When I was a teenager, my parents sent me
to group therapy. During one session, the counselors asked us
"How do you see yourself dying?" I said I imagined myself
run over by a steamroller, flattened out
like in the old Looney Toons cartoons.
The other kids laughed, and my counselors berated me
for having such a ridiculous answer. But that
was how I felt; crushed by anxiety, rendered two-dimensional
by depression. I've been feeling this way again lately:
pressed down, smothered beneath
a concrete slab, or on better days merely
a stack of mattresses. I see things
and I can name them but I cannot describe them,
cannot put my finger on what they remind me of.
It's normal, they say, this flattening out,
this deadening of the senses. It means the drugs are doing
what they are designed to do.
But as I lie here, crushed and mutilated,
I feel myself fill with a different desperation
than the one which led me to this brink,
which caused me to finally give in and fill
those prescriptions. It is the desperation
of being unable to write. And if
I cannot write, what good am I?
I have no answer for this.