3 A.M at the Psychiatric Ward by Doug Holder

This poem is from a series of poems written during Doug’s tenure at McLean Hospital. Doug Holder ran, for ten of his 27 years there, poetry groups for psychiatric patients. In talking with Doug about Mclean, Doug said “McLean Hospital has been declared a national literary landmark, with poets such as Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, and Sylvia Plath, all spending time there.” These poems were published in a chapbook Doug wrote in 1998: ” Poems of Boston and Just Beyond:From the Back Bay to the Back Ward” published by the Alpha Beat Press. It was a pick of the month for The Small Press Review.—

Friends of Oddball meet Doug Holder.

3 A.M. on the Psychiatric Ward

My flashlight beamed
on the usual bed bound bodies
breathing under layers.
Then–
in the middle of the hall
she came running towards me
perfect, unblemished…naked
a nocturnal melodrama unfolding
the embodiment of a wet dream.
Her eyes beamed
sensitive as a Doe’s–
then she lunged for me–
I grabbed both her arms
and we did our strange dance
anointed by moonlight
from the barred window
tripping the light fantastic–
I was frightened and thrilled,
as she took the lead.

Doug Holder 1998

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