I was going to read this at a poetry reading, posting it here instead:

Sit down at

Taco-bell and

Feel the ecstasy slip from my

Overall pocket

The one in my brain I mean

And watch my two friends drink soda

And reminisce about the day.

Earlier R and I had been

Sitting on bleachers talking

About starting a band.

I remember it seemed like

This great revelation:

I can start a band!

I can make music!


It felt like a nightmare

To go from that bliss of

Thinking about music

And watching my mind explode

From the drugs

To a world of

Realizing I’m actively

Suppressing certain thoughts

And they’re about to blow up my mind.


I think I was 18 when it happened,

When I was sitting in this taco bell with my friends

And I watched this thing float up

Through my heart

This vivid

Thing of all of the negative, paranoid

Schitzoid worries…


The crazy worries like,

Do I have a brain tumor?

Can I feel it growing inside of my head?

Did spice give me brain damage?


I watched them scream forth,

These suppressions,

No longer a place to hide…

The link was clicked and it was buffering…


And I went home in the spring weather

The warm spring weather and I watched

Russell go his separate way and I felt my

Feet walking back to Xavier

And I thought to myself

My life is ruined.


Now this was a very innocent

Thought for you see

My mind was an extremely delicate

Place at this time.

I’m not sure what it is about youth but it

Tricks us into thinking that our story

Is the end of it and it is only through

Pain that the grooves of our life become

Deeper, richer and…

I digress.


I felt my feet pulling me back to Xavier and

I awoke to this feeling like

My thoughts were vapid…too vapid

Like I’d destroyed my mind,

And this happens to everyone after drug use

But I took it very personally for some reason,

I completely panicked.


I paced my dorm room feeling

This wretched emptiness in my mind

Like the drugs had destroyed it,

Like some THING was breaking me apart and-


I stood at my dorm room window and felt

This scepter of pain pierce my forehead and

I screamed an unknown scream

A scream that only exists on the sketchiest, new-agey-est

Message boards,

A scream that the internet replies with “Kundalini Syndrome”

In response but in actuality

It was an even deeper scream

One forged during all of those quiet walks home

The little spices of my consciousness that had been quietly

Blooming throughout childhood.


So I screamed an unknown scream and my head

Ached like crazy.

So drugs destroyed my mind and simultaneously

Gave me horrible migraines.


I remember drinking a chai and going to Rosa Josie’s

Lecture in the art building and feeling my forehead

Breaking open and boy

Acting out “The Tempest” while your consciousness is

Disintegrating does not work.


Because a normal person would have gone to the doctor,

Or a shrink.

But I took it all very personally,

It was all twisted up in my social anxiety and my sorrow…


And I remember H,

My ex-girlfriend,

I remember having no brain to speak of and bobbing in

Elevators with her and seeing her large brown eyes

Stare at me and hearing her exclaim,

Are you okay?

And me replying,

Yeah, I’m fine.


And going to sleep with her this one night,

And having an extremely vivid dream of my soul being lifted off of the ground and

Seeing two right-side up crosses

Burn into my eyelids and hearing

A sound like Satan laughing.


That dream didn’t feel like a dream,

It felt like real life and

While that awful Satanic laughing sound resounded through

The bedroom this grey fog filled my vision and I

Awoke back in my bed, but it felt like

The life reset-button had more or

Less been pressed because

God had actually just made a mistake,

Whoops let’s pretend it was just a dream…


Fortunately it was Spring,

During this time so

There was beauty to everything…


And I had some beautiful visions of limitless love

Like just

As if love is the landscape of life…

You know, it’s all around us…

I stared at a spring flower and saw it light up so clearly

The nectar of this rich, fulfilling, pure


That life is actually made out of.


I walked around the Seattle University campus feeling this way,

For like thirty minutes…


I wasn’t on any drugs, it was a pure

Mystical experience and I have yet to re-experience

That kind of everywhere-love…


Just for the sake of re-grounding this poetry

All of this happened during the spring of my freshman year.


That Summer,

I went back to my hometown and read some stupid books called

“The Power of Now” and “Be Here Now”

Totally stupid books, yet life-changing…

And that summer was the most beautiful of my life.


I walked through the forest near my home

And listened to an audiobook by Tara Brach

About encapsulating mental problems in acceptance and I

Walked along feeling every limb sparkle with

Strange awareness…


And that same night I fell into a sorrow

Realizing that nothing seemed to last

There was no wisdom to speak of

I had no idea what the fuck was

Going on.


When I remember that summer it is like a sheen of white light

That for whatever reason is more golden and magical than

Anything else in my mind…


I remember sitting there my Sophomore year of college,

After this magical summer,

And I started making music and

My friend and I lived together in a dorm room,

I had two pet rats and I took one of them

To the hospital in Fremont because it had a tumor.


I’m amazed where my body carried me that year since I had no brain

To speak of.


I remember talking to my roommate while he sat on his bed and I wanted

To connect so badly,

But I just felt the tension between us

Tighten all year long and…

I watched him become happy for a little while,

He dated a girl who

Did study abroad in Mexico right as

Winter started….


I went to a ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat and

Felt that there was this interesting thing about

The way objects are placed in space,

They almost tickle your brain stem

When they move past you.


And at I looked at the stars and saw black patches in my

Vision and worried that my vision was going.


That one retreat gave me a strange resilience

When you sit still for 100 hours over the course of a week

I think it will sound arrogant but I don’t mean for it to

Everyone should do it

It’s harder than hiking the Grand Canyon

And I’ve hiked that thing…

That silly canyon…


It automatically sounds bad

I digress.


So fast-forward to Henry

I remember you

When we would

Grab drinks after class.


There was a feeling to you

That intoxicated my sense of



It felt like spiritual teachings

Could reside in people instead of

Only existing in institutions…


You told me that you love angst…


And when you visited last summer,

I found that you had moved onto other things…


Your child was yet unborn

And your girlfriend was in Germany

And you told me that you loved it even though

It was still in the womb.


It is strange how

A person can create something that outlasts them in those

Who happen to have open hearts at the time.


I still emulate the you from several years ago,

And I love the you who exists now

Although he’s moved onto

Bigger projects.


And he can’t contain his whole life philosophy

In a drunken conversation anymore.


This whole poem started out as an autobiography but

I don’t want for it to become that.


Now that the past has taken place I can give

All of my problems space and the

Contradictory nature of what I was

Going through is clearer to me.


I’ve also been to three of those ten day meditation retreats.


Life is starting to resemble a road full of

Blackened pits and green mountains,

And treasures along the side.

Although the lows are very low,

The highs are so high that it is just worth it.


And my creative impulses are my

Greatest ally in my efforts to

Untangle the three-dimensional problems

That will never stop haunting me.

One thought on “I was going to read this at a poetry reading, posting it here instead:

  1. P,
    It’s really nice to see stuff from you up here again. This piece felt like just slipping back into a conversation i’ve had with you, or perhaps anyone has ever had with you. Familiar and comfortable in the strangeness of being.
    I miss you, friend.


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