[CREATIVE NONFICTION] Tender Limbs
Another Thursday at the Psychiatrist’s Office, like how when I say anxiety you hear dissociation and post-traumatic stress spectrum and I hear hysteria or, more likely, borderline, hypomanic, too loud too fat too queer why not flatter, linear: a clean break from crazy to here, a broken yardstick my memory, my haunting, how I spat in the hallway before coming here, how I take notes on my phone so no I won’t set it down for the duration of our meeting, how my joke about my bad memory becomes pathological;
I don’t want to quit the nerve painkillers I take handfuls of each day, in keeping with my dosage, good at managing, bad at being managed, oppositional defiant disorder on blast, obsessive-compulsive intrusive thoughts welcome when the alternative was tuning in or dropping;
I hate poems about poems but everyone is doing that these days, so I should probably get involved, missing the days my photostream was a respite too, a first in fright, paralysis just a phone call away! the kind you’re still talking about days later over mimosa mix and rice crackers, spliffs and other stuff you smoke that I know by now I can’t tell my psychiatrist about;
Remember to be gentle, they say; gentleness is a spectrum of tender limbs, silvering clouds, actual harbingers of stuff to come and I can fill my guts with gem essences but I still dream in French, of endless houses and darkness, a sun-gone darkness where morning is just a tremor, a mass lighting of red candles, the tapered kind that glide up to the gilded ceiling, hung young with the look of fraught juxtapose thunking. Throughout, I am blissed on rose quartz, speckled floor, the endlessness of it all, how a vibration is just you swooping in for a sleepy kiss;
Remember: Geminis always made sense to me but I go for intensity, power femme, borderline, anxious. I can reset; this is something they need; I can stabilize stuff next level like I am excellent at holding a grudge, being and staying petty AF, the way I like to count wrongs and forget everything else;
A weekend is nothing; I take 5 weeks off to balance: sleep, yoga, pain pills, a train trip, massage, making medicine, checking my phone, letting a white kid from Staten Island press his fingers deep into the base of my skull which he calls occipital release, I call a break, a way to re-integrate human pieces into my staunch gay ways, how sex becomes a bore once my meds start working and I have a suspicion that this is intentional because bodies make us feel too much they shut me down on purpose because writing about sex was acceptable, embraced, I was sexy writing about sex but they couldn’t risk people loving me.
Jesse Rice-Evans is a queer Southern poet and rhetorician based in NYC, where she teaches at City College and the Cooper Union. Read her work in the collaborative zine sundress comma fangs, and online in Monstering, Public Pool, The Wanderer, and others. Follow her @riceevans
Jesse’s chapbook Soft Switch is available in the Damaged Goods Press bookstore.