Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Stoner on a Ferris Wheel

The Ferris Wheel isn’t moving

...Or is it?

It’s so hard to tell

Because what is movement?

And what is progress?

And if I sit here long enough
Will gravity move the wheel for me?

Am I entitled to movement?

So many people
Think they’re entitled
To so many things

Movement
Gravity
Cotton Candy

I’d really...like some cotton candy

I’d like….equal rights for all

And popcorn

And I’d like to...get down now

The Ferris Wheel was invented
By the people at the top
Who want us to think
We’re going places
When really
We’re just going in a circle

They also invented the merry-go-round
The rotary
And the baggage claim at the airport

That’s why I never pack
When I go anywhere

And that’s why I don’t drive
Or ride horses
That aren’t real

I don’t ride real horses either
But all creatures should be free
To roam the jungle
Without saddles

Hey, did we start moving again?

Because the moon
Was definitely over there before
And now it’s over...there

Imagine if the moon wasn’t in the sky?

Like, what if it lived on a farm
Like Big Bird
In that movie
Where he gets lost in the foster care system?

No really
That’s what that movie is about

Think about it

Do you think they check on the rides
After the carnival is closed
The way they check on animals in the zoo
To make sure they’re not masturbating?

All zoos are hella Puritanical
Especially the ones that let you pet
The crocodiles

That’s why I get all my fun
At the Best Buy

I’ve returned the same DVD player
Seventeen times
And they still haven’t caught on

What am I doing, you may ask?

You’ll see

....And I’ll see

I just hope I get down from this Ferris Wheel in time
To see the sun come up

I guess I could see it from here
But when my field of vision expands too much
It feels like when you’re at the movies
And the curtains keep opening
Until you’re like--

Whoa

What kind of a movie theater still has curtains?

I guess there’s no rush

Pretty soon autumn will be spring
And spring will be next year
And next year will be last year
And then you’re time-traveling
And it’s only that you’ll understand
The real reason
They won’t let you have a dog

Once I get down
I’m going in the fun house

Because until you’ve seen yourself
In one of those mirrors
Where your head is on the body
Of Franklin Roosevelt
You haven’t really been to the carnival

It’s been a long time
Since I’ve seen myself

Gotta do it the right way
You know what I mean?

There’s a right and a wrong way
To do just about

Everything

When All the Other Girls Got Boobs

She got boobs first

Her, over there
She was the first one

I still don’t have them yet

I’m the last one

She and I have nothing in common

I have more in common
With her, over there
Because she just got them
After Christmas break

But now even she’s being weird to me
And I know why

I think maybe I won’t get them at all
Because my mom doesn’t have them
Not really
And she was saying that doesn’t mean anything
But I still won’t speak to her
Because why would you bring a child into this world
Who can’t have boobs?

I just think that’s wrong

Nobody had boobs
Until the beginning of the school year
And then her, over there?

She came in with them
And I was like--

What is going on?
We are in fifth grade
What is she doing with boobs?

So, like, for awhile there
She was the one on the outside
Because even though it was cool
That she had boobs
She was the only one
And so, yeah, the boys were, like, being gross to her
But other than that
There really weren’t
Any perks at all

Then that other girl over there got them
And then, like, a week later
Those two girls got them
And it was like--an explosion

And I’m sitting here going--

Oh my god
I’m not going to get them

And then my friend
Who sits next to me
She was like--

I’m not going to get them either
Don’t worry

But then she totally got them
And now she won’t even eat lunch with
And the boys went from teasing the girls with boobs
To teasing the only girl who doesn’t have them
And that’s me

My dad says that there are hormones in milk
That’s making girls get boobs now
When they used to get them
When they were in their thirties or something
So I started drinking lots of milk
Like a crazy amount of milk
And that’s how I figured out I’m lactose intolerant
So now I don’t have boobs
AND I can’t eat ice cream
And all the other girls are better looking than me
And Dad is bald
So if I get those genes
I’m going to be totally screwed

