20 Nov

The leaden sky steps on my chest

Pressing inwards/and innards.

I can barely breathe.


I look out  the plate glass window

At the university–for a hook,

Something to hold onto.


The West Bank stretches out before me,

But I cannot go outside.

The door is locked


And I am trapped inside

With a group of alcoholics

And Nurse Ratched.*


I sit on the couch to catch my breath.

I cannot swallow–my throat constricts.

“Help me!” I gasp.


“Do your deep breathing,” she says.

“This isn’t yoga class.”

“I’m dying,” I think.


She stands before me with a cup of water.

I take it and choke,

Spitting water before me.

*character from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

5 Responses to “Anxiety”

  1. DH November 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    I like everything about this poem–the imagery, the argument, the structure–except for the characters. I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for Nurse Ratched who is only trying to help, but obviously not showing enough oneness with the speaker. Hopefully most nurses get beyond the “evil nurse” stereotype. I just watched again on HBO and one of the plot lines involves a mistaken admission into an institution where an evil nurse provides the discipline. Interesting that this character is still alive and well at the movies several decades later.

  2. DH November 26, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Cloud Atlas is out on DVD. It was a 2012 release starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. It was kind of a science fiction novel with a bunch of different but interconnected stories running together. I thought it was well done. I just watched a movie from 2012 called The Deep Blue Sea, a remake of a 1955 film and play with Rachel Weisz. She got a Best Actress award from the NY Film Critics Circle. Anyway, she is absolutely terrific and tragic. It’s quite a romantic film; I think you would like it. Rosy read the poem and wanted to know if the yoga reference was about me!

    • I’ll definitely have to look into those movies. Mom and I stayed up for three hours watching “Giant” the other night. The first half is better than the second. It’s interesting for several reasons. Both Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor do a good job acting. It’s important because they became friends and then she became involved in AIDS charity work partly because of him. And then there’s James Dean whose approach to acting was entirely different, but somehow all the acting worked together.

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