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  • Raymond Hoffman


I’m stuck Born pigeon toed With a stutter OCD—hands bleed Life a tripwire I’m a glasshouse to be peeked in Depressed at 16 Given a SSRI Manic at 18 Tossed to a ward Argue with staff Need shutters on my brain Why when I’m manic my purging becomes intensified? Days starved Attaching to strangers Deny I’m unwell Heroin addict On a plane to China Become a teacher Until psychosis ruins my plans Have always been soft spoken Too feminine in my mannerisms People have assumptions Get cornered in a club and assaulted Make ends meet by drifting to married women On a slow train for 32 hours to a new city Get offered to teach Find I’ve illegally stayed for months where I am Threatened with jail But my boss knows people to make the fallout of my mania go away I must be lucky Cause I’m in the same city I meet a nurse who becomes my wife From disease grows a family No marrow to my bones Going to erode But got stilts in the loose sand And I accept and take care of who I am now.

Raymond Hoffman has a background in political science and Southeast Asian Studies. He has taught in China for many years and currently is a fifth grade teacher in the Midwest. Poetry writing has been used by him as a coping mechanism for bipolar disorder for over a decade now. Sylvia Plath has always been a great source of inspiration, as has been Albert Camus. He has previously been published in Beyond Words Literacy Magazine, Sad Girls Club literary blog, Humans of the World literary blog, and Cathexis Northwest Press.

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