...the chubby penny 

Chubby Penny 

Bipolar Disorder in my life...

Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

This is a condition causing mood swings from extremely high to extremely low; sometimes rapidly and other times more slowly but for extended periods. Moods can be pleasant when moderate and oftentimes result in bursts of  creativity.

Some, but not all, of the results of mania might be out of control spending, hazardous driving, sexual promiscuity, substance abuse and so many other afflictions.  Alcohol and bipolar are a treacherous combination and yet any of the mentioned reckless behaviors can be welcomed by the bipolar mind when mania is king.

Depression is when the lows are so overwhelming that guilt, negative introspection, self-abuse, etc. can result. Depression is like a blanket that covers completely and suffocates entirely.  Depression can be extremely dangerous, leading to self-infliction or even suicide. Depression, when bipolar is involved, is far different from depression as in 'I am depressed, I had a bad day at work.'

Incidentally, mania can be more dangerous than depression in the mind of the 'rapid cycler' like  I am.  It means that irrational thinking (such as 'I think I'll drive my car off a cliff') can  move in fast motion and ask/answer questions later.



From my experience I will say that medications are essential and can literally make a difference between life and death. (Trust me, I know. Thank God for Lithium.)

One final note: My sister, also diagnosed as Bipolar 1, took her
own life in late November, 2001.

I say all of this because I think it may help you better understand my poetry and also if you or someone you know displays the signs of any mental illness that you (or they) will seek help. Also, the definitions I have given for mania
and depression are not clinical; they are expressions of how I perceive my private demons, my 'stairway to heaven' and
my 'descent into hell'.

Look up Bipolar I on the internet for clinical definitions but in the meantime I invite you to enjoy my website and visit as
often as you want. Thanks for reading the pages that follow!

****For more personal and indepth reading on my personal journey through 'Bipolar Hell' please click on the page heading 'Music Man' at the top of this page.  Thanks for caring.****

And now...for the rest of the show...

You may be wondering what a chubby penny is.

Well, the story is long yet not complicated but basically,
in the short version, it involves my resistance at being
a mere 'piggy bank’ always being picked up and shaken
—and for what—an occasional penny here and there.

Finally one day I swallowed my pride along with a brand
new copper penny and it fell right to the bottom of all of
the other coins and bounced forward so hard it made
quite an impression on my belly.

It was at that moment that I, a well-fed southern-bred
nearly dead bacon-laden half-baked ham was suddenly
transformed into part pig and part menial currency.

I have to say it also made an impression on my heart and
never again did I belittle the lowly penny. For the first time
I recognized the diametrical opposition of the terms, 'pig
out' and 'penny pinching' and I tried to reconcile those
opposing polar extremes.

...Hard as I tried, I couldn't.

Finally, I could accept myself not as I was but as I am—a chubby penny—in the form of a pig with Mr. Lincoln's face
embedded on my belly. Now I see things much differently, the penny is a gift, a 'penny from heaven' of sorts.

I soon recognized that if that penny remained embedded in my belly I would never be penniless. I also realized that in our
world today some folks have more than they can spend while others have little or nothing.

As I looked around and considered the laws of nature I saw that there is enough to go around in this world...the issue is in
how it is distributed.

This is God's economy but the way things are distributed is man's abuse of that system.

Perhaps you have received the gift of a penny that has yet
to be squeezed...perhaps your penny can make an impression
on someone else's heart. Maybe your penny could make an
impression on a hungry belly.

That's the short version about how this site got it's name. I
suppose the longer version can be found between the lines
in the pages that follow.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this far. My biography is five lines long and goes as follows:

...in his mind he’s wonderin’
if all those things he never said
could have changed the way
that things have changed
and made a better world instead...

Those words pretty much sum it up for me and who I am.

