I’ve been writing poems about a dark period in my 20’s to release any negativity that might be lurking in my subconscious mind. After meditating on the words “letting go,” I wrote,”That Time I Was So Depressed I Nearly Died.” These days, I’m not starving. I’m a happy and healthy meditation instructor that believes that everyone should love and accept themselves, even their faulty past, for better or worse, because it’s made them who they are. The young artist is often a dramatic and desperate creature, I was no exception in the regard and, for a time, things were tough.
That Time I Was So Depressed I Nearly Died
That Time I Felt So Sorry For Myself I Nearly Died
I thought of killing myself
but, I decided to have dinner first.
I studied the blank shelves
in the quaint of my kitchen,
ate air until I burst in the aging
of a brick building built in 1932,
the year Sylvia Plath’s birth and,
as luck would have it, a blue bellied
gas stove. I whipped up something
from nothing, leftovers actually,
from no food Friday. There’s always
plenty of nothing to go around.
After dinner I sat in the window,
ten stories up, I’m not saying I’d jump.
Maybe I’ll float, light as a feather,
a strange game from high school.
Fingers underneath a body,
eyes closed and chanting until
deadweight, oddly levitates
into the air as if by magic
And we, a coven of teenage witches,
so serious. Even then I knew
I would write about it.
Leaping is a commitment,
falling is always easier. Today,
I can barely commit words to a page
being depressed and all
I try the ballpoint pen,
my imagination is full of courses
Joyce, Carver and Plath
which rhymes with bath
To take one, after opening one’s
wrists in warm water, is to
lose to melancholy. Some would say,
“It’s funny really,” in hushed dismay
When they considered the items left
behind. Others would reconcile
the empty cabinets and unused dishes
stacked in place, all two of them, and
a the single fork waiting patiently
like a poet, all tines and utilitarian steel,
At least I know what really matters
like laughter, especially to laugh at oneself
for being too depressed to move,
too hungry to die
and futiley upset over a rejection letter,
“Try again,” it’s Ivy League editor says.
I imagine him in a soft leather chair,
tossing my work aside, even as I sink
and our passions sleep close to one another,
under an ever darkening sky
My poem Polishing A Gem On The Surface Of The Sea is a chapbook, 43 pages in length, ten moments per page, ending on number 400. The following excerpt stops at moment 30 and kind of leaves you hanging, but I cannot have the full version up while it is a finalist in a national contest. The winner will be announced in September of 2015.
Polishing Gems On The Surface Of The Sea
- Sometimes I feel like I’m in a book or movie but then I realize I’m in a dream.
- Across our time, I’m a wave rolling forward, the undertow pulling back, and you, you are my rip current, my last gasp of breath before going under.
- The day I met Jack O’Malley a single yellow balloon floated into the yard. I tied it to my VW’s antennae and drove to the beach. I can still imagine it twirling in an invisible twister just beyond my view.
- Jack is now my Jack, and he loves Jack Kerouac, but I love my Jack more than Jack loves Jack.
- There is momentum in the moments we share as we read On The Road to one another.
- At times, I feel guilty for lusting after Jack Kerouac but one cannot have too much Jack.
- Before my eyes close I say, “Magical thinking is even more fun than the regular kind.”
- I often taste the future before it arrives, hear it, see it, sense it.
- When I turn on the TV, Judy Garland is singing, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
- I’ve only been awake for a minute, but Jack has been on my mind for hours.
- I stop on the freeway in awe of the light fingers reaching through the clouds.
- On our first date, Jack got down on one knee and asked me to visualize a diamond ring.
- I consider a career in advertising after watching Mad Men, but this estuary thought opens a passage that floods the sanctity of the poems in my mind.
- Jack is driving, and I’m watching it all go by.
- At a poetry reading in Mendocino, we meet a girl named Dorothy from Kansas.
- Mmm, Pavarotti with a latte.
- Jack and I find a collector’s box of butterflies in a second-hand store with “J. O’Malley” written on the back, we talk of destiny.
- Kismet and irony are what Jack and I eat for breakfast.
- Look! The clouds are like goose down at a distance, blurred and gray, soft and unreal in the fading light.
- I wonder who drove the pins through the hearts of the butterflies in the box.
- I lie on my surfboard waiting for a wave; my outstretched arms become the wings of a giant blue Morpho butterfly.
- Jack says the Blue Morpho is the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen.
- Ripples of heat rise off the road, and we are enveloped in sage and silence as we drive in a waterless world across the Mojave.
- In spite of being on the wrong coast, Jack and I like to play Breakfast at Tiffany’s every chance we get.
- Today we are on our fourth cocktail before noon.
- I usually write when Jack is asleep but sometimes we write together on cocktail napkins.
- There is so much beauty in the world, nothing else matters.
- Two hawks fly over our house.
- Jack says that we have the same spirit animal.
- It is wine with La Wally, and all is well.