After the Chocolate Bunny’s Gone, Even the Ears

Late afternoon on Easter Sunday: Downtown’s

as lonely as my living room now that

the celebrations have all ended–the processions

long over, the dishes washed from brunch,

the lilies already beginning their wilt–and I

am cycling around deserted streets under

granite-coloured skies threatening the storms

that come up suddenly in unstable spring;

I’m delaying the necessary return to the old

routine of Sunday-evening fears, drifting

through restless dreams into Monday’s panic.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

The Guilt That Follows the Craziness That the Anxiety Provokes

 

Mostly, he was even-keeled, stoic,

the anchor in the storm; a lover

told him once he showed a range

of emotion narrower than that

of a rock.

 

Mostly, he lived a quiet life, alone,

reading his murder mysteries,

playing a bit of piano, tending

to animals, taking long walks

in the park.

 

But a few times a year, usually

during seasonal changes,

the lonely nights unnerved him,

and he drank too much and binged

on online porn.

 

Mostly, it helped a bit, getting

“it” out of his system, as they say;

it was crazy times, but after a week

or so, it wound down to exhaustion,

followed by guilt.

 

Mostly, it’s a way, the counselor

tells him, of shutting down the brain

when the wild thoughts drag him

under in a fierce riptide

of meta-analysis.

 

And thus, it seems, he can’t be blamed

and yet the guilt—so much of it—remains.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again

Some nights the old fears come back,

rustling around the door as dusk

bleeds light from the sky and then

making houseguests of themselves,

hogging the pillows, drinking up the wine,

demanding too much attention, but here

they are, and like forgotten cousins

or friends from lives you thought had died,

they must be entertained, and so

you dance with them and listen to

their talk and take a certain comfort

in their familiar spirits, but still

you wish they’d go and leave you to

the loneliness they represent.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

Panic Attack

Panic swoops down and preys on him:

a fearsome, famished raptor

ripping apart his flesh

with razor-claws,

digging in through muscle

to devour the organ meats,

savoring his heart and brain.

This is the point at which

the nightmare is supposed to end,

but he’s been wide awake

from the beginning,

and the scenario’s stuck

in a replaying loop.

When he tries to tell others

how it works,

they always advise,

“It’s OK, calm down, it’s

only in your head.”

But that is where he lives.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

A View from Bed on a Saturday Morning in Early Spring

The green and white urge themselves together

at divergent angles in the corner,

the lines of demarcation fuzzy, blurred

by myopic eyes into abstraction,

as the head, its allergic ache

compounded by the stresses of the week,

too little sleep and too much Spanish wine,

tries to clear itself, meditate,

first on nothing, then on respiration,

then, inevitably, on the intruding to-do list–

grading and bills and cleaning and shopping and laundry,

oh, and making time for exercise–

trying to organize  itself for the day,

filing functions, tasks into mental drawers

half-shut, half-open, overflowing with bulging

recycled folders disordered and mislabeled,

like a basket of socks arranged by a cat.

Sunlight filters in through dust, highlights

piles of books and clothes, a trail of dirty

glasses and coffee cups. When head tries

not to think, it does, but when it tries

to concentrate on a single thought,

the green and white race together, collide.

 

 

Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper