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“My mind’s not right”
—The National

I spent all afternoon on the used housewares website,
pursuing the near-gluttonous inventory of coffee mugs
adorned with the names, some floralized, some in a kind
of racecar-stencil-print, of national parks & cities way out west.
Look, at any given time, there is at least a pound of shit
in my body, & I’m a sucker for any myth that offers
its solace in a beam of light stretching across the infinite
plains of some kind of heartland that could be Kansas
or France’s Plain of Flanders or the sheep-frolicked
green hills of Ireland. I guess what I’m saying is that I
find it hard to belong in this world & so resort, quite simply,
to appreciating the aesthetic consumption of my coffee
each morning, before I wander like a timid toad out
into the world, hopping at every small breach of kindness
& showering thanks on all I should not have to be thankful for:
the diesel truck taking wide its turn so I might not be turned
into someone whose obituary reads, with just the slightest tact:
he died doing what he loved, waiting to cross the street
with two feet already in the street
. I can’t decide if it’s a joy
to be alive, to dress for the weather I want & do not yet have,
or make up names for future children who may or may not
come to love me with the same unfiltered passion I melt all over
my old & complicated father. I added fourteen mugs to my cart
& have yet to purchase a single one. Who could have foretold
ages ago, that, on this fateful day, it would take someone the act
of conspicuous non-consumption to get their mind right? Well,
my mind’s not right. That’s a song lyric. Do you know it? Well,
in the song, the singer repeats the phrase over & over again
until it blurs into one slurry prayer. Mymindsnotrightmyminds
. It’s night now, & each night I live in fear that my heart
will unexpectedly explode with a complete, devastating silence
or that a pigeon will wander into my apartment through the hole
my window makes & ask me, in a voice that would make sense
in hindsight but terrify the godawful living shit out of me in the moment,
for a cigarette after a long day spent eating the spoiled bread
of a degenerate Upper East Sider who thought they were doing
a good thing while walking their two massive Saint Bernards,
not knowing that a bird overstuffed with bread might come
to suffer from a condition called Angel Wing, which, paradox-
ically, means that bird will never fly again, which, if I’m
being honest, says more either about the legitimacy of angels
or the inconsolate evil of those who divine the names of avian ailments.
& so I live with that fear, like so many of you. & so tonight,
before I sleep the long sleep of the confused & perpetually
grateful, I will go back into that shopping cart & pull
the metaphorical trigger on a mug that embodies to me the most
absurd fantasy of life I’ll never lead: that I own a thousand
horses who come to me from miles away when I play a heavy
metal song at the dawn of each day, who thrash their lovely
manes & press their bodies against mine & lift me up in unison,
the sun a heavy sheet of unbuilt light burning up the sky,
for I am nothing without this world, & I need a mug
inscribed entirely around with Dolly Parton’s face & the words
she once sang: when I get where I’m going there’ll be only happy tears,

because there’s so much we don’t need
in this world & to be able to say you need something,
to be able to say anything, to be able to say love, or to love
at all whatever you are able to say it means to be alive,
to walk between the shadows holding a joke inside
your head, to laugh quiet to yourself when no one
knows the punch line, when you’ve forgotten yourself
what it means, when love is where you are & where you
are headed, when your mind’s not right, when it stays
not right, when you, hearing this, say what could this
possibly mean
& you leave your seat & walk out into the night,
where it means & doesn’t mean, where you need something,
& you find it, & it feels like something, so you hold it.