Locked Psych-Ward, New Jersey, USA by Joseph Hargraves

The first rays of sun illuminate a Fantin-Latour
Bouquet in the nurses station while forcing
Morning clouds to sing a coloratura extravaganza.

If I had friends, to heal me,
They would lower me through the roof
Of Peter's house in Capernaum
Into the lap of Christ.


Anonymous said...

As an athiest, I can only say that I love the poem- in spite of "Christ."

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hargraves here compares two kinds of white to see which is cleaner: the white of the straight jacket & the white of the clothing of Christ. Only after we finish reading are we sure they're the same.
Great work here.

Magicant said...

I believe they call this move the Kansas City Shuffle. What execution!

Typographically sound: the speaker of the second stanza looks up to the small square window which is the first, the view to freedom placed purposely beyond reach.

But the poem is not religious in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word---regarding salvation it insists that heaven is down, and we are lowered as we read.

Very startling, great post.

Anonymous said...

this is really beautiful

Anonymous said...


Karen said...

Dissecting a poem like this is completely above my head. All I know is that it tells an amazingly deep story in very few words.

Anonymous said...

The first stanza is interesting as the verbs appear before images of artifice and refer to things seen( painting, opera - the sophistry of " Art").
In the second stanza, the counter panel of this diptych, the poet contrasts the artificial with what is non material (starting with the word " If"), emotional. Yet the healing mentioned in the second stanza is only conditional, the action of the stanza, as imaginary as the healing. Only the pain is real. A poetic equivalent of Bacon's statement: Sham pain for real friends; Real pain for sham friends.

donalmahoney said...

First of all, this is a wonderful poem in very few lines.

Second, it is wonderful to see a poet unafraid in this day and age to use biblical material in a poem.

Third, it is wonderful also to see an editor willing to run a piece with a biblical reference.

Many thanks to both

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. This reminds me that beauty can be found anywhere. Even in a psych ward.

Anonymous said...

Yeah well even if these friends were actually able to dig through the roof of Ancora or wherever, you'd probably end up in the lap of a unit psychiatrist at best. Those friends could at least replace the chart notes for that morning with this poem. JO

trisha027 said...

This poem is short but, it is definitely in full, beautiful bloom. Love your sister


About Me

Black-Listed Magazine is an online literary magazine. We publish on a rolling basis: weekly, daily, sometimes hourly. Send submissions here: blacklistedmagazine@hotmail.com