This site is about poetry and the freedom it offers to both

writer and reader. I hope you enjoy the site and please,

take a moment to sign the guest book.


pale green suicide

a pale green hallway
leads to the darkened glass
where windows offer no reflection;
through a door that offers no life.

dried brown stains once red with life
stick like flaking glue,
holding spent memories like peeling wallpaper.

the tinge of urine and spit camouflage corners
where hope died
and peace surrendered.

thick juices of passion streak down the brown sheetrock
in unbroken innocence,
and unbridled silence.

why would he select this as his tomb, his chosen battlefield?
the same reason tarnished coins
have died in the belly of white porcelain pigs.

everyone needs a place to feel loved
and deserves an occasion to feel acceptance
if love was never known, then he died wishing,
adding the sting of teardrops
to his eulogy.

Coit Tower sits majestically atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.
From Telegraph Hill (which has its own colorful history) there is
a sweeping view of Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz Island.

Coit Tower stands 210 feet high and was commissioned by the heiress, Lillie Hitchcock Coit who had quite a relationship with the San Francisco Fire Department and a great respect for fireman following the 1906 earthquake. With that in mind, it is easy to see why urban legend would report that the tower was fashioned to resemble a fire nozzle. The structure is made of unpainted reinforced concrete and was not made to resemble a fire hose. Incidentally it was also not fashioned as a phallic symbol, another San Francisco urban legend.

long it’s shadow, round

when it rains in the morning where lombard street is crooked
at the hill where coit tower throws long its shadow, round

i know that flowers will grow again in the springtime of the morning
and the rolling hills of lombard will whisper city secrets newly found

bright glowing morning sunlight spills like smooth amber liquid
on the brick red road that meanders so quietly below

while satin soft carnations and daisies in the shadows
spiral lazily toward heaven, yawning in the morning as they grow

when at last the day has closed much like it first began
where lombard street is crooked in the sun

i will gently shut my memories and fold them like soft alpaca
then stack them in the shadows one by one

coit tower sleeps while standing when the sun has passed her by
the shadow thrown is long as well as thin

clouds will return tomorrow to the san francisco sky
and the tower will stand majestic once again


the corner

there was only shattered silence
where broken glass should have been
words already hurt like a splinter
left unattended too long

and now insults were served in a glass bowl
surrounded by daisies, carnations, and roses
red because he loved her, white because she died

he rocked in the corner
holding her picture and dying one breath at a time
life didn’t matter now that she was gone
and he counted the metric flow
of his suffocation

he sat quietly in his aloneness
and wore his loneliness like a soft jean jacket
life hurt and his white room felt safe
as he studied the bowl of insults,
nourishment for his soul

the newly shattered glass
was surrounded by daisies, carnations, and roses
red because he loved her, white because she died
he rocked in the corner and there, afraid
he wept

world traveler

you made my world bigger
then smaller
then so large i did not know east from west
as i stood so alone in the middle of that proverbial non-place…

i showed you boats on the water
and purple roses
while you took me to nairobi
and made me see the smiling faces of black children
whose teeth appeared larger than their faces
and whose bellies seemed to be full with food from the west

both notions were wrong
and only after you left, smiling
did i understand that

your going away made me taste tears i thought had long dried
like the baked clay of north carolina
or that upon which i had never walked
in the vast african plains where dying water buffalo
were too weak to drink and the roar of african lions
was silenced by the laughter of brave white hunters

i often wonder who you are
weeping silently some nights in pennsylvania
sitting alone in a wicker chair in spain
or typing mercurially at your ergonomically contoured keyboard
in every province of canada

i know you like to dance by the water
on warm southern california nights (you told me without meaning to)
yet when the doors of evening close and the lights go off
i can hear your weeping
you know i love you and though i will never know your touch
nor even the temptation of enticing words
i will forever hug you and tell you it is okay
even when we both know it is too late to be okay

somehow, you made my world bigger
then smaller
then so large i did not know north from south
as i stood so alone in the middle of that proverbial non-place…


the taste of clouds was commonplace
and bird watching was easy with such vivid reds and yellows
matted against the plush green of a moment caught
then released with the same freedom of the bird itself

i have seen old boats, tilted and entrapped on the telling sands of time…
a poor man’s vessel entombed like a beaten slave
on the white sands of santa barbara
releasing ghosts of lovers who embraced yesterday
while drowning in the waters of their own pride
i knew you by your hand, once that of a poet,
now one whose words are dry like poisonous bittersweet nightshade
still beautiful, yet deadly

