blank canvas face

13.

 

I’ve spent years

watching that guy in the mirror,

washing his hands red

in blistering water

for no reason; 

other than 

the relief of repetition

 

that guy who wanders in 

repetitive patterns:

who spends hours in panic,

forgetting and remembering 

where his keys are

 

this is what i am now,

outside looking in;

a backward man in a mirror

staring at my eyes; 

waiting for an explanation

 

this blank canvas face

that doesn’t remind anyone of me

 

some days

i believe i can change 

this meandering face;

if i hold onto a perfect image,

i can reshape it

i can reshape who i am

 

i’ve spent a life

waiting for my face

to be carved in old greek temples

 

people say the mirror never lies,

years have gone by, 

nothing has changed;

i guess people are right

 

the hot water is still

blistering my fingers;

my hands still 

don’t feel clean

rating

15.

 

tests about state of mind

are unfair 

no right or wrong

tests that rate various levels

of normalcy on a subjective continuum

of zero to negative five

of zero to positive five

 

where do you put yourself today?

how do rate your depression or elation?

 

on a scale of 10

as a percentage

 

i failed most of these tests

i’m more comfortable with this then i should be

 

everyday is a test

no books to study from

no pass; no fail

 

the only appropriate grade

is 

did not finish

finding universe

17.

 

i like the multiverse:

the idea that an infinite number 

of universes exist at once,

where every possible event or action

occurs at every opportunity 

 

it’s inviting to think of entirely different 

ways of life and being

 

it sounds like a game of pretend

 

pretend you have lost this universe

pretend you briefly filled your lungs 

with alien air in another universe

pretend you understood something 

that you thought you

immediately forgot

but didn’t,

 

a game like this

is much too real

i left my...

14.

 

one day i left my apartment,

the effort was twisted with the frustrated tension of feeling

not ready

for the world 

the requisite strength i need 

is enormous and unreliable,

i prepare myself like

i’m running a marathon

for such mundane behaviours:

opening and closing a door,

choosing the clean clothes 

among the wrinkled and stained

repeatedly forgetting appointment times

finding and losing

notebooks and pens;

things I always believe i need 

but rarely do

 

the effort i muster,

i also reject in reflex

proving newton’s 3rd law

every action has an equal and opposite reaction

me, a rubber band 

stretching and snapping back on itself;

until i come apart 

 

every thought of opening

the door and leaving 

is denied by a storm surge of panic

that carries imagined and unseen dangers

 

it should be easier 

just leaving


shouldn’t it be easier? 

phone call

16.

i answered my phone

i was walking through 

an urban park, a field of snow 

surrounded by hoar-frosted trees

the phone vibrated in my pocket

the music stopped

the music didn’t start again for months

 

i didn’t see the oncoming shock wave

through the slowness of the falling snow

 

i moved the slider and heard

the foreign voice of a friend

whose name i didn’t remember

who said i have unfortunate news

to tell….

 

all i heard was pressure

pushing through my eardrums

whatever happened after

didn’t include me

 

then i was told:

 

winter was gone

spring was gone

 

i was surrounded by nurses and doctors

hospital beds and the straps;

that held me down,

so i wouldn’t break my own bones

 

months went past 

that phone call never ended

it severed my sense of time and place:

 

already fragile,

 

i can’t remember what the bad news was tho…

claim victory erase 

18.

 

At times, my mind 

finds a hidden path;

a quiet path in a forest of green rain,

how to get from point a to point b

without making a scene

an unnecessary commotion

nothing to draw attention

to the new correct way,

i’m doing the tragically inconsequential

tasks that i can perform

 

i try not feel imperious or smug

during these productive periods:

i feel strangely as though

i should claim victory

as fleeting and fallow as it is

 

soon: 

my own eclipse

will erase any victory

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