inside someone’s head. To speak so clinically. So whitely. So crisply. But it is quite another to pinpoint the actual location of that
            to go deep
                         inside that deep winding deep winding
                grey organ
                              deep and riddled with networks
only half able to
or even function on a superficial level and
                    how would he determine the dosage of
             would he know how much of it would be needed
          for her to begin to redistribute her
ANIMATE OBJECT              is that the person that lives inside me?
INANIMATE OBJECT            is that the same person but quieted by meds? the one that is like a wild animal hunted and stuffed and mounted on a wall?
GENE                                    is that the legacy of my parents? is it the kingdom of my diseased mind? am i answering the questions correctly? am i giving you what you want? are you happy? am i happy? can one emote with a diseased mind? and is it the heart or the mind that feels emotion? or is it the soul? is the soul an organ? can they EXCISE it? EXORCISE it?
DIRT                                    filth            squalor            
            a skeleton in a closet
                        a dirty skeleton         dirty bones
Her mind is porous. But she knows this much: if a surgeon were to open up her skull, her brain could possibly. potentially. disintegrate. in a zap. if her brain were to lose its container. if touched. it could fragment. just like that. fragment and become fragmented grey slop. but if handled carefully. with caution. it would be kept all fresh and beautiful. intact. like a peach with its skin still on. like a relic. preserved. FORMALDEHYDE. then. later. when they were good and ready. they would take it out of that fluid. slice into the grey matter and take a SPECIMEN that they would then MOUNT on a GLASS SLIDE and STAIN so they can see it clearly and they would cover it with a COVER SLIP and shoop they would whisk it under the MICROSCOPE and all of a sudden a piece of her brain would be captured like a photo. EXPOSURE. but how would they then reconnect all that dead tissue? SPLICE.
And he says, I’d like for you to look at a few images. Look at each one and tell me what you see. Card III. What do you see? And she says
      two people?      tearing a brain apart?
            tearing a heart apart?
                                   with blood?
           blood between them?
                        blood behind them?
And he says, Card IV. What do you see? And she says
         a huge beast?       with the biggest feet ever?
And he says, All right, then. Card VIII. And she says
               an animal?        and its mirror image?
     looking into a pond?       so sparkling and clean?
Interesting, he says. But why do you say your answers like you’re asking a question? Are you unsure of your responses? But she doesn’t answer that question. And his eyes are fixed. Fixed on her unmoving lips. Now unmoving, now trembling. Fixed on the shiny sweat pouring off the side of her face. And her eyes are fixed, too. Fixed on the image in Card VIII. It
                                off her eyes
into the back of her head
        into her throat her breath
                                              that catches with
muffled cries she wants to both
             inhibit and inhabit
    and the dream enters her and she
enters the dream
           and they take her back
           to Ward 9 on Floor 6 along with
      all the others that are like her and they
give her 30 mg of Oxazepam
                                30 mg crushed and placed
            on her tongue
the bitterness covering her eyes
         in floods of oblivion
delaying thoughts
               delaying the world as unchaos
so the excess of it seeps onto her pillow as
         vomit blood phlegm bile
and though she sleeps she sleeps
                    the sleep of the troubled
and her dreams form lesions in her
           that she dresses with
     maternal coos
                          cushioned by the
         because she knows the light would blind her
with the brutality of its unbearable reality
DESIRE            he fires at her in her dreams. And she says, Something I will never feel. But this time the vocal inflection suggesting a question is gone. And she says, You can take that word off my vocabulary list. You can use NEED or NECESSITY or even WANT. Just not DESIRE. And can I ask you a question? When I am old, she says. When I am very very very old… will I still be here?


  1. You have a way with words Nevine. Making them hit me like bullets.
    Cant think of anything else to comment on.

  2. I feel like taking that test one day. I like and at the same time dislike the conclusions the therapists can get to through this stuff.

    But I need to take the test, now, because of you. And your presentation of this mental issue here is making me think so much more than I usually do. But I used to. Until that day when I decided it was not worth doing it. But this brain is so full of incredible surprises...I could give it a chance. I have just now, by reading you.

    Yours is an awesome mind, my dearest Queen!

    Hugs and Love


  3. Stunning. That's as close as I ever want to get to that experience. Not that I don't need a therapist - we ALL could use some effective therapy from time to time - but the therapeutic response is frightening, sometimes.

  4. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. This is both short story and poem and always you choose the right technique to convey fact and emotion. The best I've read from you.

  5. wow! what a journey into and around and out and back again - magnificently done, nevine!!! a beautifully knowing trip you've shared with us!

    hope you and your beloved are making up for all that lost time together and that you've a beautiful week begun!!!

  6. Yet AGAIN you've impressed me, Nevine. This digging into the mind - not just of the patient but of the doctor too - was so vivid. I felt every moment and could see the scene in my mind. So you managed to dig into my head too.


  7. Chilling and intriguing and frightening. I want to read this again, but I can't. I will.

    Amazing - again, Nevine.