where will you take me on sleepless nights?
i see visions of the flowing waters of cascata della marmone.
cascading, falling, tumbling down
i walk alone on the streets of barcelona, emptier than i imagined;
why must i hide in the corners of amsterdam or watch the sunrise in koprivnica
still in awe that crotia is allowed to breathe?
fantasies are born in manitoba and alberta and even more in scotland and britian
yet…just as quickly
fantasies die

still, somehow, you made my world bigger
then smaller
then so large i did not know up from down
as i stood so alone in the middle of that proverbial non-place…
yet, there you are…your smile, your gentle words
now my world fits me like a warm overcoat on a bitter, cold night
in northeastern ohio
just a fragmented fantasy, but it somehow seems to fit.

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empty windows
meandering words and convoluted sentences
suitcases of life
the migration
the statue on 47th street
the watercolor rose
we had always

$2.99 each. 

Please click on the Chubby Little Guest Book Link
at the top of the page to leave comments.

For all of you who have left such kind remarks in
my Guest Book, I say a most sincere 'thank you'.

Today in America, and indeed throughout the world,
many are faced with the deepest oceans of despair they
have ever faced.

Hopelessness stands before so many like an insurmountable
mountain. As the bricks and mortar of our bridges, roads and
towering skyscrapers crumble, so too does the infrastructure
of the human spirit, that is the heart.

Don't let that happen.

There are so many needs that can be met, so many charities
(pick carefully) that can help assist those who legitimately
need help. All I’m asking here is that you listen to the music,
take some time and let my words speak to your heart. Then, if
you are able to give a little to your ‘favorite’ charity, then please
do so.

None of us can conquer the world...but perhaps each of us can
do a tiny deed to help even one other person.

Thank you, and may God richly bless you…

she dried her eyes
but somehow the tears kept flowing.
a broken heart, a lonely soul…
music in her head was unheard.
words written on her heart
died a violent death.

i think i fell in love when i saw her…
or at least i hoped to.
i cried, when i saw her tears;
and her brokenness became my own.

i wondered for whom she waited,
and at last i heard the call of the wind
blowing like blue waves, breaking
onto the white sands of a virgin beach.

a multicolored sun dipped into the sea
with no splash, no sound, it drowned…
like the quiet desperation she held
clutched in her handbag...


...was it raining~or were those tears?

song of the mattress

she slept, wrinkled and small

on satin sheets, a band-aide covering her mattress,
knees tucked tightly beneath her chin
and legs pressed against her breasts
as if waiting for a gigantic splash when she hit the water

motionless, she dreamed of burgundy and peaches from georgia
and hoped to drive to smyrna on sunday
two hundred and thirteen miles, south and mostly straight
funny how juice spilled from a peach onto burgundy satin
looks like blood

it was raining when it happened but that isn’t important
she would have loved the rain on any other day
and recorded it on her already overcrowded ‘to do’ list
but today, peaches and burgundy satin sheets
embezzled her sleeping mind
and kept the rain out

when she rolled over, the creaking sound from overworked coils
reminded her of that regretful night in april
when hidden within the box spring,
tornadoes of metal circles pushed hard

against white pine
collapsing under the weight of two dissimilar bodies
before exploding again before collapsing
again before exploding again

in unison,
complaining springs beneath her body screamed for silence
while she battled fiercely to hold on to consciousness
as the bulldozer push of his weight drove her deeper into oblivion

dazed, her dream made a wide right turn at the intersection
where she thought of headlights and honking horns
spinning clockwise like a fleeting second hand
with no intention to stop until the minutes all ran dry

plums, swollen and tender—
purple patches that promised to never heal—
caused her to tighten the grip on her own body
as she trembled and began to sob loudly
drowning out the erratic song of the mattress

he would not stop until she made him stop…abruptly
the noise was loud but for only a second
funny how blood mixed with peach juice on burgundy sheets
still looks like blood

the song of the mattress was silenced...


