Arranging Memory in my Mind, a poem by Drem about coping with PTSD


Arranging Memory in my Mind, a poem by Drem

September 1, 2015

“I talk about sex and drugs

while half of me

fears being alone

with anyone…

even alone within myself.

What will I do to me?

Cut myself open to see if I bleed?

Please come sit next to me


I want to shut it all off,

all except for you

from a distance

and when I’m on

some substance.

But I need control

over everything.

Even myself.


because I can’t get lost

into the shadows

of these little white pills.

I can’t sail away on them.

I can’t let myself get that lost.

I’m already lost

in the icky sticky


there in the crevices

I stick my past into the crevices

when it gets too much

to handle.

And I continue to stick my past

into them.

Slipped all of them

in between like a deck of cards,

so I don’t think about them.

Cards behind a cement wall

that’s covered with plaster board

and decorative wall paper

in my brain.

With the distractions,

it seems,

I made my memory

hard to find

inside my own head.

Everything elsewhere

in there

is otherwise dull.

A simple arrangement of lines

with bits that feel nice

and twinkle.

Still, lots of gray

and other bland colors.

It’s all so easily forgettable

once I walk through the next door.

I forget everything.

Even who I am.

It’s not the drugs, I swear.

It’s not my lackluster


or unhealthy

junk food binging

sci-fi junkie diet.

I made myself this way

by making myself forget

many yesterdays

and by crossing out

so many instances

and experiences.

My brain automatically

makes a default response now

once I walk into a new space

or come upon a new day.

My mind is swiped clean

and polished so well

I can see a reflection

even though I don’t know who is looking back at me.

I think I see what I dream,

what my life could really be,

if I wasn’t chained

to my broken body.

I don’t see, I think,

what my life is

actually like.

I don’t see

what shaped

the fearful woman

I am today

who swipes her mind on purpose.

 I wasn’t born this way.

Born to fear men,

and crowds,

and sound,

and getting out of bed.


What caused all that

is why I take the pills I need to take

and why I arranged

the furniture in my mind

in such a way

to set me apart

from the whole wide world.

To keep me far enough from you

so that we can’t touch

and I can’t feel.”

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