  8. I have the greatest respect for medical science, but sometimes the treatment is crushing and convenient. For all the developed skills, methods of treating mental illness can be akin to fine-tuning a radio whilst wearing asbestos gloves. A frightening scenario for those of us who don't suffer. A living nightmare for those who do.

    You have handled the subject with great care and insight, but above all, truth.

  9. Great!! Just great and powerful, Nevine!! More than felt this piece of yours.
    It simply has to be made into a published book.
    I have a great respect for mental issues/illness and you described so poetically in this meaningful story, so many images, emotions and man's agony!!
    BRAVO! Love it!
    You're the best around the Blogosphere!

    Hope you're having a wonderful day!

    Lots of love and Big Hugs!
    p.s. I 'd want to THANK YOU for your lovely comments on my blog, I always appreciate them.

  10. You always leave me in amazement, no matter the subject you bring it to life like no other,

  11. what a thrill to be able to visit with another, in their brain, and they in yours, through some kind of esp...


  12. C'est tout simplement magnifique!
    You are the woman who rules the words, my dear;-)

    I've never been to a therapist though, and I don't think I'll ever go!

    Gros gros bisous ma belle
    et une belle semaine bien étoilée*******

  13. Every time I read a post of yours I'm speechless. I adore your style and really wish that I could say more then just something like 'wow' or 'amazing' or 'awesome'. Maybe someday I'll find more words but until then....I love your work. (:

  14. Nevine, that was hauntingly powerful, achingly poignant. Your outstanding writing has the ability to capture so much raw emotion. Your words, in this piece, have gripped me and taken me deep, deep into the dark recesses of the human mind. And exposed how, too often, we forget that the mentally ill are actually people, not experiments. A fascinating, dark tale, Nevine and one which I truly loved reading.

  15. This was indeed an interesting, curving ride you've had us on, Nevine. VERY interesting and very dark. Dark is the mind, or certainly can be.

    I so enjoy your style of writing. Unlike any other!

    So good to visit you again~ xxoo

  16. This was deeply moving. Although I've never been admitted to a psych ward I have battled with my own struggles both mentally and emotionally. I am still battling them. This reminds me of the constant conflict between how I feel and how the world tells me I should feel. Between how I think and how I'm told to think. And between what I want to do and what I need to do.

    "When I am very very very old… will I still be here?"

    That line struck me because I've thought it. When will it all be sorted out?

    Amazing Nevine, this post really touched me.

  17. Nev- i read this a couple times and it troubles me. I really hate the process of psycho-analysis. So many complexities to an individual and nuances to a spirit but they want to pull a rabbit out of a hat and say PRESTO! to reaffirm their own drivel laid out in bindings. I will always be the one who flies over the cuckoo's nest. And why does she not want to admit the necessity of desire. I found this so sad. But as always, exquisitely written. ~rick

  18. Nevine,

    Late I am this time and reading all the responses, I can never stop wondering about the different facets of life.

    Even writing comments depends so much on the mood, the ambience, the sounds, etc. The tests also are like that.

    The inkblot reminds me of a time when as teenagers, we used to spill ink on a piece of paper, fold it and then try deciphering the different patterns. We loved doing that and all our friends used to come up with bizarre details.

    I loved the way you have taken effort with the arrangement of the lines. Spent a lot of time, did you. You are one passionate woman and I so love you for that.

    I wonder how I would respond to those tests.

    Joy always,

  19. Only Oxazepam ? No Thorazine as well ?

    No restraints ?

    No 60 year old near catatonic in the next bed snoring so badly it could as well be a freight train rumbling by in the night, all night, every night ?

    Where's Nurse Ratched when she's wanted ?

    This hurts.

    But that's ok, we can deal with pain. Pain is good... and real pain is real good... right ?

    Did you have a parent who was an anatomist ? Or did you study medicine yourself ??? The slides with slices and stains... you have been there I guess ???

    How is it that I feel like you have gotten deep down inside my own mind when I read what you have written ? What is this uncanny, eerie connection ? Haunting...

    Thank you Nevine for a trip down your memory lanes... it rings so very true somehow. Where's the Chief when he's needed ? And McMurphy ???

  20. Amazing Nevine, it looks like you are slaving the words and play with them as you wish. Wonderful talent..

  21. I found this deeply unsettling and an echo of my worst fears. It was rather difficult to read without feeling a deep sense of loss

  22. La creme de la creme of writing! I loved the stark difference between the two voices, adn I don't just mean between his and hers, but between her internal one and the external one. I also loved how her line of thoughts led me to a complete different scenario. And the sadness got me. The heavy duty of convincing people that you're OK, that you just want to get by, you know, your thoughts, your own ideas, your own personality. And the quirky structure was beautiful. In the same way her thoughts meander here and there, so does your writing.

    Many thanks. This was fab.

    Greetings from London.

  23. My heart was racing as I was reading this. For me, it really struck a chord. The placement of each line and contrast between shock, seriousness, and apathy in the poem made it so real.

    Thankyou for writing this.

