The Mad Have Wings

Image Description: An image of a black night sky with a full yellow moon and the silhouette of a person with wings flying in front of the moon.

By: Jessica Lowell Mason

On the walls, in the scrawls,

our mad voices bleed,

our heads break and our brains

scatter and splatter

back against the medical

records, horror’s paint

covering horror’s lies,

Jackson Pollock

died in 1956 but our lives

continue to be spattered

on the canvas of an industry;

we are only read

when we are dead,

when our deaths form

the last layers

of indecipherability;

we return as phantoms

in the ink where we were

made shadows, cast

into whatever the white

of pathology rejected,

dislocation’s demands

fill the buildings

that were our graves

with layers of vapor;

there is a tumult,

an earthquake only felt

by the broken earth,

that we recognize:

we speak the quaking,

aware we will not be

heard or seen

though our shaking

bodies will be wrestled

into stillness, this is how

we take back our corpses

when the latex armies

capsize our boats of resistance,

commodify our rage,

and turn our refusals

into invitations— as if they don’t

know the mad have wings

and our corpses fly.

Jessica Lowell Mason (she/her) is a White person with blonde and brown hair. She is standing in front of a black wall wearing a grey blazer jacket, a black turtleneck shirt, and a skeleton earring.

Jessica Lowell Mason is a mother, a writer, an educator, a performer, a psychiatric industry survivor, an outspoken social justice activist, and an advocate for women, girls, and queer/non-binary people. She is devoted to speaking and writing about issues related to cognitive autonomy and to empowering women while also working for mental health reform via community-based literacy and advocacy efforts. She started Madwomen In The Attic (MITA) with her sister after undergoing a severely traumatic situation at a state mental hospital, but sees MITA as an extension of her academic research and lifelong commitment to social justice, and she hopes that, in time and through the efforts of MITA and other similarly-humanistic organizations, nationally and globally there will be a recognition of the human rights of neurodivergent people and an end to the era of violence and human rights violations perpetuated by the psychiatric and pharmacological industries.

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