Daily Archives: June 17, 2009

How I Stay Alive

Science shows
on TV
often broadcast
film of bacteria
reproducing, one little rod
breaking into two, two into four,
and so on until the whole screen
boils with a multitude.

Lately, my mind’s
like that.
A mess of damage,
sinister charges rampant
on a shattered shield,
a damned germ orgy
of bills and issues,
stress and fearsome possibilities
and always, always,
an end
by my own hand
in plain and tempting view.

How does one cope
with that? One sets it
to running in reverse:
billions of hot words
fusing and reducing
into a few, then one:


an exacting
answer to turmoil,
better than either
take me
make it stop, neither surrender
nor supplication for outside help;

acknowledgment,  followed by
a choice to say
it is finished.

I say it deliberately
though I am full of fever
and prone to impulse,
crushing down
the fatal stirring
as if it were a pill under my tongue:


If someone were to make a film
of how sick this spirit can become
and how I move it
from death to health,

they’d see
simple arithmetic at work:
subtraction of rationale
followed by subtraction of guilt and self-hatred
until all that’s left is


Triumph over black mood,
Regulation of ill-ease,

Calm storm, trigger peace.

When they make the film
about how I have survived
my self,
it will be a still frame
centered on one small cell
holding something
waiting to disappear
in two syllables as soft as a gust
of spring:


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