Time by Alan Catlin

The spray painted sign on
the abandoned insane asylum wall
says, “Hell was more fun than this.”
Those soiled walls, mold damp and
cracking, faint vestiges seen of standard
institutional paint, thirty years removed
from habitation, care.  Everything inside
neglected, broken, ruined, phased out
in state mandated nocare for the infirm,
the disconnected, dissociative, distressed,
dumped into large communities to become
homeless, beggars, criminals, wards of
state run, out-patient, nohelp clinics.
Latter day spelunkers, urban explorers,
swear these grounds, this ruin in particular,
are haunted. That screams from water
torture therapy: cold water immersions,
wrapping in wet sheets naked to dry in noheat
rooms, therapeutic random beatings,
locked room restraint therapy, standard practices
for Freudian hysterics, women in not-so-
long-ago, bygone years, followed by daily
forced feedings, water colonics making
modern day innovation like electroshock
seem humane by comparison.  An admission
here is forever, cure rates minimal or not
at all, results fabricated by close observation,
Mengele would understand what the photo of
a woman with hair standing on end after
a day or two here, under a bell jar, really meant:
a room of one’s own in a carefully calibrated
system of hell, the screams muted now, but
no amount of time can erase the kind of wounds
inflicted here.

for bjc and all the los olvidados

Alan Catlin
Alan Catlin is the poetry editor of misfitmagazine.net. His latest books of poetry are American Odyssey from Future Cycle and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press

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