All posts by Phoebe Sparrow Wagner

Wagner is an award-winning poet, author and artist who wrote WE MAD CLIMB SHAKY LADDERS (Cavankerry Press, 2009) poems about her life with schizophrenia, and co-author, with her sister, a psychiatrist, of DIVIDED MINDS: TWIN SISTERS AND THEIR JOURNEY THROUGH SCHkIZOPHRENIA, a memoir, which was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award and won the NAMI Outstanding Literature Award in 2006. It is still in print, and available at Amazon.Wagner second book, a first volume of poetry, is WE MAD CLIMB SHAKY LADDERS, (2009) which is available at a discount now from Her newest book of poetry and art, LEARNING TO SEE IN THREE DIMENSIONS (Green Writers Press/Sundog Poetry Center 2017) is also now available at Amazon and other booksellers. Her work has been published in Tikkun, Midwest Poetry Review, and the New York TImes Sunday Magazine as well as the Hartford Courant and the LA Weekly, among other places. She also won an international poetry competition sponsored by the BBC in 2001/2. Wagner’s art was on display in Connecticut area libraries in 2011 and 2012 and in Vermont, in Brattleboro, in 2016 and 2017. Many pieces are available for sale and charitable donation. She currently lives in Vermont.

Vegan coconut macaroons

These are extremely easy and much less time consuming than vegan meringues and in fact they use only one additional ingredient, unsweetened shredded coconut (not fresh and not the presweetened kind). They take about’10 minutes to make and 20 minutes to bake. Decorating takes maybe another few minutes depending on what you do.

preheat oven to 325F

1/3 cup aquafaba (juice from canned chickpeas)

1/4 tsp Xanthan gum (or you can use cider vinegar)

1/2 C sugar

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 3/4 cup to 3 C unsweetened shredded coconut

chill all your tools including the Aquafaba for 15-20 minutes

if you are using vinegar, add it to the aquafaba. And start beating on medium high. If using Xanthan gum, wait till soft peaks form then add Xanthan gum. Add almond extract at the soft peaks stage too. When you have reached nearly the stiff peaks stage, start slowly adding sugar, one Tb at a time. Finish adding the sugar Tb by Tb, and your aquafaba should be glossy, bright white and it should stick to the bowl if turned upside down. Gradually fold in, half cup at a time, all the coconut. Then place by scoopfulls on parchment on a baking sheet. DO NOT FORGET PARCHMENT PAPER, or these will stick. I did not have a small scoop so I just used a tablespoon measure. But you can make them larger or smaller.

bake at 325F for 20 minutes. Tops should be just a tiny bit browned and bottom edges light brown too. Remove sheet from oven but allow the macaroons to cool before removing from baking sheet parchment.

to decorate, combine 3/4 C choc chips and 1/2tsp coconut oil and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again. Keep doing this for 30 seconds at a time until choc is Half-melted. Remove from microwave and stir in 1 tsp coconut oil and stir till all is liquid.

You can coat the bottoms by dunking them in the chocolate and then replace on parchment and refrigerate till chocolate is firm or you can take a spoon and just drizzle chocolate across the cookies. Refrigerate till gloss is gone from melted chocolate.

These are light and delicious and won’t last long.

However you can store them in an airtight jar too.

happy eating!

NOvember Art

Artist trading cards 2.5 by 3.5 inches…against centimeter measure. The Dalaï Lama and a nurse from Médecins sans frontières
Beaded Altoids mints container, each bead inserted individually onto the wax coated tin by means of a needle.
after Edward lunchs famous painting, in beads on 2 inch gourd bowl

Vegan meringues

This is an unbelievably easy recipe using 3-4 ingredients, 1) the juice from a can of chickpeas, 2) 2/3– 3/4c granulated sugar or powdered sugar 3) vanilla (which is optional) 4) 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum, found in gluten free sections of grocery stores but this is also optional (though it stabilizes the meringues and is very helpful).

Do NOT use cream of Tartar, which is an acid and will unpleasantly flavor your meringues.

Preheat oven to 230F.

First chill all your utensils, bowl and mixer blades and the bean juice (“aquafaba”) for at least an hour.

If using regular white cane sugar, spin it in a coffee grinder for a few seconds to reduce the crystal size. Or use powdered sugar. But I have had much better results with finely ground granulated sugar.

Pour bean juice into chilled bowl and start beating with electric mixer at medium speed. This should quickly froth up then become foamy and begin to turn white and make low peaks.

When you have low soft peaks forming, add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum.

Start adding sugar slowly, on Tb at a time, beating with mixer in-between each tablespoon….. until all is incorporated. Add a capful of vanilla or almond extract.

Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Aquafaba should now look bright white, glossy and opaque, very much like egg white meringue.

You can either pipe this from a pastry bag onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet or use a round spoon to make kisses. Dont forget parchment paper or these will stick! Depending on size, Bake at 250 F for 90 minutes (approximately). After an hour check them without opening oven door, and turn off oven when tops are slightly browned but do not open the door. Leave meringues in oven to cool for at least an hour or two. When cool, they should be crisp, sweet, and delicious. Store in airtight bin or container.

How trump wins in novemBer…

I am no longer concerned about the tepid, milquetoast candidate Biden, whom most of the country hopes will beat Trump in November 2020. I was concerned. I was concerned that Biden is too middle of the road and lukewarm to promote anything like progressive policies and I feared he simply wanted the USA to go backward, “back to the halcyon days of Obama’s presidency”.  But now the fact that Biden is tepid has faded to meaninglessness. 

Now I am fearful, indeed terrified, that Trump will WIN the election and not by his usual cheating, but hands-down, popular vote as well as electoral college.

How could this evil SOB actually win the election somewhat fair and square? This is how: we have seen how the Senate refuses to negotiate with the House about extending funding for various Covid19 assistance programs, including unemployment and a moratorium on evictions, help for mortgages. This has frustrated the House no end. But even negotiations with The Royal Dumpster himself have led nowhere. But Savior Trump now says he will use executive orders to end the deadlock, and he will of course take responsibility himself for having helped people. 

This is of course illegal, because only Congress has the power of the American purse, but — and here’s the rub— when the House objects and files a lawsuit to stop Trump, he and the Republicans, who don’t in general give a flying femtogram about anyone but themselves, will say, “Oh, just look! The selfish Democrats won’t help the American people in these awful pestilential days. No, instead they sue to stop Trump, who wants nothing but to help you!” And just watch the stupid american mind turn in wonder as we vote Trump in again. 

What is more, if Democrats go along with Trump’s usurpation of power from the Congress and allow his executive orders to go unchallenged, he will end or seriously limit payroll taxes, those taxes which pay for Social Security and Medicare. And we all know where that leads. 

But I see no way to stop Trump unless Democrats accede to all of the Republican senate’s 1+ trillion plan, a plan that of course helps few that need help and leaves most COVID-19-related national problems to fester and get worse.

This is mother-forking taken to its most sinister, and the SOB implementing it is demented and diabolical but I have to admit it’s as brilliant as it is demonic, and it is almost strategic…Trump is of course incapable of true thinking or of true strategy, but this evil will pass for it, and I suspect it will work, as the American population that we all are, we are just dumb enough to believe him, and maybe much much dumber than I ever thought. 

CRAP I want out of this god forsaken mother forking country!!!!!!

I really need some hope…

Michael E Balkunas MD, chief of psychiatry at New Britain General Hospital — what did he do?

This man is Michael E Balkunas MD

Michael E Balkunas MD psychiatrist in charge of W-1 at New Britain General Hospital in Connecticut
This man was solely responsible for the torture of patients on his unit

and he was chief of the W-1 unit of adult psychiatry at HOCC aka New Britain General Hospital in central connecticut in 2014, when I was hospitalized there for approximately a month. During that month he and his staff repeatedly brutalized me, including having guards strip me naked and restrain me, they laughed even as I said that they were enjoying the rape, spread-eagling my limbs into the restraint cuffs without even trying to cover me. This happened multiple times but when I informed the “doctor” what they had done, he hotly denied it, and called me a liar. But I was not and am not a liar and all I can say is, he was fucking the wrong person, because I hope to make his life the hell that he made mine… and I intend to do so by telling the truth, as loud and often as I need to. Because the truth not only will set me free, it just might one day teach monsters like Balkunas a badly needed lesson.

Done at Care Bed in St Johnsbury VT in Nov 2014 Pamela Spiro Wagner

When someone says, “I can’t breathe!” It means, “I CAN’T BREATHE!”

Naming names…

Late in the first decade of the 21st century,  I was assaulted by  nursing staff at the Hartford Hospital Emergency Room while alone in a single room with walls and a door, not just a curtained -off cubicle. Male nurses jumped on me to restrain me for a forced injection of Haldol. When I objected and struggled, one man put his hands around my neck and squeezed. I was very frightened and my eyeballs felt the pressure, and I couldn’t breathe. I said to the nurse who was positioning the needle, “I can’t breathe!” She clearly heard me because she looked over her shoulder at me and at the nurse who had his hands on my neck in a strangulation hold. She said, nonchalantly, “You’re okay…” But the thing is, I was not okay. I could NOT breathe! Understanding that the man strangling me would not stop as long as I was struggling, I decided my only chance lay in going completely limp, which I did  at once…and as he felt this under his knees and hands, he let go…I stayed limp and barely breathing until they were satisfied that the Haldol had been injected and I was not struggling. When the man who had been strangling me left, he leaned in near my ear and hissed, “That will teach you a lesson!” For the next half hour I lay there, unmoving and too terrified to make a complaint fearing he would come back and finish the job.

