there are now more plastic flamingos in the world
than there are actual flamingos.
I think this has little to do with consumerism
and everything to do with how we dream of things
we will never actually see for ourselves.
I’ve never actually seen a rainforest
so I can’t for certain say that they do exist.
I have never seen my father cry so he is probably a cyborg.
As a kid I pretended that I was a princess locked in a castle.
No one was keeping me in my room
but there was just so much to imagine in there.
Now when I am locked in my room
it’s because there is too much to imagine everywhere else.
Bipolar disorder is kind of like the brat at a brain birthday party.
It wants everything everyone else has
but wants to get it by screaming and throwing cake on the ground.
Occasionally it puts itself on time-out.
For hours. For weeks. For months.
Until the dishes in the sink are a scarecrow
and everyone else has gone home.
Once, I jumped off a friend’s kitchen counter,
tried to punch a 6 foot tall man in the face,
referred to myself as, “The Tiger”,
and cleared out my bank account all in one week.
This carnival is what we call mania.
And surprisingly, it’s not what kills you.
Because despite the reckless mayhem I always seem to survive myself,
like my brain is telling me, “Not yet moron, you don’t get to die this happy.”
The funny thing is, everyone is shocked when bipolar patients kill themselves,
as if we don’t know where the razor blades are
and our hands aren’t magnets. With a suicide rate of 1 in 4,
The odds are stacked against us
but we still have the audacity to dream about tomorrow.
Because we’ve seen colors
that only Van Gogh knows about.
We’ve fallen off the cliffs of our broken skulls
and landed on our feet.
We cry like summer storms. We laugh like fireworks.
We scream like falling airplanes
‘cause our lungs run on jet fuel.
The thing is,
I’ve never actually seen death
so I cant say for certain that it does exist.
I haven’t seen enough real flamingos in my life and
I’ve never seen a rainforest
but god, do I know what it means
By Victoria Morgan
My name is Victoria Morgan and I am an emerging poet with no previous publication of my work. I have been featured on Button Poetry for a spoken word piece I performed this March. I am currently a fourth-year student and English major at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. I grew up in the San Francisco bay area and have been greatly influenced by its culture. Growing up my family was rather ablest. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a mental illness that my mother became more open-minded and supportive, where as my father never acknowledged that I had a disorder at all. My personal growth within the lifestyle of a mood disorder has given me a desire to speak out on mental illness issues, especially for the benefit of struggling youth. Personally, I am rather open about my disorder, as I believe it is the first step to educating others and hopefully reducing stigmas. My poem for this submission, “Plastic Flamingos”, was written in hopes of broadening the understanding of mood disorders by giving a personal account. It also incorporates a sense of hopefulness in spite of what much of society and even some medical professionals lead us to believe. Currently this piece is not being submitted for any other publication, however it may be adapted into a spoken word piece in the future.