i cant go swimming
alone in the ocean anymore
i have too great a tendency
to get pulled in
by all sorts of undertow

and i know this
from almost drowning
several times over
so i just dont go
swimming alone
in the ocean

i won’t end up

Beach Setting

isnt it beautiful to apply lemon juice to the scalp
and olive oil on the body
to have the same woman forcefully rub sunscreen on me
who rubbed it on when i was a baby
to talk about the books we’ve been reading
and to be in the water, lazily splashing

isnt it beautiful to be surrounded by women
to joke and lounge in a beach setting

Why Did I Think This Would be Ok?

I hold these truths to be self evident:
I have trouble keeping my head up
when i dont have enough employment
it’s been my repeated experience
and yet, every chance to take a hiatus, I take it
I say, oh, time off! won’t that be exciting?
I’ll teach myself french and the constitution
and finally finish that book ive been writing

within 24 hours im looking for work again
within 48 I’m a mental patient

The First Therapy Session is Always the Same

My introduction always takes 50 minutes
I say, “Hi, my name is ______
and this is how my life happened.”

The doctors always say the same thing
“Oh, my, that’s….fascinating.”

and it is. My mental illness
has followed me
from mountains to shamans
through difficult governments
and unexpected friendships

and wait till i tell you
when the nightmares started
and what ive done about it

but then, that’s all the time
we have for this session.
it’ll be the 20th
before I can see her again
before we can even work on
any of my problems.

First Appointment Jitters

When I’m setting up the appointment
and trying very hard
not to leave extraneous voice messages
I want more than anything
to seem like a non threatening
sane person

why am I preoccupied
with making a good impression
on my new therapist
when I’m only going to then
sit down and tell her
all these fucked up things

i guess I want to seem
like a person worth helping
She asks a question
and I say I’m so excited to meet her
but this seems
like the wrong answer
so she has to repeat it

“So, love,
do you have insurance?”

“I’ll pay in cash.
Thank you for doing this.”