I rise early to start work
upon a treatise
to be called,
“An Inquiry Into Not Being
Violently Sick To My Stomach From
Reading The News.”
I don’t have a clue as to
how to begin this. There
is no talk therapy for it.
Every effective pill is either fatal
or so obliterating that
the rest of my life
would be swept away too.
I could do what some do and
never open a book or paper
again and try to forget, sink into
coffee or beer or weed, play
the oldest music I could remember,
plug into unplugging from the right now.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t tried
all that; I’m not capable of lying
anymore. My stomach keeps me
honest, spits up truth in spite of my fear.
As convulsed as I am minute to minute
it would be hard to say
I’m not a better person for it:
my gut’s well-toned enough now
from retching to take whatever
stab or blow or bullet that comes;
even if I am pierced, even if I am killed,
I will leave this work behind and survive.
I dip my head over the page,
fight back what’s in my throat, and begin.