New Alchemy

Introducing our 2017 New Alchemy winner...



User Reviews of Medication, by Jeff Pearson


I wouldn’t be the one who days earlier wandered electric hallways, or slept in a foreign bed, who vomited the misassigned drugs and sparked with slinking visions.

Shira Erlichman, “Ode to Lithium #11’



User review of the anti-psychotic: Risperdal

The TV said I might be entitled to a settlement.
I revere my stretchmarks as side-effects, like split collagen
holding my canine delusions closed up in the state hospital.

If pills were pennies, if my sacrament cup of tablets,
if I learned anything from the State Hospital, I learned
that I would wake up eventually. This med works fast
and is cheap, and purple. And looks
the color of the one pair of hospital socks with tread
that makes not having shoes nicer. This med is your shoes
with laces removed until someone brings you strapped easy striders.

And I took the non-name brand after being transferred, Risperidone
and I, were wishing to be done with
the minor side effects: nightmares of disappointed dead relatives
and all the soda in the machines in the state hospital were diet
weight gain
development of breasts




User review of anti-depressant/anziety medication, Paxel

“…Cerberus, which, vain
opposing, turned his eyes aslant from light-
from dazzling day. Delicious, enraged,
that monster shook the ai with triple howls;
and, frothing, sprinkled as it raved, the fields,
once green–with spewing of white poison-foam.
And this, converted into plants, sucked up
a deadly venom with the nourishment
of former soils,–from which productive grew
upon the rock, thus formed, the noxious plant;
by rustics, from that cause, named aconite.” -Ovid. Met. 7.404

I can tell you what it is like to withdrawal from Paxel:
A Hell hound in the distance. A doctor told me this, a beginning, he said
to the crisis of communication. He and I began.

I lost my job, and I felt like running away from the capsules
to a different field where there are no signs
of Hell hounds in the distance, no destructive withdrawals of Paxel

and no hiding places to jump into, just the flat
fields of the dry farms. The night before, I tried
to stop slurping the sweat of capsules from the mouth of its glands.

I had admonitions to ask for money. A last
dose clouded my eyes, a fogged presence, while the white
porcelain of a toilet masked the withdrawals of Paxel.

Your apartment will fall apart as you smoke out the windows
above the firing blue radiator, Hell hound biting your cat, an eye-
scar re-opening as distance and time crowds the last dose of Paxel.

Cerberus said floors dirty themselves as more
hormones leave through your bloody falls.
The doctor never told me this
as distance and time claw at the last dose.





User review of the anti-psychotic: Invega

My doctor had had enough
samples I never needed my insurance
to pay for these. The cloudiness in my brain, seeded
by Risperdal, dissipated a little. Swallowing these flesh-
colored capsules is easy with milk.
Time-released, new, and especially helpful with escape
from Risperdal’s weight gain, perfect
for when your family (if you have one)
starts feeding you regularly. I was so surprised by the results!
after I had been released from state custody,
released from recalled meds.

If you are nourished w/ mood-stabilizers,
I would recommend a doctor who gives free samples.
Who has file cabinets of samples. Who
requests all of your medical records, who helps
with your paperwork. Who looks at your forwarded records
and dresses up this med like your lover. Where you go, you
have a spare, emergency dose in your backpack. But
there is no generic and without insurance all your money
will burn up trying to make a relationship work. You
are forced to carry around life-saving capsules. Then, no withdrawals.
Side effects include Somnolence.






User review of the anti-depressant, Pristiq

This anti-depressant was more than I could’ve hoped for.
You might believe that you should always live
where there are four seasons, but I only wanted fall:
the automata towards dying, crumpling
listen, you
will still hold a pill bottle like a roll of quarters
for a slot machine for mourning; 50 mg; 50 dollars simply for winding
a cog as the TV commercial animates, to continue to walk,
to get out of bed, but not
be disgusted with sadness. This pill looks too good to be true,
a gamble of spirit.
You will require extra money to wind-up, to avoid a baptism in a font
of madness, and most insurances don’t cover this. A kind voice on TV lists all withdrawal symptoms that can destroy you, but if only I don’t have to
feel the deteriorating sadness that comes with time-release.
Listen to her, the lady on TV. A reflected darkness of the clouded pink
time-released tablet. The purpose of an anti-depressant
is bulwark against lost interest. Pulleys holding moods together
it is kinda like chasing a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake
inhibitor trying to earn just your losses but still winning, somehow. Meds are a gamble.
I want to be the five-star rater, but I can’t–
I will never recover from this mental illness.







User review of venlafaxine (generic for Pristiq)

And so here is how my life goes:

the building of some prescriptions and the razing of another.
The losing of insurance and the failure of coverage,
Pristiq will never be as cheap as an antihistamine
used to comb away the allergies of a grain silo, but helps sleep.

I get back to sleep quickly when I wake up during the night…frequent these days. Sometimes have really colorful dreams too, not nightmares. They’re quite enjoyable!


