Once More With Feeling

A taste like sour milk.
My nerves split my eyebrows.
Shoulder blades contract
and stick, and stretching
won’t melt muscle fibers.

I feel my heart-- rounder,
And louder, and more central
than in the diagrams.
It falls into my stomach
To feed a hunger,
Then spins up into my throat
Until I cough up metal.

I can't even shit.

It was an easy dosing.
I was stacking orange bottles.
Antidepressants, mostly,
Up straight in a tower.
The pills freckling containers
Like windows
on skyscrapers at dusk.

I flipped the rearview mirror
to night view, anti-glare.
Glance up and see the buildings
when the freeway curves-- I'm
curious, who's working late,
and what do they do,
and who pays them?

I looked up the ones I couldn't remember.
Names patronizing and overconfident.
Grants abilities. Makes you well.
For sale on the national news:
"Increases serotonin and norepinephrine
and makes it easier to be happy!"

I've been doing this too long
I don't believe it.

I grab Ritalin out of the pile.
The news reports on Ritalin”
“Nightmare drug does more harm.”
I don't believe those either.

I'd exhausted myself hanging
the delicates on wires.
I wanted big fat checks
on the to-do list,
and the pills were past their potency so,

Just one?

Hello, Walls.
Have you always stood so straight?
I love the corners, sturdy,
like mothers wrapped over their babies in Pompeii.
Seems I haven't much to say
on the page.
The day stays

I knew better.
There's a reason the bottle's still full,
And I only trust doctors
to heal real hearts.

And I know, obviously,
this isn't "the one" for me.
But the tower is tall now.
Floors of orange,
Shaded in the glare-proof mirror;
It's just advertising.

It looks different in the day.
Just a big, gray block among many.
I trust more
The sky.
It is more mine than the buildings.
Stones you can pocket.

Skies owned by no one.
Equally yours
as mine and the landlord's.

And I get it,
Why, when the neighbor in 3B sees me
She picks the bottles from the dumpster.

The sky is inconsistently blue.

But the pills aren't there.
I mixed them with coffee grounds,
in a plastic bag in the kitchen trash.
I think she would've done the same thing,
But what do I know?
Half my friends are on something.
Maybe they're not stacking.
Maybe they're refilling.
Maybe they're working.

I wish them luck,
But I'm done.

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