Tangled Limbs

Tangled limbs.

The pain is not always a knife,
not quick and slicing and bleeding before you know it.
Sometimes it’s a bracing and tightening and a
before-impact hurt.
A knowing it, seeing it,
feeling the molecules slide in slow-motion hurt.
One that gathers, in the hollow between your lungs
and drills through to your back.
It gestures. It promises.
It lets you know what the world will be tomorrow.

Your shoulders ache.
An up-all-night,
sixteen hour drive,
flu-is-coming-on ache.
It’s twisted braches of knotted
limbs and mossy fibers,
entangled to the limits
of organic,
needing mechanical intervention
to ever separate them.

Your eyes blur.
A staring-into-the-sun,
reading-instructions
twist and gnarl fuzzing.

Your head hurts.
A day-after-whiskey throb.
But more than that.
That’s just the grey matter.
Tired. So tired.
Needing-to-lie-down-in-the-aisle
exhausted.
When the phone is too far
to call for pizza
and the other end of the room
is the width of a castle moat.

Your body feels enormous,
heavy, dragging and tied to the dirt.
Or it feels empty,
floating and untethered
and prone to escape.

But before you can move,
this dark monster grabs and digs in,
claws below the surface,
sinewy tentacles above.

And that fucker will not let you go.

Fight, it’s worse.

Let go, it’s worse.

Tangled.

But that’s only the physical.

The other side,
the harder to touch or explain side,
can be more hobbling than
any bone or viscera dysfunction.

Most of us live life uncertain.
Not quite knowing
what to do or
what is best.

But in this night, you know.
Complete and absolute.
Without hesitation.
Without equivocation.
You know what you are worth.
Never is it more clear.
It’s not a void or a vacancy.
The problem is not
the absence of being.
The opposite.
It’s the absolute crushing weight
of space. Without worth.
Of taking up so many cubic inches
of weight and mass and air.
Because the heft of that debt
is more suffocating
than a room drowning in water.

They can’t see
and they can’t believe
and they don’t understand.

You can’t explain exsanguination
without a cut,
amputation with whole limbs.
or birth without conception.

And you can’t point to
what is wrong
when they see
there’s nothing wrong.

You’re the one inside.

Alone. Screaming. Not heard.

They are outside. Screaming. Not heard.

Silent. Eviscerating noise. Corporal crumbling. Soul sucking.

And that’s what depression feels like.

Or love.

See that? You try. You try to laugh.

Maybe shingles, or mono or slight GERD.

That’s funny.

Sometimes strep throat. Or a general staph.

Possibly herpes simplex. Not the bad kind.

Usually PMS.

Definitely IBS.

See that? Cute.

Maybe vertigo or lumbago,
depending on your immune system
and your semicircular canals.

On the rare occasion, scurvy.

But mostly depression.

You could laugh.

Because it’s ridiculous.

But you can’t.

But it’s not funny.

It’s real.

Real as scurvy and not an orange in sight.

Real as the forest. Tough as the trees.

Real.

Hard.

And you

are the one alone and

tangled.

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