Psychiatric take down and restraint


I woke up the next morning at the Institute of Living (which i had objected to being  sent to, because of past abusive treatment there). I immediately tried to tell the interviewing doctor what they had done, but he just yawned and ignored all that I said. And as no legal services had ever been provided me though I had asked numerous times, I did not have any legal person to resort to and get help.

i was similarly assaulted by security guards at New Britain General Hospital, aka Hospital of Central Connecticut  in 2014, when they were ordered by a nurse to strip me naked and place me in seclusion… when I objected they restrained me in 4 points, and proceeded to strangle me while restrained in order to let the nurse inject three punishment drugs in my naked buttocks. When I told the chief psychiatrist Dr Michael E Balkunas afterwards what happened he clearly knew how bad it was as he said, “my nurses would NEVER do such a thing. You are lying.”  But of course I was not lying, though I did not feel that it was worth saying anything more to him, a sadist, so I simply walked away.

Pam In restraints at New Britain Hospital In CT in 2014
P. in Restraints in New Britain Hospital In May 2014


Later on, in 2015, I was assaulted by another ER nurse, Michael Colbeth, RN, in Randolph VT and my complaints were utterly ignored…the police took a report, yes, but ONLY from the nurse. They explicitly refused to so much as talk to me. Michael Colbeth was only charged with assault and my story more or less believed after the police chief checked the videotape, that was recorded only because the incident happened in the front entrance. I may post this video as I believe no one is identified. But am not sure if it is viewable.

My point is one that all police and medical staff MUST learn and understand, that when someone says “I can’t breathe” it is true! I suspect they are TAUGHT to believe otherwise, because when someone is beginning to choke while eating, but can talk, they are usually fine or at least such is what we are told…. But this is NOT the case when someone is unable to breathe due to outside pressure like the knee on George Floyd’s neck or the hands encircling my throat.


If Bloomberg buys Democratic nomination


go ahead, mayor Bloomberg buy your ads and your support as much as your billions can buy, but if you get the Democratic nomination Trump will benefit from me because I won’t vote at all. And I will persuade other democratic voters to do the same. You represent the absolute worst of American politics, because you think you can literally BUY the presidency…well I will NEVER vote for you !

I’ve had Medicare for 37 years and it has never failed me

Clostridium botulinum

Neisseria gonorrheaum

(The following was written by someone contributing to my blog who wants to remain anonymous)

I know that people are afraid of Medicare for all, that having private insurance provides more or better healthcare or that it is cheaper.

I have had medicare since I was 30 and not once did it ask me to pay up for my healthcare. MY Medicare, traditional medicare, only pays 80% of my medical bills however (as opposed to the 100% promised by Medicare for All) so as a very low income recipient, I was granted Medicaid to pay the other 20%.

Now that I am a senior, and thanks to inherited funds am no longer mired in poverty, I am also no longer eligible for Medicaid, But my Medigap plan F must pay that necessary 20%.

Medicare has paid for my clinic visits, hospital stays, every doctor I’ve ever seen (except for the few who did not accept insurance). It has paid for my X-rays and MRIs and colonoscopy and an operation. It has paid for physical therapy and joint injections. It has paid for my vision therapy, with its  weekly appointments for more than a year.

There’s nothing not to like. And I like it all. What I would LOVE from Medicare for All, is not having to find a way to pay for plan F (no co-pays), dental care, and vision care complete with refraction and the special very expensive glasses I need to wear to see.  Hearing care is or will eventually become necessary for many of us.  Dental care!

If EVERYONE is in the pool, and it is funded appropriately, all of this is possible. I know, because most European countries already do this and much more cheaply than the 16% of GDP which is what the U.S. pays.

I don’t understand the opposition to Medicare for All, when so many millions have no health care at all, and many more are under-insured with “copper” plans or no Medigap or Medicaid, so any major illness would drown them in debt. We all die, and most of us will spend, or have spent on us, many thousands during our final years. Most of us will not die suddenly, in the perfect bloom of health. So what gives? Unless you are a healthcare insurance executive or employee, in which case you have your job to worry about, I do not understand why you would want private insurance or anything less than Medicare for All.