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Alexandre J Arnau

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Mutual discovery, at the end of the tunnel
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a willowbrook story (for natividad perez)
by Alexandre J Arnau
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Not rated by the Author.
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this is a poem about a dirty secret that's been in my family since the 1950's. my mother recently found out her grandmother was a 'patient' of the willowbrook 'school in new york. she was mentally ill, and was sent from puerto rico to america to be cared for by her daughter, my mother's aunt. she was instead sent to the 'school', where she was murdered by another patient. for those who don't know it, it was a mental institution where people were kept in conditions that would have horrified josef mengele. geraldo rivera did his first big story on it, and it was shut down soon after. i think my great grandmother deserves to be more than a dirty secret.



she would listen
  to the wind outside
 and in her mind
 the demons in the shadows
were trying to rape
the songbird
    in her heart

hours without count
   were rocked away
in her room
screaming in the darkness
and crying to walls
she could not see

       and blind
she was drowned in the belly
   of a terrible silver thunder
ripped from the humid room
of her demons
  and thrown into
 the cold city
of her daughter
who could not
         would not
soothe her in the dark
and she was thrown
into a "school"
where the demons
 roared in tongues
 she couldn't understand
as the men in white
  and their acid hands
 filled her with needles
full of bleach
               and pestilence
she was tied
      to her cage
with barbed ribbons
        to thrash in her
own filth
 to soak
in her screams
until one night
who had their own demons
hushed her screams

when it was time
 to lay her down
   you couldn't
be bothered
because the shame
would have been too

now she sleeps
in anonymous peace
in potter's field
 free from the demons
in her head
 and the monster
that was her daughter
that was you

i never really liked you
and nothing you did
ever surprised me
  but i still can't believe
that even you could have been
 such a vile cunt

            you bitch



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