The Art of Depression: Marc Cid


Marc Cid

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Things You Can Say About Depression

That You Can’t Say About Bronchitis


I have bronchitis, I told them,

so I’ll be keeping quiet,

and to myself, if I go out at all.

Sorry in advance for all the coughing.

Let me help you, they said.


said I fixed my bronchitis

when I quit cigarettes.

I told her I didn’t smoke.

Then you don’t have



said everybody gets bronchitis

every now and then, you just need

to stop thinking about your lungs,

find a way to distract yourself

from breathing. How ‘bout

you pick up a night shift

at the bar I’m working at?

I’ll put in a good word

if you just stop coughing

all the time. Every time

you let yourself cough,

you’re making it worse.


said bronchitis is a symptom

of modernity, the manifestation

of the misalignment between

your bronchial tubes

and your invalid attitude.

You should try doing yoga.


the record, I was too busy

doubling over from clusterfrag

coughs detonating behind

my ribcage to respond.

They patted me on the back

and nodded sagely.

My point exactly. See?

I know what I’m talking about.

The Art of Depression: Kirsty Niven


Kirsty Niven

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I have become utterly numb.
My skin has hardened to cement,
a statuesque shell of dissociation.
Blood streaks my skin, bruises blossom,
but no pain can get in.
This cocoon has petrified itself around me,
solidifying under every slight,
every glancing blow, every slice.
I watch the cigar burn down
until the embers graze my calloused fingers,
just to see if I can still burn.
The singed scent fills my nostrils
and yet coldly I only look on.
A laceration, a punch, a kiss from the whip –
and still nothing is all I feel.
Each nerve is dead, stillborn in my veins.
Love ricochets against me, unrecognised –
too foreign a concept to a fossilised soul.
Only the nectar drips of wine seep through
the stone of my scar tissue;
a red tear leaking through my mask.

The Art of Depression: Andrew Wetmore


Andrew Wetmore is a poet from Anaheim. He is the lead singer and writer in The Gold Harvest and owner of Subphonic Press, maker of fine DIY chapbooks and zines. His poetry has appeared in The Los Angeles Press, Crooked Teeth Lit, City Brink, The Insomniac Propagandist, and many others. 

About the Piece:

These poems are from a series he wrote called The Building of Saints. After he moved here he spent a lot of time driving around going to job interviews. Often in his spare time found himself sitting in his car in front of all these funky apartment complexes which he used for poem names (he is originally from Chicago so the large complexes are very new to him) and wrote using the numbers for the addresses as his word count per line in the stanzas.

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Instagram: @thegoldharvest and @subphonic_press

Pine Meadows

Maybe night may

shape faces. Blush on ivy leaves, brush the solicitor’s

cheeks. Split ends


yellow pylons cracked

vertically. Through the neighbor’s walls, washing children down the

sink. I have


affection for those

left to ruin. The water’s post baptism, still. Washing

children down the


Meridian Gardens

Sunday televised sports

salt on your tongue



on another’s idea,

double checking their facts.



been subtly angry

stranded amid overstuffed cushions.



gravity and sleep,

dust settles over the



The Art of Depression: Young Toledo


Young Toledo

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I wake with weight of the world on my chest.

I look at the ceiling and ask why lifeʼs a mess.

These days iʼm wanting to sleep more and wake less,

because my day to day is feeling more and more like a test.

i get out of bed and go on a walk.

so i can be outside and be alone with my thoughts.

i know i know… i should probably try and talk,

but every time i DO my throat STOPS,

and i COUGH irrationalities

and faux maladies to follow SUIT.

Fuck depression.

talons that tear at your mind remain its lethal weapon,

and it takes no days off not even for one second

it rages like a cat thatʼs feral and it hurts to the bone.

the pain seeps to the marrow, parents tell you your thoughts are overblown.

the cuts on your wrists,

your parents insist,

are a phase of being a kid.

but now that youʼre big the cuts on your wrists twists past your ribs, climbs up your spine, then lines your mind where the new cuts sit,

 but i have time.

iʼm coming back from my walk 15 minutes till nine

so about 8:45.

the weight on my chest has grown a little light,

and iʼve gathered all the pieces of my life

that i could find.

but to say iʼm fine, would

just be a lie.

The Art of Depression: Acoustic Librarian


Acoustic Librarian is a songwriter, open mic performer and technology librarian. He lives in Orange County with his wife and their two cats.



Many a mile I’ve wandered

Through this house of mirrors,

Searching to find a way out,

Knowing my home isn’t here.

Amid the smoke that surrounds me,

Faces appear in the glass;

Are they long-sought fellow travelers

Or reflections of self that flow past?

Still I desire perfection

In a world distorted and crazed,

To discern beyond all illusion

The meaning of this maze.

