Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Alphabetical Prose Adaptation
This is one of my first attempts at hybrid poetry: I wanted a clear structure (ABC) to run through the prose poem and I wanted it to read like a story (with a character who changes by the end) and it's an adaptation of a No Doubt song, by the same name.
"Admitting that you have a problem is the first step," says the twenty-something receptionist, a platinum-blonde 'Betty Ford in training.'
Bioconditional comes to mind when I pick up the block of wood with admissions engraved in it and ask her, "Is this a clever pun to let me in, or to get me to admit my guilt?"
"Call it what you will," she says, tilting her head the way my dealer does after answering his door to me at 3 in the morning.
Denial works if you get too good at doing a bad impersonation of yourself (or too good at being stubborn and selfish). Electric kool-aid powder, nose candy, rock star, snow, white powder, or yayo; whatever, in the end it's pure cocain; and you would shudder to admit addiction too.
Flashbacks of show-and-tell in kindergarten run through my mind; I feel like I'm showcasing the worst part of me all over again. Gnawing pencils was my first habit; I chose to display the six that lined my desk.
"How are you going to receive help if you don't admit what you're problem is?" The little Betty asks while tapping the blank page she found in the file I placed next to admissions.
I know how disgusting I look to her; yellowing (in every sense of the word) right in front of her chubby pink face. Just another gaunt junkie, hell maybe receptionists at Betty Ford clinics expect snot to drip down to every body's lip. Key detail: I let rust-colored snot from each nostril meet at the top of the crevice and then slide down to my lip; three times so far, right down the middle.
"Lady, you have to stop second-guessing yourself, you have to let us assess your situation with substance abuse," she says in the same tone my mother used when I wouldn't eat my dinner.
"My heart's losing the race, but I want to hold on to life," my voice scratches like it's been numb for days.
nauseous is the only real thing i feel i pretend love and hate i fake jealousy and gratitude i'm full-up with artificial sweeteners i've got cavities to show for it. on too many occasion i've been spun like a top to the point when speed bumps won't even try to stop me.
Pushing her buttons is the worst idea if I want to join her side, if I want to undo and re-do all of the mistakes I've made.
"Quit with the euphemisms, I know you're a coke head, I can see bloody tissues sticking out of your pockets," she snaps.
Red-spotted Kleenex sprout from all four pockets the same way feather boas fluff in starlet's arms at red carpet events.
Small things, the signs and such, it's stupid of me to think she wouldn't know what I am, but then again, I'm only sure that I'm unsure.
"Tell me this," I say, so close I can smell her Cover Girl make-up, "What chances do I really have of quitting?" Understand one aspect of drug addicts: it is unimaginable to each how something that makes them feel so good can cause such inadequacy.
"Various factors," she clears her throat, "play into the success rate of every patient." When she stamps sanction (in red) on my file, she looks at me as if she knows I"m thinking of bicondition again.
"X marks the spot--right, sign even though neither of us know if I'm getting approval or punishment," I say as I loop the ink into the curves of my name. Yet, I really don't care because at least I'll learn to feel something real again.
"Zen meditation and insight hours will help you most," she yells through the door that swings behind me as I walk down the white hallway to my empty room.