Breath & Shadow
A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature
A Farewell to Disneyland
By Mel C. Thompson
When you’re from Orange County
poverty is the one unforgivable sin.
Friends and family drift away
when an illness becomes chronic.
Insanity can be forgiven
so long as you’ve got a trust fund.
But mental illness leading to indigence
is the final brick in the great wall.
People from Orange County say,
“We don’t believe in mental illness.”
They imagine I’ve chosen madness
as a kind of novelty-boutique lifestyle.
This Is The Real World
By Mel C. Thompson
At last the “reintegration process” begins.
Today a young college sophomore in psychology
will be taking her pack of middle-aged crazies
to the park for a little field trip.
We are herded carefully out of the ward
onto California Street, up to a park
at the top of Nob Hill. I’d forgotten
how on-the-move this “real world” is.
I stare with morbid amazement
at ordinary people shopping in stores,
holding hands and embracing lovers.
They are a complete mystery to me.
In truth, I never understood
what it’s like to feel normal,
but only managed my alienation
till it outgrew my management skills.
Some of the patients are having fun.
They seem to be recovering.
They say I might be recovering too.
Mel Thompson currently is anthologized in Poetry Salzburg Review, (University of Austria at Salzburg), the Beatitude Golden Anniversary Issue (1959-2009), The Las Positas College Anthology and Poets from Hell (New American Underground Poetry).
In the 90s Thompson started Mel Thompson Publishing under the labels of Cyborg Productions, Blue Beetle Press and Citi-Voice Magazine, where he published such literary figures as Michael McClure, Alan Kaufman and Bruce Isaacson. He has since retired from active publishing, although he does guest editing work as needed for various publications.
In recent years he has been published in The World Poets Journal, (China), The California Quarterly, and several times in Over the Transom, (San Francisco). In June of 2011 he had two broadsides published by 48th Street Press, which was then operating out of Caracas Venezuela.
Thompson has been written about or interviewed by media outlets ranging from USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Canadian Public Broadcasting and Geo (France).