Sometimes I wonder

If madness sounds like civilization


Noisy music

Incessant hubbub and babble

The scrape of sandals on concrete


The shuffling noise of a plastic bag adjusting for weight and movement


A cloth sleeve against a metal outdoor table

The clatter of cart wheels

The hum of a building’s air conditioning


Always, forever, constant noise

Pressing against my psyche

Until I have to politely refrain from screaming.


It’s a bit like…

Nails on a chalkboard

But my soul is the chalkboard

And it gets in my teeth

And rattles my soul like a terrible earthquake

Throwing glass things off of shelves and

Tipping heavy hedgeapple bookcases stacked high with

Delicate old scrolls

And all I can do is

Curl up tight

In a defensive little ball

In the corner of my head

Whimpering and

Short of breath and

Fearful and panicked

And flinching at every new thing hitting floors and walls

And sometimes me

And trying very hard not to show any of it

Because that would worry the people around me


And it’s not their problem


And really maybe what I need

Is a soundproof room

And an aunt-like figure to hold me close

And tuck my head to her breast as I sob a little

And whimper

And suck my thumb like a very small child

Because, you see

It’s like every sound doesn’t happen outside of

But inside my head

And there’s only space in there for so many voices at once

And a simple rainstorm

Or street traffic

Or even sometimes my own breathing contains

Thousands upon thousands upon thousands

And every word said normally outside my own head

Is spoken in an airless gasp inside

Because for all that my chest is rising and falling

For all that my diaphragm contracts and relaxes

For all that my lungs fill and empty repeatedly

It certainly feels like I can’t breathe

It’s horrendous


And music doesn’t always help, either

Because for all that the voices of the piano

Can flow and blend

Even a single-instrument instrumental piece

Can fill the head to the point of screaming, and -


My, but I feel like just holding my breath until I pass out

When this happens

And if not for the fact that that would hurt

And not help

And perhaps even damage my brain

Well, I might

But it would do those things

So I can’t just conveniently fall unconscious

And that wouldn’t be a very healthy habit to indulge in anyways

Because I should face my problems

Or work around them

Or even simply work while having them

Which is essentially what I do now

But that doesn’t fix the

Nearly schizophrenic quality

The sounds of the world take on

Now, does it?


(Get out of my head.)

(Get out. Get out. Get out.)


Thank God for God

Because I don’t think I could take it without him.



i really love this poem! youre fantastic!

Josiah Greenwood

Thank you. I couldn't do a thing without God - be it live day to day or write about it.

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