November 16, 2006

Lament and poem

First, a bit of a lament: I don't know why no one is commenting anymore. I know my recent poems are good, and they certainly are relevant to this site. But I feel as if once again I'm writing into a black hole, a void, dropping my poems down a deep hole and hoping upon hope that somebody somewhere below is catching them, reading them and "getting" them, perhaps even appreciating them. I know you guys are stopping by to read this blog, because the counter keeps going up. But why does no one bother to say a word or two, acknowledge that fact? Don't you know how much it would mean to me? Don't you know how much it means to any writer? We are only human after all, and our egos are sensitive and easily crushed. We do not know that anyone cares when silence reigns; we need to be told that people are listening! So keep that in mind when you rush to read and leave without saying a word. Remember that I'm putting on the page little pieces of myself every day, depleting my soul, and getting nothing back. As a writer I understand that that is the bargain, the essential contract I make with the world. But since there is in a blog an easy built-in mechanism for reader feedback, it seems only fair to ask that some be given, at least from time to time...

This new poem should be familiar to anyone who has read my sagas of paranoia when I have to go shopping alone. Although "poetically" compressed, I think it gets the essential point across. However, any comment would be welcome, on this or any of my recent "illness" poems. These, by the way, I am writing on request and with an eye to a book focusing more or less on schizphrenia and mental illness, poems about it or informed by it, that is, written while actively ill or under-medicated or which deal with other aspects, the consequences in my life of having been disabled etc In short, poems which comprise a huge and wide variety.

I also have an ms of regular poems as well which is already out at a publisher. Dunno which would be more marketable but my agent seems to think the former, the sz one.


You would choose a cart with wheels
that squeak. Your clothes are much too colorful.
The noise your clogs make
announces you with each step. Who
gave you permission to enter? No one
wants you here. They are all watching.
It is important to know
if you will splurge
on the expensive foreign grapes
or go with cheap bananas.

Someone is trailing you. She conceals herself well
but you sense her there whenever you turn around.
Sound floods your ears, rising like water.
You push ahead faster. In the next aisle,
someone has left a cart crosswise,
halting your flight.
You crash through the barricade
and race for Dairy. On your tail,
she stays just one aisle behind.

If this were a poem
a lot of things could happen.
But the poem went home a long time ago.
It will not help you.
You are in the grocery store.
You believe you are being followed.
You are on your own.

Posted by pamwagg at November 16, 2006 12:15 PM


Hi Pam, I heard about your blog reading Jonathon last entry on his'. So I just read "Poem in which Paranoia..." I just wanted to say how much I like it; you so precisely convey your feelings allowing me to start understanding how life can be sometimes for someone suffering from sz. I really like your way of writing, I will start reading your blog now, you probably got a new regular reader.
Best thoughts to you, I hope you find some comfort in the knowledge your writings are important to them.
Have a nice day,


Posted by: Laurent Grégoire at November 18, 2006 12:33 AM


I just found your blog through Fourth Ave Street Blues. Andrew wrote something very nice about your blog.

PS I read thru some of your posts. I love your poems! You write well. And I will say a prayer for Joe.

Posted by: m at November 17, 2006 07:34 PM

Dear Pam,

Oh, please forgive me for not keeping up with your blog as I should and commenting. As a schizophrenic myself I find that I can be irratic. Sometimes I'm all there and other times I'm off in my own world. Try to be patient with me and I'll try to be more consistent. And yes, I do miss Paula. She is an inspiration and what she says is so true. Your poems are excellent but you are so prolific that I have trouble keeping up with you and I, too, feel a bit awkward about critiquing you when I have written so little poetry myself. I also want to be encouraging and not dis-couraging. As you know, I just got a MacBook laptop computer and am finally on the internet again, so that I will be more involved than I have been these past few weeks. Thanks for bringing your dismay to our attention. Your honesty is, as always, refreshing and pertinent. We value you Pam! Keep writing and be patient with us.

Always Fondly,

Kate : D

P.S. Happy Birthday!!!

Posted by: Kate K. at November 17, 2006 04:15 PM

I am a terrible commenter, but I read your blog often and it inspires me, gives me hope, gives me joy, and makes me think. There are many of us out here - we just read and absorb but selfishly never give back. I am sorry for not telling you sooner what you mean to me!

Posted by: Joanne at November 17, 2006 03:09 PM

Pam, apologies. I sometimes feel, as do Ky and Jonathon, that my contributions may be trite. Then, as well, my child has been keeping me busy and preoccupied; my heart is all engaged with her. Finally, I did write to thank you for your comments on my comment on the subject of time some while(!) back, but my response was mysteriously blipped away and I did not have the heart to reconstruct it. All of this notwithstanding, I continue to enjoy and admire your work.


