Crazy Talk

The latest edition of the online literary journal Triple Canopy has an interesting piece by Rivka Galchen, whose debut novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, is next on the reading pile. (The New York Observer ran a nice profile of Galchen last month.) In “Case Notes of a Medical Student, East Harlem Psychiatric ER, Winter 2002” she describes interviews with a number of troubled patients. For instance:

HM, 25-year-old male, brought in after his mother called his day-treatment program because he was “scaring her.” H/o schizophrenia. Extremely calm and polite during interview. Initially denies hearing voices, denies any symptoms. Says he
was brought in because he has been drinking wine. He is drinking wine because it is the blood of Christ and the more he drinks the more he will be like Christ. The cops are like the Romans who crucified Jesus. God is his father. When he was twenty, God gave him wings. He’s angry with his father for bringing him into the world and just leaving him there. His mother believes in a white Christ, the wrong Christ. His program director, present for the interview, reveals that HM has a history of arrests for aggravated assault. “They’re trying to clip my wings,” HM says. “I have no choice.”

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