  24. Amazed again..
    Sorry for being away from a long time.
    Really your word playing has made me a fan..:)
    Thoughts put in a very different way..



  25. As others have stated here, you are QUEEN NEVINE with NO (?)...You have analyzed the analysis, read those thoughts of Peeps, and blest each of us with your amazing gift, talent.

    Now it is your turn to vacate your space here, until the muse will again use you. But NOT "use you up!"

    We will wait here in enjoyment of these memories, and with trust we have that hope for your safe return.

    Long Live the Queen!

  26. but of course, you must tend to the you of you, dear friend! and we all understand that - it is odd your saying so at this particular time as i have been myself thinking/feeling/needing all the same things - i've just not yet done what i need to do - but the day is very near! my caring thoughts go with you - go in peace and love - jenean

  27. Naturally the psychological theme of your
    poem appeals to me, as does the vocabulary
    and the undressing of words, the emotional
    baggage each person attaches to words.

    You are an incredible talent, Nevine. I
    feel you just immerse yourself in the
    poem and become one with Her.

  28. Dear Nevine, your life is so beyond intense I can just imagine you must need time and silence for yourself.
    I will be sending orchids perfumes your way, to inspire your muse and sooth your soul.
    Love, Adriana

  29. Dear Nevine,
    In reference to the post above on Stillness, you see, you have done it again, and gone way down deep in my mind, with a line from a poem which I recognized instantly, with all the weight of a freight train worth of memories, some of my all time favorite lines :

    "And indeed there will be time
    For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
    Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
    There will be time, there will be time
    To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
    There will be time to murder and create,
    And time for all the works and days of hands
    That lift and drop a question on your plate;
    Time for you and time for me,
    And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
    And for a hundred visions and revisions,
    Before the taking of a toast and tea.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo."

    As for why I remarked about you seeing into my mind here in this thread, and you said you weren't sure why I said that, it is simple, I once knew someone who had to spend some time in the psych ward at a hospital, it was terribly difficult seeing what they went through at rather close range, and hoping he would survive the ordeal. (He did)

    Thank you for everything you do here, and enjoy your break, drink deep of life, and cry, for sure... and laugh. Am just reading a good passage in Tom Robbins "Fierce Invalids" about how laughter makes us human...

    Yes, yes, do take plenty of time for :

    And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
    And for a hundred visions and revisions,
    Before the taking of a toast and tea.


  30. Oh You are so loved my dear queen
    I'll miss you
    And that one post not to be commented... OK I won't.


  31. "Stillness"...Beautifully stated, Nevine!

    You know that I so relate to this need to do and not do. To experience whatever comes or is created. To just BE.

    Enjoy, relax, live and breath. Your followers will see you again, whenever you are ready.

    Much love and many hugs~

  32. Take as much time as you need, ma belle!
    We will be waiting for you;o)

    Kiss you très fort*******

  33. Oh Nevine!
    J'ai eu comme mot de vérification à taper: "demonlit" et j'espère de tout coeur que tu vas bien*

    Gros bisous
    et que ta bonne étoile te préserve et t'apporte la santé et le bonheur*******

  34. i admire the work that the shrinks do, during the course of my studies, and then having worked for a short period of time in Psychiarty....
    .... Has always left fascination around the aspects that made us 'sick'....or even the sickness that makes us!!

    it also enabled me to have a closer look at things that we don't run into everyday in the streets,
    Yes, i m paranoiacally thinking of part of the world that could be more safer.

    Fortunately, i prefer to close my eyes and trust the mystery that keep the equilibrium of this world , especially when i think of our polititians playing with our freedom....i have a good reason to learn to pray!:-)

    Anyway, we are more and more bound to such issues at the speed we are going through our daily lives...which includes our relationships with ourselves and with the others.

    In short, Here, our writing may become our therapy...as long as we can mourn, so once again we can be possessed by our laughter.
    Thankyou for this post that evokes much more than that can be said.

    And, Yes!! some 'stillness' is what we need!
    to breathe,sit quietly, do nothing, take the time for oneself....to live!


  35. Nevine,

    I could never be still with you...
    to much to see and do...

    you are to special

  36. Be happy .. be strong.
    Love the words on your May 29 post but couldn't find the comment link.

    I have something for you on my site. Please drop by.


  37. ****/\****

  38. Coucou Nevine!
    Je viens te remercier pour l'étoile trouvée dans mon petit jardin secret et te souhaiter un merveilleux weekend comblée d'amour et de bonheur;o)

    gros bisous*******

  39. I miss you. Come back soon. But take your time. ;-) But come back soon. Sending you big hugs to take you through your 'chill' time.

  40. Go and find time for yourself, Nevine. I wish you luck. Many thanks for your poetry, for your short stories and for your energy. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  41. ***
    gros bisous et bonne semaine*******


  42. just thinking of you - sending caring thoughts - jenean

  43. Je viens déposer un gros bisou et une étoile amie!


    Bon dimanche, ma belle*******

  44. Je reviens te faire un gros bisou et te souhaiter un merveilleux dimanche;o)



Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.