Pulse

Like stampeding miniature elephants

Pushing from behind your lips,

Pressure builds until it feels

Like your mouth is going to explode.

Your mind morphs and stretches,

Pulsing blood flows like a river

Being released from a dam,

Until it ruptures in an eyeball.

This is hypomania, with all

The glitz and glitter,

With the impulses throbbing,

Screaming to be released,

Flexing at the heavy chains

Of shame, guilt and anxiety.

The conscience is like a cowboy,

Riding atop the raging bull,

Pulling at the reigns,

Wriggling across its back,

Struggling with all his might,

To reel in and wrestle control

Of the maddened beast.

Oh, the stress of it all.

To burn the wax of insanity

From the candle of truth,

To purify, to disentangle, to free.

But the answer, alas,

Is to become one with the beast,

To strive to hold on tightly,

Until its energy is spent;

Or, to spring off like a grasshopper,

Surviving the maelstrom

Until another day.

Poetry is Not the Giving Tree

Chillin’ in my chair,
Trying not to stare
Into the distance
As I feel my stance

Wobbly beneath me.
A busy day, costly
To my mind and body.
But brings home for thrifty

Purchases of necessities.
Do you blame me
For leaving early
Today? Every

Day, I give my energy
To my company,
Hell or high sea.
Sometimes I see

How it rearranges me.
I wonder if there could be
Some other job for me,
But it’s not likely.

So, even though
I don’t say no
To opportunity,
My situation tires me.

Could there be
Another way for me
To make money?
Poetry is not the Giving Tree

That I wish it could be.
Skeptically,
You look at me,
Saying, “But it could be!”

Oh, Poetry!
How you edify me!
But you don’t feed me.
Slinking slowly

Out of reality,
I have a fantasy
Of how it could be,
But, alas, I am not free

To write constantly.
I must work to see
My paycheck biweekly
Deposited, usually.

So you ask me,
“Don’t you want to be
All that you could be?”
It is enough for me

To pay my usury.
My creditors love me
For my money,
Not my poetry!

Sometimes I Freak, Part II

Sometimes I freak when I walk into a room because I know I will be in that room for the next 8 hours and be faced with tasks with impossible deadlines and impossible expectations for how those tasks are to be done. Yes, I’m talking about my job. I am an indexer and an administrative assistant. Well, I can handle the latter easier than I can handle the former sometimes. As an indexer, I create complex reference material for legal material that is published by my company. The only problem is that most of the time either the job comes to me already late or, if it is on time, it still must be done yesterday because we don’t have enough people in our indexing department to handle all the work that comes from two or three times as many editors and is proofread by twice as many proofreaders. Yeah, we indexers are the red-headed step-children of the Supplement Department. And as far as the administrative assistant duties, well those have to be kept to the minimum, despite my boss’s duties which are enough for three or four people, her being the Indexing Supervisor, Deputy Director of the Supplement Department, and serving practically full-time as a regular indexer, just to keep our inventory moving for those impossible deadlines. And let’s not forget the impossible expectations. No mistakes. This, despite jobs that come to us full of mistakes and in styles that vary almost as much as the thousands of customers we have. It’s fun stuff, really.

Sometimes I freak when I go to a party. “Why?” you ask. “Parties are fun!” Well, they are partly fun for me, but it is very inwardly forced. First of all, remember that I am an introvert. Second of all, did I mention that I am bipolar? Well, if I’m in a good mood and manic, it’s cool. I can move with the masses. But if I’m depressed, anxious, or in a mixed episode of manic-depression, meaning I’m depressed, excitable, anxious, sad with racing thoughts and intense energy—not a good recipe for party-going. And I really can’t control how I’m going to be. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like pretending to be happy when I’m not, which is exactly what people expect of you at parties. Otherwise, you get lots of questions like “Are you okay?” and “What’s wrong with you?” More fun stuff, I assure you.

Sometimes I freak when I visit family. And this goes for blood-relatives just as much or more than in-laws. Visiting family is really a mixed bag for me because I live pretty far away from my blood-relatives so I have to use annual leave, and either have to drive a long distance (from North Florida to South Florida) or fly on a plane (San Rafael, California for my aunt, uncle and grandmother or Rochester, New York for my brother and his family). So I’m taking a vacation to see people I want to see because they are my family, but who I don’t want to see because they are my family. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a cruise, just my wife and I? Or travel to the Grand Canyon or something by ourselves? The last three big vacations I took were all with family: San Rafael, Davie (for my dad) and Miami (for my mom), and then a while back there was the big trip to Disney World with my wife’s whole family. In between, I did go to New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival which was headed by Pearl Jam (I’m a big fan), but there was the fact that we stayed with my friend’s family and spent some time visiting other family members—always got to be some family in there. That was okay, of course, because my friend is like family to me, and her whole family is so gracious and welcoming that you feel like one of their family, but then again…they are family. There just seems to be no escaping it.

(To be continued…)