Standing in line,
Scripts prescribed,
I’m the youngest by half.

Present meets future
As I stand behind two men
Waiting for their scripts too,
Announcing their doses,
Thinking they’re being discrete,
But discretion goes with hearing
With new pains to replace it.

Stockers wheel
Plastic bins,
Inventory simplified, crate to aisle,
Conversation to keep boredom away,
Routine for rank and file
And I shudder, present and future merging,
At some point I’ll fall in line too,
Maybe after the antidepressant kicks in.

Maybe the poems will go blank then,
The scrawl and the pouring dammed,
Perhaps the scars on my heart won’t bleed so much then,
Moderation coursing pharmaceutically,
Neutered neurologically,
Maybe my sleep schedule will even out
As prescribed by the righteous brother,
The one who worked academically enough to work prestige there still,
Who got married, raised two kids well,
The opposite of me,
Some shadow of our father:

Three broken engagements,
Many more failed relationships,
Floundering actor too timid for headshots, for life’s necessities,
Wandering writer mind too scattered to finish anything,
Too bored, too scared,
Too underprepared –
Life an actor’s nightmare,
When was I supposed to learn these lines?
Going too long pretending I’m fine.

But something’s broken,
something’s not right,
So I fix my sight on new measures,
Straight ahead of me,
This prescription.

Taking steps but expecting the bridge to fall out from under me at any moment,
This gingerly attempted motion to set the demons from raging to dormant,
Quieting this abhorrent acquisition of demeaning self-dialogue,
To find some hidden strength they say I’ve had all along.

But that was magic,
That was manic,
That was fighting against the panic,
That was setting all the world a stage
But everyone else’s script had different pages,
Strange direction,
And the lights came up and I walked off, disheartened,
Questioning it was right to have departed that way,
But I can’t go back to have chose to stay.


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