The Madness Vase

Posted On 15, November, 2011


The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables.
Said if I could get down thirteen turnips a day
I would be grounded, rooted.
Said my head would not keep flying away
to where the darkness lives.
The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight.
Said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do.
I handed her the twenty. She said, “Stop worrying, darling.
You will find a good man soon.”
The first psycho therapist told me to spend
three hours each day sitting in a dark closet
with my eyes closed and ears plugged.
I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking
about how gay it was to be sitting in the closet.
The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth.
Said to focus on the out breath. Said everyone finds happiness
when they care more about what they give
than what they get.
The pharmacist said, “Lexapro, Lamicatl, Lithium, Xanax.”
The doctor said an anti-psychotic might help me
forget what the trauma said.
The trauma said, “Don’t write these poems.
Nobody wants to hear you cry
about the grief inside your bones.”
But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi jumped
from the George Washington Bridge
into the Hudson River convinced
he was entirely alone.”
My bones said, “Write the poems.”

42 Responses to The Madness Vase

  1. JT says:

    You’re a true inspiration, and this is very beautiful. It’s hard to read your writing without tearing up. Thank you.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for listening to your bones and bringing this poem into the world.

  3. bateman says:

    This is wonderful. I am so glad you write, publish, and speak your poems. They save me when I think I am all alone. Thank you.

  4. Nela says:

    you wrote this on 15th November – that date is my birthday.
    It gave me the strenght I have been crying for for so long…
    thank you. for your existence. Thank you that you breathe, Andrea. You’re saving, making lives all around the world so much brighter, more conscious and aware of their life and purpose on this world.
    You’re changing the world. Don’t ever forget that.
    I’m now 18, from a tiny European country, and am finally ready to make some decisions that I’ve been pushing away for so long because I was scared. I’m not scared anymore.
    Thank you so much..

  5. mason says:

    you are a golden soul. i just heard say yes because of reddit and couldnt help but close my eyes and feel it sink in. thank you

  6. leighsteele says:

    Dear Andrea,

    If there is a god, she is you incarnate. I want to see your face when the white light surrounds me and hear these words spill from you in the tiniest whisper as i slip from earth-womb to next-womb.

    and tonight, i hold your trauma in my wrinkled palm. i take it’s weight for a few moments and then and bring it to my ears. somehow, this means something to me. something important.

    i have the space to hold it for you tonight. and so, allow yourself to be free of that weight for a bit.

    thank you for choosing to land earthside during the same time i did.


  7. Jen says:

    You’re amazing, and I’m sure you are too humble to really believe it, but you are. I am so glad someone shared what you’re about on Facebook because I’ve really been missin’ out. Keep it up!

  8. Stephanie Hatfield says:

    Sooooooo my escape is to write songs and play guitar. The thing is…i always end up feeling like i am complaining too much or no one really cares what i have to say or wanna hear about how i feel about different circumstances… places… girls… life. Granted… at the end of the day i still always pick up a pen and start writing what i feel into lines… then phrases… then verses… then before i know it i either put my notebook down to finish what i was writing for another day or i have a song that depicts my deepest emotions.
    This poem made me realize… yah… there are people that don’t give a shit. but.. why should i give a shit what they think. I do what i do for me… in hopes that someone can relate to it somehow. If someone can’t relate.. it’s fine. But writing and playing is part of who i am.. so i cant let ignorance get the best of me now and… most importantly… i cant ignore my feelings. “The Madness Vase” hits a lot of emotions that i feel/ have felt.. and it is nice to be able to read such an articulate piece of writing. i can only hope one day i am half as good.

    Just to let you know… which im sure LOTS of people have already told you… the power of your word has brought hope to many people who have lost hope in most… if not all things. Thank you for being so amazing. I kno that sounds kind of depressing BUT what is amazing is that sometimes all people need is a realization. You are that realization for a lot of people… including me.


    OH! and .. see you January 19th in Bloomington, IL! AHH IM SO EXCITEDD


  9. elizag says:

    this is brilliant – the pace, the speed, the end

  10. Shirley says:

    This is an amazing poem, your poems gives me strength and hope and brings live to me. I wish you come to Puerto Rico, your voice is needed here. 😀

  11. momo says:

    Thank you.

  12. chris says:

    dear Andrea
    I was just wondering if there was an adress i could send you a letter to? i dont have facebook or myspace, just not something i am interested in. I dont see any las vegas shows coming up anytime soon so instead of going to a show i just wwanted to send a letter.
    thank you.

