New | Poetry | Kevin R. Pennington | Three Visions in the Mental Ward II (Final)




I was

no longer in a

Garden. The

world was liquid

metal. The ground

flowed like water.

Was it quicksilver?

I stood on an island

just big enough

for myself,

in the middle of a

silvery sea.

She floated beside

me. Her gown flowing

in the wind, though

I felt nothing.

She had smooth skin,

like a dolphin or a whale.

I think she was

aquatic. She lived

under the ocean

or perhaps

in a teardrop.




Her voice was music,

yet more than song.

Each word was a melody,

it’s own story.

I did not comprehend

her speech.

I can’t remember

what she said.

I do not know

her name. She

did not speak it,

or perhaps I

didn’t understand.


I only know

she conveyed


I knew I was safe.

The terror in

my mind


I could breath

easy again.




I stood

in an apartment

in New York.

It wasn’t spacious.

Outside was a

spectral Greenwich



Spirits floated down

the street of

the skeletal city

of skyscrapers and

subway trains.


In the doorway

was the poet-guru,

teacher of my teachers,

David Quick’s Jewish grandmother,

lover of men and grandfather

of poems, condoms, and

golden sunflowers.

It was the

Lion of Dharma himself,

though not in the flesh.


He wore a modest

brown suit

with matching

tie. He wore

his signature


face half-frozen,

even in this dream

of mine.


A halo of light illuminated

him like a great saint.


Is this my Blake vision?

Is this my poetic revelation?

Is this all an ego trip?

I must really be losing my mind.


Allen spoke,

his voice a whisper:


“the weight,

the weight we carry

is love.”




A year passes by.

I write new poems.

Something within me

remembers the violence

before the visions.

It is a hard knot,

locked in my chest,

best forgotten, until

dredged up in counseling

with a therapist.


After much thought

it comes to my mind

that I am not kind

to myself.


It's time to plant

a new field

wherein the flowers

of myself can grow

toward the sunlight

in the window.


Author’s Note

After having these three visions, I was released from the mental ward on June 3, 2019. It was Allen Ginsberg’s 93rd birthday.

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