(i wrote a poem)
(the assignment was: “dream story”, essentially in the vein of kafka. this started a little bit more pretentious, then it became sort of funny and absurdist. inspired by james tate’s “return to the city of white donkeys”, which i fully recommend.)
(this is what’s called a fibonacci piece. each line has a word count that corresponds to a digit in the fibonacci sequence, culminating in 144 and decreasing from there.)
(this piece is from an exercise called a “cut-up”. i took a bunch of lines from a series of poems in a box that got expanded and filled in until it became this.)
Do you believe in the power of self-love? Your body belongs to you and no one else. If you don't want to kiss him, for chrissake DON'T You are the owner of your lips tongue and teeth When you learn to love everything cellulite pig-nose and weird second toes In that moment it will feel as if no power can stop you Fall in love with yourself Be your own secret admirer Write love notes about your hair eyes and tits Buy yourself flowers and champagne Treat yourself to nice dinners After all The most beautiful parts of you are the ones you love the best
I saw this commercial the other day for one medication or another that warned me to tell my doctor if I experienced “new or worsening depression”. New depression? There are people who haven’t been depressed since early childhood? I’m having trouble picturing it.
“Your pulse is a little high; are you nervous?” Dr. Warner asked me the other day.
“Yeah, I guess so,” I replied.
“Why is that?” Dr. Warner asked.
“I’m awake?” I told him, laughing. He didn’t think it was as funny as I did.
I think that I’m probably at least mildly manic-depressive. I’ve got these wildly cresting and falling emotional extremes that are seemingly predicated on nothing concrete. That sounds like the textbook DSM-whatever-we’re-at definition of bipolar depression, but it also kind of sounds like standard human experience. I’m not sure if I’ve experienced either of them, so who knows.
My mental health team is comprised of myself, a clinical psychiatrist, and a therapist. I’ve got this fantasy where they sit in a room together and talk about nothing but me. Trouble is, my therapist is a behaviorist, so I don’t think they’d get along too well. I can’t tell if them getting into an argument over how to make my life better makes the fantasy better or worse.
I forgot to refill my medication again. I’m in for a fantastic day of sweating, nausea, and mild dissociative episodes. They call it SSRI discontinuation syndrome, because no one wants to say ‘withdrawal’. Withdrawal is a word I’ve really only heard on Law and Order reruns when someone dies before they can testify. To draw a connection between me and that isn’t funny, but it definitely makes me laugh.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m emotionally stunted. Objectively emotional things like ‘heartwarming’ Facebook videos of football teams doing nice things for people don’t affect me much anymore. But then I get sad again. Am I so self-involved that I can’t get out of my own head long enough to have a little empathy? Am I so self-involved that I’ve devoted this much thought to this?
My Papa speaks like a porch rocker in a steamy summer. There’s a slow cadence, rocking back and forth lazily as his words bleed together like sweat drops combining to roll down my face. There’s nothing hard about the way he speaks, all soft consonants and gentle melody. Every word is a song, every sentence a symphony. When he speaks, you can’t help but hear the smile as a matching one forms on your face.
They don’t speak the way my Papa does here. Everything here is sharp staccato, like the click of heels on concrete. They speak like birds with clipped wings. Sentences are utilitarian, to the point and often no further. There are no roundabout stories that take detours into dusty corners of town gossip or funny little expressions here.
When I speak like my Papa, people can’t help but listen. My lilting drawl feels like buttery sunlight filtering through live oak leaves, suffusing the coldest corners of a gray place like this.