Posted by: Cynthia at November 16, 2006 10:52 PM

Forgive me Pam for not commenting on your writings and poems. If I could swallow a potion that would give me the writing abilities you possess I would do it in a minute, but the reality is I struggle with words. Your eloquence flows so easily and I have such great admiration for the flow and creativity of your beautiful put together words.

Your poem “The Catatonic Speaks” made me think of my father when he became extremely ill. As a 15-year-old girl I do remember my father sitting for hours and not moving at all. It was heartbreaking and painful to watch him. As a 15-year-old girl, I would sit close to him and ask… Daddy are your okay? Daddy can I help you? Daddy, what are you thinking about? Your poem gives me a glimpse of my father’s thoughts.

Pam, if I don’t comment on your writing it isn’t because I don’t care or I don’t enjoy them, sometimes I’m at a loss for words. You write so beautifully that I feel that anything I would write will sound so trite, simple and pedestrian and I’m just not clever with words. I’m not saying I’m stupid but I don’t possess your eloquence and that makes me feel a bit intimated. On the other hand I'm happy for you that you have this gift. I think all of us on earth are given different strengths and gifts. God gave you the gift of writing.

Warmest regards,

Posted by: Yaya at November 16, 2006 10:43 PM

Well, I still read you everyday, but I am the world’s worst blog commenter. I feel inadequate and unworthy of writing comments sometimes; like my opinion doesn’t matter. It is a clear case of an inferiority complex.

I have very much enjoyed your exploration and the crafting of poems with Alexis. I have never been a big poem reader, but you have opened up my mind and heart to the craft. I enjoy reading anything about writing.

Take care of yourself, Pam, and I will try to comment more upon your blog and give something back. You have given me so much these past few months that I have been reading.

Jonathon Andrew

Posted by: Jonathon Andrew at November 16, 2006 08:01 PM

Pam, loved your new poems. Am working at revising those sentences. Will send something soon.

Posted by: Alexis at November 16, 2006 03:56 PM

I really enjoy reading your poems.

As a fellow poet and sz sufferer, I often write about sz. It can be very therapeutic. I've even had some published.

I don't always comment, because I don't always feel up to it, and feel my contributions may be trite.

Don't despair, you are being read and appreciated.

-ky perraun

Posted by: ky perraun at November 16, 2006 03:51 PM

Pammy, my precious soulmate and sister,

In letters that keep disappearing from me(to keep me in a constant state of anxiety and low self esteem?) I have praised your new poems in many different ways. Because of my longstanding knowledge of your work, I am able to point out a difference from your more familiar style, a return to the original style which I so admired, a freshness of expression, a tightened precision etc. When I read your blog today, I knew that I must break through my long period of pain and inertia to make some observations that may stimulate your readers to begin commenting once more. If you recall,we both noticed that when your blog strayed from writing about yourself, your comments lessened. I made a plea to the "silent majority" to join me in commenting and Voila! enter Yaya, Cynthia, Kate, Sue and others, a remarkable group of articulate, intelligent and sensitive people who became "the regulars" in a very short time. Although I cringe from saying this, I wonder if the unexplained absence of my ever faithful comments despite our obvious closeness gave "permission" if you will, for others to be silent as well. It does take time and effort to comment, and if the standard bearer "ET" has apparently defected, then surely it would be okay for others to let you bear the burden of writing by yourself for a while as well. If this could possibly be true, then right now I will state for the record that only ill health and some emotional issues have prevented me from commenting on every blog. Perhaps too, you have so earnestly devoted such time and energy to teaching about the writing process and demonstrating that process through presenting your exciting group of new poems, your readers may feel a bit intimidated to either reveal their own poetic inspirations or comment on your poems because they feel that constant praise is redundant or that any attempt at analysis may be incorrect. They may be waiting for something more straightforward, such as a recent experience that you have had, that gives them the courage to simply express their opinion or perhaps give you some helpful advice, thus stimulating and renewing more frequent comments and the sense of "family" that I had begun to feel existed for all of us. Whatever the cause may be, perhaps it was for the best because it brought me out of my dangerous self involvement in order to reach out and ask my fellows to comment once more, as I shall do henceforth. When my friend of the heart calls out for encouragement, I cannot possibly ignore her plea. I hope my comrades in commenting will join me in full force.
Lovingly as always,Paula

Posted by: Paula Kirkpatrick at November 16, 2006 01:34 PM

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