Guide my paths to what’s real,

For glimpses are all I can see;

And make my image more truly

That which You meant it to be.

Oh Lord, this day, these things I pray.

Oh Lord, this day, these things I pray.

Oh Lord, this day, these things I pray.

I plunge down slides, then start to climb

Towards heights that seem out of reach;

Pass through tunnels that move and spin

On floors that shift under my feet.

I enter a room full of blackness,

A spotlight shines in my face.

Do I hear whispered laughter

Or murmurs of welcome and grace?

Can I recall the reflection

That shown when the glass was clear?

Do I believe in perfect love

That casts out all of my fear?

Guide me towards others who walk this path,

For glimpses I’m starting to see;

And make our images truly

That which You meant them to be.

Oh Lord, this day, these things I pray.

Oh Lord, this day, these things I pray.

Dear Lord, this day, these things I pray.

The Art of Depression: Lauren Scharhag


Lauren Scharhag

Paper Wasps

Peak housewife era, when television taught that

women were supposed to wear heels and a smile

to vacuum, arrange doilies, make molded

strawberry salad from a Good Housekeeping recipe.

If you didn’t like it, you still had to abide it.

But she enjoyed laundry, even when she was young,

bent over a zinc tub, scrubbing clothes out on a washboard

alongside her own grandmother, who used to give her

a glass of beer as they worked (later bouts

of alcoholism notwithstanding). She always said

she associated the scents of hops and brewer’s yeast

with her grandmother, and decades later,

that washboard still hung on her kitchen wall.

When she got her first electric machine, she still

hung everything out to dry, lighter fabrics semi-transparent

in the sundrenched yard, aromatic with pepper

and tomato plants, her sundress semi-transparent

as she turns, bends, lifts the fabrics to the line.

She either didn’t notice or didn’t think anything of

a wasp perched black and gold on the head of a clothespin,

like the old absurdity about pinheads and dancing angels,

only this one was, at best, the avenging variety, and,

at worst, batting for the other team,

with the infernal whine of its drained stained-glass wings,

that first sting white-hot as judgment, and they just

keep coming: the nest in the hollow metal post

of the clothesline, gray honeycomb scarcely visible

through the opening, and everything is light light light

until she passes out.

When she wakes, there will be ice packs for the swelling,

baking soda pastes, her then-husband with tweezers

to pluck out the stingers that broke off in her skin.

I was always amazed that she could go on after that,

hanging her laundry out to dry right up until 1987

when her last husband left her, and her demons

began to overrun her skull. Yet, somehow,

she never stopped finding godliness in clean sheets,

in the scents of bleach and fabric softener.

These are the scents I associate with her.

It took me a while to realize why her demons won.

There was no joy in her life that they

couldn’t worm their way into, plant

their insidious nest, and wait to swarm.

The Art of Depression: Chella Courington


Chella Courington

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Purchase her books:

In Their Own Way

Love Letter to Biology 250

Encroaching Sorrow

“Do you ever worry about death?” Adele asked.

Tom made a noise, a grunt mixed with a sigh, and continued reading.


As someone aroused from an unexpected nap, he looked at Adele. Confusion and anger competed with each other.

“What?” he asked.

“Do you worry about death?”

“No. It seems pointless,” Tom said. “I focus on tomorrow.”

Nearly fifty, she was seven years older than he. They had been married almost fifteen years.

“Have I always been this way?” she asked.

“Which way?” he asked. “Want part of a beer?”

Tom’s usual response to her unease. He knew Adele loved to split everything. Halving was a communal ritual. If we share our food, that’s the beginning: we’ll share our love, our interests, our life. With each year together, she grew more dependent. Saying they were Plato’s soul mates destined to find their other on earth though it took Tom and Adele longer to search through the mingling parts. And there he was in his jeans and white Oxford shirt, sleeves rolled up, hair reminding her of a Romantic poet. Thick, curly and shoulder length.

Neither imagined his losing it, but like the rest of their lives, attrition became inevitable and one November day she noticed a bald spot on his crown. It appeared without warning when she leaned over him in bed. A monk’s tonsure. A circle the diameter of her thumb touching her index finger. Half of an obscene gesture. She felt the skin, surprised at its smoothness.

“Tom, your hair is gone,” as if the utterance was the cause, the curse.

The clock went askew. Its hour hand flying from two to seven to twelve and around again and again. They could hear the clicking, the warning, the sign that life would be different now. Minutes turned into hours so quickly that months obscured days then years. The tell-tell promise they would not be here forever. Like their parents and their parents before them, Tom and Adele joined the fold edging closer to the cliff. If Tom and Adele were lucky, they would be stopped by a stand of bamboo, giving them the time and space to take it all in, their life their love their loss, and would slow down so they could enjoy each moment, each day without being trapped in what might happen. That night, however, was not one of those moments.