My mom and dad keep telling me
How pretty I am every day
And my mom’s been doing this thing
Where she cuts out pictures of flat-chested models
And leaves them on my desk
So I see them when I get home from school

I won’t say that’s not nice
But I also won’t say it makes me feel better
Because it really doesn’t

What does make me feel better
Is that I know I have better hair
Than all the other girls
Like, it’s practically not even a contest
My hair is amazing
Which is why I’ll be so upset if I lose it
Like my Dad did

If I get to keep my hair
And I never get boobs
I guess I can live with myself
Because nobody’s perfect
And some people peel off dead skin
And eat it
And I won’t say who does that
But she sits right over there

That means I’m doing better
Than most people I think
And that’s why I keep coming to school
And waking up
And talking to all these idiots every day

But it doesn’t mean
I have to be happy
About any of it

I told my mom that
And she was like--

Oh, but I want you to be happy

And I was like--

Are YOU happy?

And let me tell you something

That shut her up

Pretty quick

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Diagnosis

     (A therapist's office.)

THERAPIST:  Well, I have some really good news.

PATIENT:  Great, I could use it.

THERAPIST:  As you know, you've been coming here for a few years, and we've been trying to figure out the right diagnosis for you.

PATIENT:  That's right.

THERAPIST:  And I think we've finally landed on it.

PATIENT:  Really?

THERAPIST:  Yup.  I've been doing a lot of reading, and consulting with other experts, and I'm fairly confident in what I'm about to say.

     (A beat.)

PATIENT:  Okay, well--Go ahead.

THERAPIST:  Okay.

     (A beat.)

THERAPIST:  You're an asshole.

     (A beat.)

PATIENT:  What?

THERAPIST:  It's the only explanation.

PATIENT:  Uh...I'm sure there must be...other explanations?

THERAPIST:  No, I think it's safe to say, this is it.

PATIENT:  But I have anxiety.

THERAPIST:  Well, everybody has anxiety, but I wouldn't say your anxiety is any worse than anybody else's anxiety.

PATIENT:  But--

THERAPIST:  I mean, you don't have an anxiety disorder.  You just have anxiety.

PATIENT:  How much anxiety do you have to have to have an anxiety disorder?

THERAPIST:  A lot more than you seem to have.

PATIENT:  Maybe I haven't been describing my anxiety correctly.

THERAPIST:  You've been describing it to me for five years.

PATIENT:  But clearly I haven't done a very good job if you're saying it's not a problem.

THERAPIST:  I'm not saying it's not a problem.

PATIENT:  Okay, good.

THERAPIST:  I'm saying it's not as big of a problem as you might want it to be.

PATIENT:  I don't want it to be a problem at all!

THERAPIST:  IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII think you do.

PATIENT:  Why would I want that?

THERAPIST:  Well, because, as I said, you're an asshole.  And I don't think you want people to think you're an asshole, but you also don't want to stop being an asshole, so you're looking for something--a term to adopt--that'll let you off the hook for being an asshole--

PATIENT:  I--

THERAPIST:  When really, even if you did have something you were dealing with--like on a medical level--you still wouldn't be allowed to be an asshole.

PATIENT:  What about my trauma?

THERAPIST:  What trauma?

PATIENT:  My unidentified trauma.

THERAPIST:  We haven't been able to identify it.

PATIENT:  And?

THERAPIST:  And so, I can't factor it into--

PATIENT:  But it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

THERAPIST:  I mean, it could exist the way anything could exist, but I can't diagnose you based on something that hasn't been identified.

PATIENT:  Then what are you saying?

THERAPIST:  I'm saying you're an asshole.

PATIENT:  What about my anger?

THERAPIST:  Assholes are frequently angry.

PATIENT:  My depression?

THERAPIST:  It seems to stem from the fact that sometimes you get angry at people and act like an asshole and then they don't want to hang out with you anymore and that makes you depressed.

PATIENT:  But I can't help how I'm acting.