  13. Madeline says:

    Your poetry is amazing… its truly inspiring and has really helped me, in more ways than one… thank you

  14. marilyn says:

    I like what you have to say and the way you say it. One can listen and feel uncomplicated or complicate the hell out of your words. It’s one’s choice and good poetry is all that and more. Thank you.

  15. bridget says:

    i love love love love this.

  16. So today I’m sent a link to “The jewelry store” and I listen, not knowing that it would be the first listen of 5 this night… Never have I reacted more emotionally to a poem. A dizzying talent I just can’t wait to see what else I am yet to discover from this amazing poet we call Angela as I can certainly can say I won’t be leaving my love for this work here! Truly amazing! Do a tour all the way over here in England!!1 Pleaseeee??!! I’m sure I could create a suitble audience from my friends alone who I know are yet to share my love! (North England btw.)

  17. Jami Greenfield says:


    somehow you manage to capture an instant of pure vunlerable emotion ever so gently and stretch it out in your words that it becomes a diaphanous sheath in which life is cradled and its beauty effortlessly revealed.

    Thank You…

  18. hena tayeb says:

    So beautifully written..

  19. Jade says:

    I have just discovered you Andrea, I was googling ‘strong female role models’ and came across your name. The first thing I saw on your website was this poem.

    I’m really struggling right now, and feel like I’ve tried everything and every avenue of help to get better. Reading this, and your witty phrasing, it made me feel a little less alone for a while.

    Thank you

  20. Stacy says:


  21. Would you be willing to post the newest version of this piece? I’d really like the text so I can teach it more in-depth with my students.

    You are such an inspiration. I hope you never run out of words.

  22. Allison Brinkhorst says:


    My question is similar to Ronnie’s. Are there any videos or recordings of the longer version? I loved it when you performed it in Des Moines last month, and I would like to share it with friends. Thank you!

  23. Glenda says:

    This poem resonates in all of me.

  24. Wendy Rodriguez says:

    I love you. When you read this at the bowery I never felt more alive. I felt every word you said through my bones, veins, heart, and soul. Thank you.

  25. Esraa says:

    wow!!!!!!!!…I just adore your soul. you are just more than amazing..I feel every word making a drop sound in my heart the minute I read it ….thank u for listening to your are my Idol :)

  26. Martha Barber-Hume says:

    I would say that this poem is beautiful, but beautiful does not do it justice. There is yet to be a word that describes the power the poet can have to reach inside your very being and say everything that you couldn’t put words to. It’s been a tough two years for me, I am happy to say I’ve come out the other end. Last week I came out to my mum, her response – you are still the amazing girl I brought into this world. Times really are changing. Your poem on prop 8 gave me the hope to do this.Thank you for that. Adrienne Rich would be proud.
    Any chance you’ll be having a Europe Tour? Dublin would love to have you!

    Martha (18), Dublin

  27. Rex says:

    Wishing you, and all involved, the very best…

    If you’re still suffering from depression know that you are not alone. <3

  28. Kams says:

    An anonymous person told me to read this poem. They said ‘trust me’. I had no idea what the meant. But now I do. Even though I read this just five minutes ago, this poem now means so much to me. I could connect to it more than I could ever with any sort of book, or artist; I’ve been immersed in this. This is just beyond beautiful…

  29. Marla says:

    It’s a good thing I don’t have to speak here because my tongue just hit the floor. This evening, while on my nightly prowl through Amazon to find new and moving poetry, I stumbled onto this piece and it were as though you were a thief in the night come to steal my pain and display it to the world as the badge of honor that it truly is.

    I was so intrigued with you that I immediately found this site and chose to watch you read, “I Sing The Body Electric, Especially When My Power’s Out” As I watched and listened, my skin crawled, my nipples became hard, my heart began to bleed, and a sea of emotion began to swell inside of me, finding its only release through the tear ducts of my eyes.

    Like jumper cables to restart a dead battery, your soul reached out to mine, and for a few short minutes, you serged such a powerful amount of energy..that I started right up!

    Bravo, Andrea!

  30. L says:

    I listen to this poem whenever I get the urge to self harm. You have brought light to my life.

