Living with the Black Dog
(For the Bukas Puso at Isip Family Support Group
of Philippine General Hospital)
The world is a witness how I tame the Black Dog,
how I befriend it at night when the stars connive
with the moon to devise a plot against me,
seeking revenge that insomnia accompanies me
as I become intoxicated with a passion
greater then Romeo and Juliet’s or Antony
and Cleopatra’s; I inhale sadness each morning
when the tug of war between reluctance
and my medicines, Valpros and Risperidone,
is the only setting in my mind, sometimes,
I forget to take a bath or brush my teeth for days
just as I forget telephone numbers or birthdays,
I juggle six jobs at a moment or do nothing at all,
staring at the ceiling with a constellation of dust
to taste the sourgraping from my parents.
The world is a witness how I slayed the Black Dog
in a battle for sanity, I killed it and survived the attack,
I no longer fear sinking, sinking in the sea of suffering,
I would always be sailing in a tempest-tossed ship,
but I know I will survive, I will survive.
April Mae M. Berza is the author of Confession ng isang Bob Ong Fan (Flipside, 2014.) Her poems and short stories appeared in numerous publications in the US, Canada, Romania, India, Japan, UK and the Philippines. Her poems are translated in Crimean Tatar and Filipino. Some of her poems are published in Liwayway, The Siren, Poetica, Calliope, Maganda, Metric Conversions, Ani, The Manila Times, Contemporary Verse 2, and elsewhere.. Her poem "E-Martial Law" was broadcast on IndoPacific Radio on KPFA 94.1FM/kpfa.org. She is a member of Poetic Genius Society. She lives in Taguig, Philippines.