172 Readings

Ode to Anxiety

Anxiety, you’re my friend and I welcome you.

Because I love the world and its uncertainty,

I love the world with you in it,

even when I must convince myself of it!

In doing so, you make a remarkable example:

You’re climbing hills. You’re staying late.

You’re blinking because you only want to have fun

and no one knows how you got here.

You’re a clapper, and a follower, and a Johnny-on-the-spot.

You keep abreast of the changes. Your motor is strong,

strong enough I could think of you as only a motor

and that misprision would call into my periphery

a more ineffable understanding of what you really are.

Which is all hypothesis, which helps me believe,

and is why anyone can look down their own shirt

and feel shocked and scared and also reassured.

Without you, how could I learn what I already know?

Who would appreciate the circle so much?

I’d fall easily into taking-everything-in

and playing-it-cool at picnics by rivers, or after midnight,

and in other continuums wherein I’m totally awesome –

when driving to drive or making up voices,

such as the hallucinating auctioneer.

And though you annoy me, I’m glad you’re along.

We can go fishing or some bullshit.

We can go places we’re not sure we even want to go.

I’ll be an elder statesman; I’ll beat you up. Or let you win,

or let you hit me harder.

We’ll be aware of none of this later, stealing a pie

claiming bears on the road out of town, penning a memo

and setting it on fire.

Sometimes, we’ll take different parts.

I’ll be Andy Griffiths sold by money-order;

you’ll be Donahue.

We’ll keep saying we can work-with-it.

We’ll drink toddies with blue-haired ladies

who’ll tell us everything.

They’ll say everything starts with a piece of cake

but before that it started with Chang and Ang,

the Siamese twins buried, holding each other,

over there, past the traffic circle, past the cloggers.

That’s where they are, still thinking thoughts

and bonded, behind where the brothers Jim

paint the white fence white.

And the mayor comes by.

The mayor, he’s a real Joe Miller

which is a local term

for a cross between a voyeur and an exhibitionist.

Posted 12/20/18
from Let's Collaborate, chapbook, Magic Helicopter Press
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