Practice

Tonight is the first night in a week where I haven’t taken some sort of pill to suppress the debilitating anxiety that has taken over my life. Is this improvement or the illusion of reassuring myself that I am not addicted to Xanax or Ativan or little blue sleeping pills? The feeling in my chest hasn’t left yet, though; it’s always there like a birthmark I forget about until I disrobe for bathing or a memory I don’t remember until I’m alone and hopeless. The freshly painted meringue walls help, I suppose, but eventually, I will have to return to the plain white ones and I’m afraid those walls, that house, has caused all of this. My mother, my boyfriend, my doctors, and countless comments on the Internet believe it to be hormones brought on by the ill-conceived decision of my piss-poor HMO to change my birth control without notice, but why this, why now? I want to be pure, to be free of medications and addictions, but is it really so wrong to drift off to normalcy each night with the help of a little yellow, white, or pastel red pill? All I can see around me are people who seamlessly have their lives together and are able to get out of bed, exercise, go to the market, to concerts, and to work all without batting a fucking eyelash, and maybe a fraction of them are actually capable of doing those things. However, how many of them have been analyzed and prescribed with some mental health cocktail so they can portray the illusion of being normal, of being happy? How many of them are lying to me, to the world, that they are fine and not at all fucking terrified of getting older, and losing all of the ones they love, and one day dying? Please, I am begging you, how many of them are there really?

I knew this day would come eventually, but that was before the numbers on my biological clock struck the big ol’ three-zero. I thought I was young and free; I honestly thought I would live forever. And yes, I get it, the fucking criticisms and snickering, I realize I am not technically old yet, but I am also neither a fucking kid anymore, nor a teenager, not even a twenty-something year old who can stay out late wearing ripped jeans and drinking like the hangover won’t last for two days. I’m at a stand still where I am expected to settle the fuck down and accept the mundane life before me, but I can’t, I just can’t and that is honestly, probably, where all the anxiety and panic attacks and paralyzing stress comes from. I want so much more out of life and it feels like it’s already over.

There Are No Walls

There are no walls,
only doors
and the scenery changes

One day it’s red rocks, soil
the next it’s yellow grass,
tumbleweeds

Then nighttime, fires in the distance,
giant crosses that yell without sound

We stop for signs, ribs, bars we can't drink in,
places we want to, but won't see again

Finally its tall, tall buildings,
concrete, brick for miles, miles

We sleep on the floor,
you go to work, and
I make sure I have enough money
to get back home

Vancouver Lonely Hearts Club

You’re sitting right next to me
and we’ve tired of the Olympics

Southern catcalls ring out in the tiny apartment
and I can barely see you through the smoke

What are we doing here?
Why do you seem so far?

You ask me questions
and I answer with nervous smiles

Age keeps coming at us faster
during these days that are slow as hell

I don’t think I can see you anymore
until my perception has changed

You call me by the wrong name
and I go home again unsatisfied

Smoke Break

Phantom smells of Cool Ranch Doritos; am I having a stroke?
Conversations in my head with people I don’t like, won’t see, hopefully.
Cold hands with a big belly; am I broken?
Can the doctors fix me if I am?
Am I lethargic, tired, or lazy?
Am I like the day, this day, those few days I was up north?

Midnight In Paris

The only time I’ve seen
the movie was with
him

but I want to see it
again for the first
time

I want to remember
it with
you

Because you would have
known to pick it
first

You wouldn’t have
touched me for so
long

You wouldn’t have made it
unbearable just for a
joke

You wouldn’t have pretended
you had planned every
detail

Because it was her idea,
she could never keep a
secret

Everything he ever did for me
was her
idea

and she didn’t
know me at
all

Bandito

I saw you again last night.

It had been years,
but nothing changed.

You seemed younger,
but only because I’m the one who’s aged.

There was great solace in being near you
and when I woke it was more of a memory than a dream.

I think about you falling sometimes though.

When I tell people what happened,
they become so upset.
They’re insulted by my nonchalance,
but they didn’t know you.

To be honest, I find comfort in the wind hitting your face.
I wonder what it felt like.
I wonder what it feels like.

I suppose I should be distraught or mournful,
but there really was no other ending for you
besides the one you chose.

 

SMELL

I can smell you when you’re not around
and then these other smells creep in
and take me away from you.

Whenever that smell enters my nose
it takes me back to Dawson
and the hug you gave me.

We stood in your room
surrounded by cords
and clothes and shoes.

Do you wear perfume?
I meant cologne.
It’s cologne, for men.

“You should.
It’s good for your significant other
to have a smell to associate with you.”

But we already have distinctive smells.
You already have a distinctive smell.
Do I have the staying power to corrupt your senses?

“What do I smell like?”
You smell like home,
like the future.

42

I suddenly began to fall out of the sky, thinking that it was just a scary dream because of my fear of heights. I landed hard on the sidewalk of an empty street, but the sharp pain confirmed that this was no dream. I stood back up, finding myself on the street Candy Land, and what poked me on the back was rock candy. I went from angry to hungry in 0.003 seconds and kindly asked the rock candy if I could eat it. The rock candy started running away, so I ran after it trying to bite its head off. The rock candy managed to hide in a corner, but was discovered by fluffy blue bunnies. The blue bunnies were carrying toy guns to make them look tougher. The blue bunnies seemed to think that everyone would think they were cool and heroic because of carrying their toy guns wherever they went.

41

One morning, I woke up and saw a giant monkey right next to me. He started making cow noises, which was unusual. He suddenly attacked me, but I couldn’t get him off me. Suddenly, it felt as if we were combining— we became one person, as if we were not human at all. I felt so uncomfortable and it was so hard believe that I was no longer a human. As each day passed, I felt less and less like a human; I could feel the sense of logic and emotion actually leave my body, but I wasn’t sad about it. After a week, I had no emotions at all, so I wondered what would happen if I bit someone else. I went over to Burger King and ordered large fries and accidentally bit the manager. The manager thought I was crazy then I turned into a gorilla and just walked out like nothing was wrong.

40

The fight for the last chicken wing was as gruesome as ever. The chicken wing suddenly disappeared. Two minutes later I found it near the toilet. I picked up the chicken wing when it suddenly transformed into a French fry. It wasn’t a chicken wing anymore, so I threw it away when suddenly it started flying. The chicken wing flew off, but soon flew back with an army of chicken wings and I had nowhere to run. All the chicken wings ganged up on me, until I realized I had a ketchup bottle in my bag. I shot condiments at the food like a soldier in war; there were chicken wing casualties all around me. One by one, the chicken wings jumped on top of me and I slowly turned into a chicken wing myself. At last, I would live the rest of my life as a wing, where I would defeat angry burgers.