Reading is key to writing. You must study the greats to be great. After reading Paul Guest’s poem, User’s Guide to Physical Rehabilitation, a seed rooted in me. This is the poem that emerged. For those that have parental struggles, this is for you. A poem from my collection.
—after Paul Guest, “User’s Guide to Physical Rehabilitation”
Should the unresolved affliction of being abandoned by your mother
last into adulthood or at least until the chewy mussel gets
easier to swallow or it possible to shuck the sky and toss twilight,
the mind will contemplate on its own: The why and the wherefores’
and the how come you’re not loveable, which if anyone has declared
war on thought, and thought that this time is the last time
you’d give a shit, but still have those days
where you still incur brooding sessions of mom watching,
or your abandoning caregiver
prophesying an apocalypse of grief inside
what could have been, what should have been
your happy life.
Should you acquire that PTSD malady, a side effect
of mental marasmus, and now your shitpile of trauma
has frozen your childhood memories in short-term memory
like something wild and living unexpectedly trapped in an avalanche
of negativity, and now
you must therapy pick through a glacier
of fucked up memories
you only manage to remember in blaring flashbacks
of feeling: a dust slide of pit-bull voices and snarling mothers,
sewage stench of backed-up shit, glitches the brain processes
like eyes process splashes of color, absorbing the spectrum
all at once, trying to make sense of the blur of shape and color.
Imagine the triggering, a murmuration
of starlings: sound, place, smell, flapping
in you, and you shrivel into some other self, dissolving,
and memory, a stereopticon of pain piercing images becomes the main show.
Your body embodies the somatic,
frustration’s fist pounds the heavy bag
of your stomach, and acid burns in your throat. You fall to your knees, not in prayer,
sweat geysering, shaking, sobbing, mouth gulping
air, head throbbing, stomach heaving, and control decamps—packs up
sense of time and leaves. My apologies,
for my anxieties when my cognition malfunctions
in my disability to connect to real emotion; some days the psyche slips
off from the soma. Should my disability to function
to your expectations disable you from functioning as your you, dismantle
my brain, and my self will tumble down.
And as for the Ringling Barnum & Bailey circus of therapist—
pill jugglers, antidepressant swappers, mood stabilizing tigers leaping
through rings of fire, monkey shrinks motorcycling in your mental cage,
zooming, circling, wharfing you in the twilight zone of zonked,
assuming higher cognitive functions,
after fifteen years of on and off counseling,
and two years of talk therapy of forthright questions
and evasive answers, with apologies for being assessed like a gemstone
(notating the physical, emotional, and mental patterns of you, determining
your identity and composition) hypnosis a resigned solution,
EMDR,Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
to integrate your separate states of being; a last-ditch effort
to reconnect your emotional with your physical self, to unclog
the clogged drain of negative thoughts blocking your faucet of energy—all the acrobats
of therapy, the trained animals and slapstick clowns
of cognitive behavioral performances are truly, The Greatest Show on Earth.
Should you move on, but ever so often take a few steps
back, let go, reach back to reclaim what you think you’ve lost, scooping
remnants—the what if’s, and maybe’s fodder that keeps you oscillating, and stuck
—paste the paper mache of your psyche to make a globe.
And remember, perception is a bitch that bites. Toss the bone
of reality, and the bitch buries it. What is
becomes what feels like—and in the in-between
is where the self loses itself.
are metastatic regards of self-healing: cerebral ventures
of spirit traveling to a safe place in the psyche, astral projection (thoughts the pod
of body teleportation), sealing painful images in a mental jar
and setting it on memory’s shelf, and chronic dissociation
when wrestling with what not to say to loved ones
or “normal” people who won’t stop speaking
out of conjecture.
If body movement to music, meditation, and yoga don’t burn
the malignancy of negativity out of you—abnormal growths
multiplying within the cells of self—say, Fuck it.
Make a wish, travel to your Disney World, and make
every goddamn minute of the rest of your life count.