  31. Gracre Young says:

    Andrea, you move me. Your poem rocked me to the core. You see, I lost my son Jack Young, Jr. to suicide on his 27th birthday, May 8, 2007. In response, we started our annual benefit all day concert to get families together to learn the signs of depression and suicide. Jack had only recently told us that he was depressed, as he was grown and had lived away from home for many years. He had a beautiful fiancee, a music career, was a prolific writer and artist, and was a very handsome and magnetic man. I suspect he himself did not know he was suicidal. We tried to get him into a treatment center, but he was turned away for lack of insurance. When I told the nurse at a local residential facility that i would pay the bill, i didn’t care what it cost, she laughed and said, ‘oh honey why don’t you sign your house over to me right now?” less than two months later, after his fiancee left for Switzerland to renew her green card, he hanged himself after getting good and drunk, with his vacuum cleaner cord. He left no note. But I did find a page in one of his twenty journals, “Hi Mom!” it said. We would love to see you at Particle Accelerator on June 8 in Putnam CT… your poem is wonderful… i am so glad you wrote it. May I read it at Particle?? Giving you all full credit, and leading folks to your .org? Please let me know. I am still ensconced in grief, while trying to be an advocate for prevention and education, but it is very hard. Thank you for these important points, …. I am glad you are still here, and I want to spread your message to those hurting that they MUST LIVE…. !!! With much love and admiration, Grace Young, 19 Fremont ST Putnam, CT 06260 860-428-3827

  32. Elizabeth Hancock says:

    Denise read this in yoga class. I love this so much.

  33. Jumps says:

    Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us.

  34. Roi says:

    A psychiatrist is a phiaycisn who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. I have a bachelor’s degree in the social services field. For several years, I have worked with children who have been diagnosed with mental disorders. It is upsetting to see children victimize at an early age and even more disturbing to see them as predators as early as 5 years of age, however knowing that I am doing my part to assist them in becoming functioning youths and adults is rewarding. The empathy, confidentiality and maturity of a medical assistant are definitely needed in this area. I enjoy establishing a rapport with these clients and helping them to find adequate coping skills to deal with their disorders, therefore I would like to work for a psychiatrist.I would not like to work for an emergency phiaycisn for several reasons. I will explain a few. Patients who come to the emergency center typically have serious injuries or trauma. I would not like to have my mind constantly focused on who is coming thru the door and how sever the prognosis is. Knowing myself, I know that would be my focus and I would not be very productive. Also, in the emergency room the staff has to be prepared for anything, I would prefer an area that focuses on a particular specialty. Most importantly, I do not wish to see excessive amounts of blood loss on a regular basis. Actually, not even a minimal amount of blood loss on a regular basis. Giving my opinion and thoughts about this specialty, I would not be an effective employee.

  35. says:

    I had a rather hard time choosing just one type of physician I would want to work for. So many of them fascinate me, and with me not really going into any medical field other than support, I never gave this any thought in the past. After reading the list, I am more favorable of working for a neonatologist. It is difficult to think about how neonatologist physicians sometimes have the most difficult job in the world, but I can only imagine how amazing it would be to be a part of saving a baby’s life. I had a coworker once whose baby was born at 36 weeks, and her baby had a lot of heart and lung problems. There were concerns about whether or not they would ever fully develop once she had him, but after many months in the NICU, and many scares that happened during it, the doctors were able to save him and he is now a very healthy 5 year old. It is because of that I have a higher interest in the neonatologist field.I hate to say which type of physician I would care less to work for, and it is because I worry that many will take it the wrong way. When I was 16, I used to help my mom at an assisted living home as a caregiver. We would get to work at 7:00 A.M. every morning to prepare breakfast for four of the elderly men and women that we were caring for. We would then make sure that all bedding was changed, rooms were cleaned, meals were prepared, and appointments were handled. We worked 12 hour days, and they were always grueling. The owner of the home made sure that everyone had their medicine and made it to their doctor appointments on time. However, she was more worried about getting paid for her services than actually helping the elderly. She would yell at them if they did something wrong, and even call them terrible names. My mom reported her and we both quit our job, but it has always left a sting in my heart since then. It is because of my experience with that situation that I do not think I could ever work for a gerontologist. I know that the situations would be much different, but ever since my experience with caring for elderly individuals it is very hard for me to think about assisting a physician in geriatrics because I worry that someone else might treat the elderly in the same way the owner of the home did. I am a firm believer that the elderly deserve the ultimate care and comfort when going through any treatment and aging in general, but I do not think I could ever work in that environment again.

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