Disturbance

On unstable days, the atmosphere

bears down, humid and oppressive, pressing

tightly in, constricting breath and movement,

scrambling thoughts, intensifying moods

gloomy and depressing, building up

tensions and minor irritations until

anxiety renders me dysfunctional,

and I can neither focus on a task,

nor sit still with my constant jitters.

It happens often enough that it can’t be

mere coincidence, and yet I don’t

know what to call effect and cause, whether

emotions take a barometric turn,

or the same gods’ grip shakes and strangles both.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

A Sad Display

The icicle lights still hanging from the eaves

of the house across the street in the middle

of May, the dumpsters still at the curb down

the block three days after garbage collection,

the paving stones for a terrace still in piles

two doors down make it clear enough I’m

not the only one who’s overwhelmed and

going down, but sometimes I still feel like

I’m in this game alone, afraid to tell friends

or admit to myself that I’m hung over and sad

on a beautiful spring day, not for the first

time, and probably should go to rehab

or something, except that doesn’t sound

like it would be much fun. And anyway,

maybe it’s not the disease, but only the

symptom of something, loneliness maybe,

the deep and desperate kind that you,

well, I, feel, sometimes even when I’m with

a friend, but mainly late at night when

I can’t sleep or on a Sunday afternoon

when the fear and dread sneak in.

But now, the guilt and self-deprecation

that make me pour another glass of wine

and crawl back into bed to hide

from reality under the covers and promise

myself that I’ll reform, though it’s unlikely.

Out the window, the wind ruffles the green

weeds under the clear blue sky and reminds

me that life renews, with me or without,

and somehow, oddly, that brings comfort.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper