Scene of the Crash

Normally, I am not one to provide background on a poem.  I like them to stand on their own and I love the mystery of not knowing exactly what a reader will grab from the poem.  I have learned many times that often with modern art, the art is more reliant on the audience than on the artist in a manner of speaking.  Sometimes, although it feels very scary and out of control, the best reaction is to hear someone tell you what the piece said to them and you have no clue that you said anything remotely similar to what they received.  Some will attribute the meaning they have received to God.  I don’t know but I do like the mystery of it.

I decided to introduce this for two reasons.  One is that it is perhaps yet another downer poem, but I want to provide information on the source, and two is the ability to give some credit to some musicians.  On the first, since I have been on new medicines under my treatment with B2, I have gained a new disturbing side effect of daily depression cycles.  I have been accustomed to ones that last only a few days but having ones within a day is strange, powerful and discouraging.  We have tinkered with medicines and they are better than they have been.  For a while, I could count on a huge crash into severe despair between two and four in the afternoon.  This would occur at work or at home.  At home, I could go to bed and sleep through it, but at work, I force myself to live through the agony.  I try to live through it and I work hard to be my most normal.  These crashes have been intense in the last few days and that is the place from which this poem comes.

On the second, I have loved the music group The Prodigy since the 90’s.  They are a high energy club band, dance band, and most sane people think that they sound like wackos, and on the other hand, the music snobs, a group I belong in on occasion, believe that this is simple music, music for idiots.  There is another group, a small group of people, who love this group’s music because of how it touches this radical part of our emotional complex.  I don’t understand why, for there is no science to this, but I love it.  As a matter of fact, this afternoon, I used some music from The Prodigy to work on pulling out of a crash and it was partially effective.  This poem points to a song called, “Take Me To The Hospital.”  (Please be sure to sample the video at the end to get a sense for the energy and madness.)  I hear this song and it stirs up those feelings of knowing that there is nothing left and you need to quit and let someone lock you up.  The title of the poem is part of a line from the song, “Welcome to the scene of the crash,” which feels perfectly apropos as I describe the scene of one of my afternoon crashes.  Now I have blabbed on and on and maybe that is why I don’t like to give background.  Pardon the interruption and here we go:


Scene of the Crash

I want life.

My mind zigs

In death’s egg noodle.

Take it away.


I do not want  each and every

Object of my attention to be

So hateful.

My world attacks me.

Things in my vision

Zoom in on me.

Sounds are entirely messy.

I plug my ears with the loudest music,

But the others counter with

Sounds of contrarian happiness.

My mind grinds rusted gears

At the implication of happy.

My mind pleads for me to hide,

But my soul knows;

There is no place for safety.


The plate is slicing

A straight line above the eyebrows,

And in comes the heavy blanket.

With blanket, I am subdued.

And blind, and all sounds are like

The Bustling, sharp whispering noise of the

Airplane cabin before taxi,

Before the crash.

I surrender but there is

not a single one

To take me to the hospital.

All I want is the hospital.

All of my shrinking body

Begs for hospital.

But there is this tiny piece,

The smallest fragment you can imagine,

And it says, You must struggle

And be normal.


It causes me to fight when

Surrender would be best.

Mind tells me that if I go to the hospital,

They will never let me out.

We can’t have that.

I want to swim with Chocolate

Mousse one more time.

What will the neighbors think?

Fuck, the neighbors

Know I am gone.


I talk to my medicine over and over.

Work, damn it!

It does, I suppose.

I am still alive.

I go to write things down

In my journal, the one that

Portrays me as a mad man

With a sick creative streak.

One step at a time.

Why is that so hard?

All of the words mix together,

And I don’t know my native language.

And the numbers, I love the numbers,

But they look like tiny mice on top

Of a dead whale.


Can my wife understand?

Can she take me to the hospital?

Can she take me home?

No, who do I kid with this noise?

No, I must melt into the vinyl

Of my cheap-ass, Americana

Cubicle furniture.

And wonder what they might say

At the funeral.

The swimming and

Swirling fake vinyl,

And I remember when I dropped

My lunch time pill and it fell

In the garbage.

Did it mix with a wet tea bag

And Inspire this evil reaction?

No, I like to blame the medicine

or anything, really, for all of my



But I know I am a defect,

And I should be gone

In a bright cell with a

Safety cot.


Take me to the hospital.



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  1. #1 by Claudia on January 7, 2011 - 2:14 pm

    nice one carl.. i agree with what you wrote about explaining poems.. i have a bit an ambivalent feeling. sometimes i write sth. which for me is very clear – and the comments go in 10 different directions – everyone reads sth. else into it – always depending on the background and mood of the person i guess (and i wonder). but this is also what i like about poetry – there are so many ways to read a poem and you can be touched on so many different levels. but sometimes i feel the need to explain as well.

    • #2 by Carl on January 7, 2011 - 7:55 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, and thank you for making it through the post! I have a feeling that when you get more interpretations than you imagined you would get, it indicates that you have written a piece of art. Art is able to touch different souls in different ways. Thanks again for taking the time with this. I appreciate it more than you know!

  2. #3 by Evelyn on January 7, 2011 - 7:53 pm

    I enjoyed the beginning.
    Sometimes you cant get it out with poetry alone.

    • #4 by Carl on January 7, 2011 - 8:02 pm

      Thank you, Evelyn. Thank you for your time on it, and I appreciate your comment!

  3. #5 by Sirenum Scopuli on January 7, 2011 - 9:02 pm

    I love the song.
    I can feel your anguish and frustration. I am glad there is a tiny part of you that has hope, and keeps faith.

    • #6 by Carl on January 8, 2011 - 7:33 am

      Thank you for your comment, and it’s really good to know someone else loves that song!

  4. #7 by Life: Between the lines on January 8, 2011 - 6:18 pm

    I will check the group out. I enjoy “new discovery” 🙂
    “My mind knows there is no place for safety” 😦
    Thanks for sharing this piece Carl…..”hugs”

    • #8 by Carl on January 8, 2011 - 11:07 pm

      And thank you! We need all of the hugs we can get.

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