And Donna Screamed On And On

Donna screamed on and on
while Marlene sat in silent ecstasy
staring at her beat up water bottle
as if it were all there could possibly be
Ronnie never even blinked
he just colored by himself
the rest of the crew was stage left, watching
as “her” coloring books were put on the shelf
“you’re a bad girl,” they said to her
then Sandy mimicked their words
Miss Fipps just gave a sly little glance
as if to say, “this is absurd”
but no one noticed Altha Houghland
sitting by the window talking
she talks to herself and counts the cars
and waves to the people as they’re walking
Mitzi never said a word at all
nor did Sarah, or Terry, or Mable
oh, it wasn’t because they didn’t notice
it’s just that they’re not really able
finally it got too much for Altha
and although she is usually kind
she screamed “shut up” at Donna
old folks always seem to just speak their mind
for a moment there was a strange space of silence
and a chance for me to reflect
on all of the intriguing personalities
that i will probably never forget
i remembered that Ronnie was moving today
i just couldn’t imagine him gone
then the silence was broken by Terry’s loud blow
and Donna screamed on and on

J. Turner
6/26/84 | 8:15-8:30 am
New Castle State Hospital

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3 responses to “And Donna Screamed On And On

  1. I literally wrote this poem in the short span of silence described in it. The atmosphere at New Castle was so emotionally charged that it wasn’t difficult to just let the energy take hold and write.

  2. I remember Althea, Mable, Miss Fipps and a few others but I do not remember you. How long did you work on Van Nuys?

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