top of page



(The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

Clutter on the floor fills up

this house’s heavy lungs,

While clutter in my mind fills up

the hours in the day.

This room is full of sunlight,

denatured by the filmy glass

that on clear days holds out the garden air:

the boundary of this tiny world; an isolated system,

so carefully maintained in perfect balance.

But the peace within this quiet

gets lost in all the jagged lines

of pieces and parts that won’t ever fit

but stick together anyway.

The silence starts to swell and writhe,

and leaks into the spaces

between seconds,

so that they grow heavy and bloated,

leaving ugly stretch marks upon my contemplation;

and strange disjointed voices

arise from through the scars.

Tear them up! Tear them up!

This room is filling up

with stubborn shreds of fitful visions;

with splitting ends and tattered thoughts,

faded and blurred, strung out to hang

in network;

an old and broken web

whose curious prey will be forgotten.

A web of veins;

a web of nerves;

a web of jumbled words within my mind

that slowly gathers on the floor.

I pass them by,

again, and over, again;

following lines on the fading wallpaper

in circles,

like blank thoughts

chasing lines on fading paper

in circles:

watch closely as they start to stray

and end all caught up in the haphazard shapes

scattered around the room,

that stumble,


over themselves in wayward sequence;

and clenched in their gnarled and bony fingers,

they drag me with them through this maze.

I’m lurking,

Lost in the murky depths of bloated curves

and spastic flourishes on the walls,

amid the fragments of strange ideas

tangled up here in this mess;

gathering slowly, hidden away

as I forget.

They whisper behind corners,

whisper between repeating shapes

where I search on blindly for a rhythm;

up columns, along rows, and around

and around this quiet room,

spiralling deeper, ever deeper,

as shards of memories scattered on the ground

cut up my feet.

This broken pattern is breaking me;

these peeling sheets start to constrict;

the hollow noise keeps building

as the light of day fades out.

Ghosts are rising from the deep;

gathering to hunt in nightlight.

Strange shapes crawl slowly from the clutter,

in silence thick as tar;

restless shadows circling in

on padded hands and feet.

Sulking creatures of the dark,

will you escape your cage?

Sulking creatures of the dark,

will you devour me in the night?

Darkness, darkness,

Won’t you open up your mouth

and swallow me before they break?

Open wide and close again

breathe in and then breathe out

My mind is just a maze of bones

wrapped in weathered, ragged skin;

this room, this hollow cavity

is the ribcage

I’m trapped inside this cage

Sulking creatures of the dark,

will I join you in the night?


bottom of page