Fish Window Number Four

Fish Window Number Four

Old Harry the heron walked right up
And put his beak on the Plexiglas and looked in.
We’ve got special Plexiglas here,
It’d take a bull to break through this stuff.
Harry’s been poking his neck around Lake Lorraine
A couple of weeks now. He seems depressed.
They wouldn’t want us to get out, or hurt somebody
To hurt “ourselves.” That’s what the codes are for
Harry looks like he lost a friend. Wish I could tell him
everything will be all right come summer.
These codes are “A,” “E,” and “S”: Assault, Escape
Or Suicidal. If you get a code you’re in but good.
Harry’s working his way toward “S” code now
Stumblin’ around like that. He better not let ‘em see him.
Down here’s the ICU, intensive therapy, no privacy.
We’re in a circle: beds in little slices of a pie.
Once in a while Harry will come by or the tree frogs’ll
Yelp all night making the natural nuts go off.
The nurses can sit doing their books and see
All of us at the same time. You don’t dare beat it.
If they knew Harry felt the way he does, they’d lock him in,
Restrict him from minnows and make him express his loss.
Just the other day, I got me a big “B” code.
Now I can use the bathroom alone. You know what that means.
Harry better stay away from the lake. It’s so tempting though.
He’s got to grow up and tough it out a few months, then summer.
Big John lets you shower as long as you want, so I wait for
The 4 to 12 shift before I go in. Big John Laughs.
From my slice you can see Harry out on Lake Lorraine.
I stole some foil to try to catch his eye, but I missed him.
Lake Lorraine is a horseshoe pond made when they dug up some land
To use as fill when they built C-2 and C-3. If you’re a good boy
You get to move up to C-2 where, once-a-week you leave the
Grounds to go shopping. They wouldn’t want you to lose your
Knack for shopping. Guess they figure $70,00 a year means
You’ve got to re-learn how to shop. Shows you how much
Freud knows. But for the natural nuts it’s a big deal.
Leaving the grounds means giving up security they tell me.
I don’t believe them. I piss and moan, when asked, about
How long you can lock someone up behind fish windows,
Legally, without that person having done so much as spit.
They say I’ve got to stay until I’m well. Well, anyway, I’m stuck
Behind fish windows for life. I’m stuck, but look, here’s Harry,
Strolling along, wagging his neck, tapping fish window number four.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 1988. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


2 thoughts on “Fish Window Number Four

  1. Once in a while, I’ll search on Anclote Manor to see if there’s anything new on the internets. I found this bit of prose on your blog and it brought back memories of my time there. Class of ’75. I got a thrill visualizing your use of tin foil to lure a heron to the window. There were some dark times there; loneliness and thorazine mostly. But I also made some good friends in that year and half. I don’t recall your name, but it’s possible we were there at the same time. It was an interesting time in my development. I was 14 at the time (1973).

    • Dear Jeff, after two years in Austin Riggs, my Dad was told I should be moved to a more secure place. Riggs was/is an open hospital in Stockbridge Mass. Without much research he picked Tarpon Springs, and Anclote because at least he’d be tempted to visit at the same time he was visiting his father in Naples. I was encapsulated from 1978 to 1982, a full five years actually, and then when I was untethered to be allowed to go back to college (I was 20-25 there) within a few months of getting a car I left therapy to go to school up in Gainesville. A daring, yet wise move. When I was there, any attempt to sign out (I signed in voluntarily) was met with a Baker Act Hearing. I bet you know the place was shut down after it sOBVIOUS money-making scheme of putting five -year evaluations on everyone finally irked the goofy Scientology nuts in Clearwater, and they protested about Anclote so hard it got the placed closed. I don’t doubt that I needed a 4-5 week cooling off back in 1976 at the onset, and maybe even again in 1978, but the entire 7 years of being hospitalized catapulted art, writing, and a 15 year career touring as a bass guitarist. I came out swinging, and have rarely taken day jobs other than teaching, which I have done at the middle school, high school, and for 14 years at the university professor level. I cleared those times, but most who were in as long as I was NEVER get out, as you may recall. Yes I am writing a novel about this.

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