THERAPIST:  Some people can't.  You can.

PATIENT:  I don't accept that.

THERAPIST:  You're welcome to get a second opinion.

PATIENT:  But you're the fifth doctor I've had in the last ten years.

THERAPIST:  Then you're welcome to get an eleventh opinion.

PATIENT:  I just don't want you doctors to keep gas-lighting me.

THERAPIST:  Disagreeing and gas-lighting are two very different things.

PATIENT:  I think by you saying that you're attempting to gaslight me.

THERAPIST:  I just need you to start taking some responsibility for your behavior.

PATIENT:  I can't control my behavior.

     (The PATIENT stands up and knocks over a table.)

THERAPIST:  Why did you do that?

PATIENT:  I have no idea!  That's the whole point!

THERAPIST:  There's nothing wrong with you.  I mean, there is, but nothing that you can't fix.

PATIENT:  So you're refusing to medicate me?

THERAPIST:  You don't need medicine.

PATIENT:  Maybe I don't need therapy either.

THERAPIST:  Everybody needs therapy.  Although you could probably just write 'Don't be an asshole' on a piece of paper and carry it around with you everywhere.  That might help just as much.

PATIENT:  I have never been so insulted.  You're a loser and you have weird teeth.

THERAPIST:  That's really mean.

PATIENT:  I'm sick!

THERAPIST:  You're not.

PATIENT:  I'm leaving!

THERAPIST:  Sounds good.

PATIENT:  YOU'RE GAS-LIGHTING.

THERAPIST:  You're not crazy.

PATIENT:  I AM AND STOP SAYING I'M NOT THAT'S GAS-LIGHTING.

     (PATIENT exits.)

THERAPIST:  If I keep this up, I won't have a practice much longer.

     (THERAPIST crosses another name off the list in their tiny notepad.)

Monday, October 7, 2019

Gimme Shelter

She was closing up shop
When the mountain
Came down

It sent two kinds of rocks
Shuttling down
Through the valley
Straight through
The heart
Of what used to be
A bustle town

Now not a ghost
But not living either

She hadn’t had a customer
In close to two weeks
And closure was on the table

She saw the sedimentary
Sliding past the off-gray cars
And tried to remember
If she’d paid the insurance
For this month

It’d take too long
To unlock the door
And get inside
Before the rocks arrived

Instead she took off her heel
And smashed the glass
Then walked through it
Just as the first boulder
Made a dent in the sidewalk
And took out the parking meter
She’d ranted about
To anyone who would listen

Town goes broke
And puts in parking meters

What kind of sense
Does that make?

She slides under the counter
Where the customers used to pick up
Their interview suits
Back when there were customers
Or jobs to interview for

She hears more glass being assaulted
Wood over windows
Giving way
As bits of mountain
Make their way
Into the abandoned parts
That the mountain forgot

There’s a wind kicking up
And she thinks she hears thunder
But it might just be the sound
Of an avalanche
Navigating the town
It was only supposed to shadow

Whatever people left in town
Aren’t screaming
Or if they are
She can’t hear them

What looks like gravel
Goes skittering along the floor
Past where she’s crouched

Buffalos stampede
Covered wagons roll
A circus comes to town
But it doesn’t stop

It’s got to set up
Somewhere down the road

The mountain goes from this town
To the next
To the next

Looking for a little bit of life
To cover up
Before it settles
Along the ocean

She wants to tell it
That there doesn’t need to be
This much destruction

She wants to walk out into the street
And let the rocks fly past her
Like she’s in the middle
Of a meteor shower

Suspended in space
Ships going by
All kinds of ships
Pirate and astronaut
Sailors and war
The kidnapped
And the undiscovered

But she stays where she is
Until the last of the beatings
Die down
To a low
Low
Crumble

She thinks about taking a look outside
To take in the damage
But part of her already knows
What she’ll see

It’ll be exactly
What was there
Before

Today was a day
That only felt special
When really--

The world full of water
Was always covered over

With rock