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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Psyches & Serpents: Goodbye (and safe travels)

berezovskyheadshot_opThis quarter has taught me a lot about mental health, inside and outside of writing this column. One thing I learned is that other people are quite willing to share their experiences with things from depression to psychosis. Those talks were refreshing and comforting. Another thing I learned is that mental health is not an obstacle or handicap that impinges on an otherwise unimpeded life, but is only one handicap of many in a life full of obstacles. In other words, mental health is difficult to navigate because life is difficult to navigate. I think the most important thing that can be taken out of that second lesson is that there is really no us or them. We’re all caught in life.

Unfortunately, a lot of conversations I had and little theories I had on life didn’t make it into these columns. Also, while I hope that I have shared some of myself with readers, a lot of the things I dealt with I simply couldn’t figure out how to make readable. For this reason, I hope it won’t be minded that I finish this column with poetry instead of prose – in the hopes that some bit of truth or candor that I couldn’t extract into my columns can be gleaned. That being said, I have no experience in writing  good poetry, so this is the other kind. While it may seem random (it is stream-of-consciousness), I hope that you can see past my lack of skill to the place I’m coming from.

Let me add, too, a BIG thank you to my editors, copy chief, and anyone else involved in publishing of this column. Also, thank you to Chris Le for sacrificing his lunch break so that I could interview him (even if I don’t find a way to use that material in the future, I appreciated our talk). Thanks to those of you who emailed me with feedback, it was all great stuff. And thank you to Carissa Adams, who convinced me (though without knowing it) to submit an entry to The Aggie Opinion column last quarter.


Tired and late

Glancing at the silhouette of fear

White as the moon, almost full too

For the first time in this year


Waited for the angels

and not angels came

Yet nor devils

left with feeling in head

As if to see a big bang

and hear a big boom

but no bullet hit

somehow dodged that doom


You’re staring at me with those silent eyes

shut wide shouting that you know

that I would go this route (save face)

you’re as clueless as unsettled snow


everything’s inside, in it’s Wright place

and thyme

Littered like the letters of a language

long forgotten in the mind

of those living

only in dreams to be recalled

that what they sweep up on their front porch is memories

and what they kick up over the graves is just dust


Why do I rhyme about these random things?

because my time, like yours, is valuable

and like everyone on this ball, within it I need my say

We go to college to learn

& we hammer in our hours

and we mistrust those that seek to bend our clock


and so, like you, trying to regulate my moods

writing about these matters of the heart

i’m losing the beat

& all my bloods in my feet

and I move toward anxiety

and away from the lost art


can’t fight this

change this

Push, pull, or rearrange this

Like looking toward the memories of stars

yet only in the direction of blank spaces


scholars roll

with the beatings of knowledge

In the body, wrecked through the days & nights

and in the thoughts that turn minds to puddy

(ours) in their hands

Yet we stand on the shoulders of these goliaths (who enslave us)

& issue our commands


David, dreaming it’s his birthday,

blows out the northern star on his Milky Way (flavored cake)

Now there’s nothing but a

Blown out blank space

a shadow left to play in


you me and everyone we know

Look toward experience the best teacher

With my mind as the sky,

& experience the weather,

I sit and meditate

Finding my resiliency

guiding my intention & awareness

Reducing my mental pneumonia to a common cold


Find the boredom in this data

& the beauty in this boredom

& help us to look out for one another here

On this earth that dreams of stardom


Thank You

PAUL BEREZOVSKY would like to hear your thoughts at pbberezovsky@ucdavis.edu.

Graphic by CA Aggie Graphic Design Team.

Photo by CA Aggie Photo Team.


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