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JimmyS (Edited)

I read a research article about dreams. A person is not able to recall dreams that occur while they are sound asleep, only those when they are in a partially awakened state. In other words, being able to recall your dreams is not a good thing since you were not fully asleep and not fully rested. I’ve been very busy dreaming myself lately and I’m still tired in the morning.

I wait for the next morning to try the day, again
and you no longer always say it makes you so mad
that you can’t stay mad at me.


3 Stars–By
Comment by Bethany Liberty

It has a taste that says, sorry. A lozenge in the stomach of someone dead inside.  

“Extended Release’ for generic prescriptions means capsule
with beads of chemicals in a crisp coating. It is an orange pill being dropped
by Dr. Mario to find and match with two growling monster germs, but mental
illness is a bug of my own brain’s making. Garbage gargles in the trashcan. Inhibitors dissolve in a cistern.


2 Stars–By
Sleep is a climbing clematis. – Verified

When I wake up during the night…frequent these days. Sometimes have really colorful dreams too, not nightmares. They’re quite enjoyable!

I type sorry over and over again everytime I star fewer than 3.
and I always want to apologize for puzzling you

6 people found this helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?








Ode to Ativan (Lorazepam)

(after Shira Erlichman)

I slept til I woke up / Then there was not much // Much to do so / I think of you / I crawl back/  Between the sheets
                                                               –Atlas Sound “Ativan’

After I had an anxiety attack,
I went to Albertsons food and drug
and this pill kicked in before I got home. A wave
of slow coping and airy numbness. Frequently,
I took this pill listening to Atlas Sound’s “Ativan’
and the tranquilizer would work faster.

I was prescribed it after I had pneumonia, missed class, and
finally watched the movie The Deer Hunter. I felt drowned
by living. I suggest this medication as just a safety net.

Whittling down the container, nights when I was out of weed
a medicine cabinet shouldn’t have toothpaste, should have chill pills
samples of space out, manifolds out of panic attacks. So awake is sometimes ok.









User Reviews of OTC Medication, Unisom Sleep-Aid

OtisReed^s — might interfere with prescriptions

Some nights, I wake to the conclusion of a dream, and fall back asleep encountering the plot unraveling further like the mess of charging cords, extension cords, and the yellow duct tape swirling to freedom. Enlarged prostate is a severe side-effect; you must seek a doctor immediately. I can fall asleep but sundowner’s syndrome lasts all-night. Forget and remember and obsess and grasp for disconnect–this medication puts me back to sleep immediately. No more losing sleep from worries of losing sleep, and it was without sleep, when the garlands of psychosis surrounded my eyes, climbed through the leg cuts that wouldn’t heal. When you grind your cheek in the night, when the mouth is the part of the body that heals quickest, when you can’t swallow this pill, you can buy the liquid version. I will never use zzzquil again. I will never attempt to Benadryl myself to sleep. Please let your doctor know of any over-the-counter medications you are taking. I recommend sleep, simply put, sleep is the ally and enemy you should lie with, you should bed with, you should know until your morning arrives before you know it.      

Nelda_48 — made things better

I take Unisom: sleep-aid, and tell my grandkids it is a special vitamin only for Grandma. The plot of my dreams concludes before I wake and can remember. I tell myself it is not any kind of sun-downers, but the blue parallelogram for falling asleep. I don’t even wakeup in the middle of the night anymore. His body’s imprint was next to me and in the dark, 12-inch whispers of soft soothing grief. I probably should keep a list of my medications including over the counters, then I will remember them all for Dr. Hall.  This medication releases the following pain: my teeth, the crumpled knuckles of crocheting. I still find warmth in my bed, all night long.

VernelSaxes — no more night terrors

Some nites [sic] I sleep thru the Golgotha cold of Idaho, but some nites [sic], I fall pray [sic] to the feathers from a tar and feathering from the down pokeing [sic] thru the sheets. I can’t describe how bad it is for you to have insomnia. I never stay awake when I take unisom and always feel awake when I wake up. It’s good shit.  

MarkSilvaz — not staring at the ceiling

It was all a bunch of bulwark: obsessing over my bed posts below the starfish ceiling fan half-baked memories cruise the room like lights from cars in the bay window add dimension even the pawn shop blanket tacked over the window even the creases in the mattress from dead and living grandparents, parents who are living, for now, without me panicking that a motorcycle needs a new tire, panic because the summer months begun to accelerate past the end of the lease; carpet shampoo needs to be returned; how I am lonely in this single bed won’t ever widen, panic detained inside my throat and on and on and on in my head all night. This was sleeping (or not sleeping) before I started taking Unisom.


What is New Alchemy?


We at Permafrost put out a call for new and innovative approaches to the creative process. We asked for your experiments: with language, with plot, with format, with medium. We wanted to read/see/hear your most exciting and daring projects, your collaborations, your darlings that don’t fit anywhere else, your basement-dwelling monsters revealed in all their grotesquery onto the medium of your choice. Anything went. Thus, New Alchemy was born.


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