october brushed by

in the midst of an october sunrise
bearing splashes of colors beyond description
like a thick acrylic paint mixture
crimson with cadmium yellow
thrown…scattered like seed…by the hand of god
morning unfolds like a delicate rose

light crawls like aching fingers
touching soft lips that moisten the sands,
retreating, sliding like two bodies too close
to be parted, moving slowly, one advancing-
retreating, wave at a time.

the water returns—
--to the water
the sand to the sand
and yet the light to darkness

i’m sinking beneath the surface of my soul
void of color, gray on gray on gray
as a jacket of black smothers me
suffocating me
gripping my heart
until i see evil being squeezed out
jealousy is green, greed is yellow
hatred is black and deceit is red
until at last
god has taken the ugliness of my heart
squeezed my evil
and fashioned a brand new color
for tomorrow’s rainbow

all get one
just one
and you will remember yours

the whisper of silence 

i laughed, i cried
i lived, i died
i walked amongst the saints of old;
standing still as they opened ancient manuscripts…
blank pages, filled with the wisdom of silence.

virgins wept for their children,
tears of agony for unplanted seeds;
as multitudes looked on, looking for just one…
the anointed. the survivor, the sailor, the savior.

but the music stopped amidst the wailing
and a defiant right hand was lifted from the crowd
as one would speak but his words died…
a violent death; and his thoughts grew old
and useless
like the man he had become.

the manuscript with blank pages
was closed
and the whisper of silence
was wet, like a tear.




i have walked around corners
when i should have stood still
driven fast in slow zones
and sat at the apex of silent
stone walls

i've said words i meant when i was high
and regretted when i was low
twisted sentences until they were wrung
too dry to matter
and left paragraphs drowning for want of a word

my soul aches at midnight
and burns at the zenith of emptiness
crunched and crushed like flattened cardboard;
my shelter from wind,
my home under the dry blanket of arizona dust

i’ve looked into the eyes of a broken old man
seen the sadness built around his journey
and the hopelessness erected
like a still-empty cross,
awaiting his outstretched hands

i have watched while he dries
the tears from the face of humanity,
saddened by the race of mankind
scratching to get to the same corner
i walked around
when i should have stood still


old bricks red and crumbling
flowers bright blue and crisp
and i wondered where you had gone
behind a wall that did not exist

the sky silently wept over me
clouds crawled by like angels wings
san francisco died in the swirling mist
it was just one of those unexplained things

a melody whined through my head
pianos and violins kept the music slow
i decided to try life for just one more day
there really was nowhere else to go

mortar crumbles into dust at my feet
from a wall that will soon fall down
i’ll stay a bit longer until it is done
i suppose i’ll eventually be found

i lay my head on the cold, hard sidewalk
i give my body one last jerk and twist

waiting for the bricks that will never fall
behind a wall that does not exist


midnight was dark again
and i felt your pain
as your heart cried out from the grave
words you had wanted me to hear
when life was too good for me to listen
and too painful for you to endure

where did you go
on that morning when you slipped away?

you chose to leave
without goodbye
and now i watch midnight
come and go
like a laden down freight train
too heavy to stop once it has started

i wondered recently...
why do i cry so easily
and does it make me less of a man?
no. just a man with less
now that you are gone

and only tears of the brokenhearted remain

once I saw your image in the doorway
and now I wait
for midnight
and the darker hours that follow
knowing that you will return
ready to say hello
so you may say goodbye

our hearts were knit
in ways we never knew
and now
the fabric of my soul is unraveled.

it was not in a wheat field
beside an outbound freight train

nor was it in a cemetary
where last i saw your face

but your image in a doorway at midnight
tears in your eyes
and a wave on your hand
wishing to say your goodbyes
though i could never understand

girl with the pearl earring  (painting by vermeer)

i tried to look into her eyes—where the question rested
—yet the longer i stared the more i wondered…
did life hurt?

vermeer called her the girl with the pearl earring
looking back over her shoulder
as if she wanted to leave but chose to stay.
nothing moves in her world;
her eyes still haunt me as i wonder,
where has the color gone?

vermeer added a blue scarf to match her heart
as she knew goodbye was on his canvas…
and her lips would dry a paler shade of red.

Forever Memories
Janice Kelly