Monthly Archives: February 2017

Long Way Home

In the labyrinth of the City of Owls, I tore the right sleeve of my shirt on an oak railing while running to your door to tell you I was a new person, changed, renewed, revitalized, no longer living painfully and robotically under the slate clouds of a depression I barely understood. But at the ripping sound of my sleeve, caught on a loose spike of wood, my heart began to race like a horse under the lash. Sweat blossomed on my brow. My hands trembled. Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. I balled my hands into tight, white-knuckled fists and kicked a half-full trash can, spilling rotten orange peels and baby teeth into the street, startling an old poet sleeping in the gutter.

I took ten deep breaths and focused my gaze on a glass statuette of a hedgehog in the window of the shop next to me. I unclenched my hands. And I quickly forgot what I was doing, where I was going, why I was out in the streets. I didn’t forget you, it’s important that you know that, but I lost myself in a scarlet haze of panic and disorientation–briefly–and when I came out again, I was almost a blank slate, lost in an unfamiliar world, tranquilly confused.

I abandoned my quest to get to you and wandered the twisting streets of the city, singing quietly and tunelessly to myself, like the ghost of a rambling troubadour in a maze of smoky mirrors. I’m not sure if I’ve come out of that maze or not. I’m not sure of anything anymore. And so I continue to move through my days and nights, dreaming of you but unable to find you, wishing I’d taken a different route in the underground walkways beneath the Square of Moths and Candles.


in the world i see around me
everything makes me want to run
it’s all exciting & terrifying
my frozen heart melting in the sun

all the stars glimmering above me
walking up when the sky’s below
they swirl around to hypnotize me
my fevered heart cooling in the snow

but that’s not complicated
not random or not fated
i’ve never hesitated
it’s why i’m medicated

in the world i see around me
they put poison in my blood
they’ll burn everything to ashes
while they’re waiting for the flood

but that’s not complicated
not random or not fated
i’ve never hesitated
it’s why i’m medicated

look up at the moon
it’s easy to pretend we’ll be there soon

Base Under Siege

I was watching the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD tonight. It’s a particularly intense episode, a “base under siege” episode, like a lot of classic Doctor Who stories, like the amazing film by Howard Hawks, The Thing from Another World, and the also amazing remake by John Carpenter, The Thing. A place that’s supposed to be safe is suddenly closed off from the rest of the world. Monsters are all around you, lurking in the shadows, just on the other side of a closed door. You don’t know who you can trust. You’re not even sure if you can trust yourself. You’re wired on adrenaline and exhausted from running and fighting. You’re battered and bloody, inside and out. You want to run and you want to fight, but you can’t tell which is the right thing to do, so instead you want to curl up in a ball and do nothing.

That’s what anxiety feels like to me. Places I consider safe and fun suddenly feel threatening or vulnerable. People I consider friends seem distant, dismissive, unconcerned with how I am. I’m on edge, but I’m also tired, drained. I want to run and hide, but I also want to lash out, yell, break things. Mostly I want to collapse, curl up into a tight ball, and cry until whatever’s happening has stopped.

Anyway, this Agents of SHIELD episode. The scientist Jemma Simmons, bloody, bruised, heartbroken, afraid, begins to break down. Tears stream down her face as she says over and over that she can’t go on. And the one person she knows she can trust tells her, “It’s okay. I’ll do all the fighting. I won’t let them get you. We can do this.” Then the two of them get up, throw a loose plan together, and get on with the battle.

And it hit me: the next time I feel overwhelmed by everything around me, the next time I feel hurt and scared to the point of paralysis, the next time I feel like I can’t go on, I need to remind myself that I have friends who love me and will protect me, doing the fighting for me. I need to remember that even if I feel like it’s too much and I can’t go on, I can. And when I get through the anxiety–because even though it feels like the anxiety will never stop when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack, the anxiety always goes away sooner or later–when I get through it and I need to rest, I can let myself rest. Because I damn well deserve a rest after that.

This was written for Sarah Fader and her Twitter hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike.

Fluffy Alarms

drained like a battery
what can you do?
damp as a spring day
folded in two
your nights never tasted so much like ennui

like an empty pocket
dancing all alone
skull full of flowers
twisted & boned
these nights never last like they did way back when

intentions are fine
sand turned into glass
these new moon nights
will never, never last
but your days will taste bursting with cloudy surprise

Boy King Blues

walking into paradise for just one day
nothing left to dream about
nothing left to say
with the ocean for my backyard
with my pavement in the sky
with our encyclopedic hearts
beaming light behind our eyes

pursuing blue epiphanies against the grain
nothing left to dream about
nothing left but rain
drifting seaside for our palace
drifting soil in the stars
drifting my lips to your lips
wondering if we’ll go that far

wishing for a way to waste our time
nothing left to write about
nothing left to wish