An Inconstant Friend

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by

Leslie Wells

 

I must beware of an inconstant friend

who owns an amusement park

that opens and closes without warning,

sometimes during the day—

sometimes at night.

 

He invites me to ride his calliope.

So I climb on the white unicorn—

a flowered wreath around his neck,

a gilded saddle on his back,

a phallic, golden horn thrusting

from his forehead.

Up and down, around and round

the music drowns out my thoughts.

I don’t think.

I just ride.

But the merry-go-round is rigged.

No one grabs the brass ring.

Not ever.

 

Next I ride his roller-coaster

with its intoxicating highs

and devastating lows.

I almost throw up.

 

His haunted house isn’t rigged—it’s real.

The residence of ghosts he can never forget or

abandon or escape.

 

The House of Mirrors

shows my reflection—inside-out.

He can see inside me.

He can see my heart.

He can see my soul.

He probes its orifices, curves, and hallows with his fingers and his teeth.

He eats me like cotton candy.

I dissolve on his tongue.

I am no more.

All that’s left is a paper stick.

I never do find the Tunnel of Love,

even though there’s signs for it

pointing this way and that.

The signs lie.

This park does not have a Tunnel of Love.

 

As I walk to the games

where I’ll lose all my money and not win

the pink plastic poodle

with its rhinestone collar,

he announces that the park is closed.

 

Not in ten minutes.

NOW.

GET OUT.

I DON’T WANT YOU HERE.

 

I rush to the exit.

As I head to my car

I turn

and see him locking the gate

and hanging his sign:

DON’T COME BACK UNLESS I INVITE YOU

 

I lock my car doors

and drive away.

Forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Me

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My name is Leslie Wells and I have been mentally ill most of my life.  The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder started after I was raped at age five.  I was also sexually abused as a child by my step-grandfather.  I was sixteen when I joined a Christian cult.  I stayed in this church for twenty-eight-years.  I stayed in a crazy, abusive marriage for twenty-two-years.  I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a few personality disorders.

But the abuse and mental illnesses are not the main elements of my story.  I have a wonderful twenty-three-year old daughter.  I am so proud of her as she works hard to follow her dream of getting a fine arts degree in ceramics.  I also have many loving relationships with family and friends.

And I have my creativity.  I’m doing the final edit—finally!—on my memoir, Unsafe: God, Sex, and Growing Up.  I am also writing the first draft of a novel.  I have my constant companion, my journal.  And the poetry I write.  I’ve been making collages for fifteen years.  I find out what other parts of my mind want my conscious mind to know as I place the images on the paper.  Not only do they speak to me, my collages seem to speak to others, as well.

I don’t ask myself where I would be without my creativity.  The answer isn’t pretty and the question is hypothetical–so why waste energy on it?  Is the question is hypothetical for you?  If it isn’t, I hope Creative and Mentally Ill can play a role in changing that.

Thank you!