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TWINKLE OF DEMENTIA (for Hatter) - James Ph. Kotsybar

You stand accused, “The murderer of Time.”

You were just singing for entertainment,

but nevermore will you hear your watch chime,

since sentencing, trial then arraignment.

Once companion,

Time is now your warder

and keeps you in perpetual evening.

When it’s degenerative disorder,

mercurial is not a happy thing.

Your own riddles

you cannot reason out.

You have no sense

of what is politic.

Isolating yourself,

“No room!” you shout.

Your occupation

is what made you sick.

Your manic demeanor’s touched

by sadness – more anguish

than anger in your madness.


James Ph. Kotsybar, chosen for NASA’s special recognition, is the first poet published to another planet aboard NASA’s Mars orbiting MAVEN spacecraft. His poetry appears in the Hubble Space Telescope’s mission log and was awarded and featured at NASA’s Centaur’s 50th Anniversary Art Challenge. Invited by the President of the European Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters in 2018, he performed his poetry before an international audience of scientists and Troubadours (Europe’s oldest poetic institution) in their founding city of Toulouse, France, at the EuroScience Open Forum, earning a standing return invitation. Most recently he has had poems published in The Bangalore Review, 86 Logic, The Ilanot Review, California Quarterly, Our Poetica, Seisma Magazine, Costellations,The Society of Classical Poets, High Shelf Press, Prometheus Unbound, LUMMOX Press, Sixfold, Mason’s Road, Encore, The Bubble, Askew, Hope Through Community and Scifaikuest, and has received honors from The State Poetry Society of Michigan and the Balticon 48 Poetry Competition. He especially enjoys science poetry, because of its extended shelf-life.

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Joanie Fritz Zosike
Joanie Fritz Zosike
26 mar 2022

I would love to hear what the poet himself has to say about this poem. I've read it several times, and having had many encounters of the first kind with dementia (not my own--at least, not yet), I have looked at it from bottom and up. I am so curious as to what this poem wants, and what the poet wanted when he wrote it. Thanks.

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