C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Estrangement Effect; Hyperthymesia

By: Gordon Taylor


Estrangement Effect







Our world celebrates

action but my legs

are inert as neon

numb parallelogram

in front of filthy aquarium

in which captured clownfish

gasp near a melancholy

un-bubbling filter

and a slow-motion medusa

fake fuchsia anemone

barely waves

in weak tide


This is more than a bad day


furnace cracked

alarm shrieks

carbon monoxide

air is death

and an unasked question

keeps me from running

is this happening

I squint at glass

blurred from breath

unending denial

invisible smoke

this sadness


a cataract on morning







Hyperthymesia







Sunday night, washing


white oxford shirts


erasing flashbacks with parades


of not quite soothing


pop songs.



This time is different.


Starting gun detonating


in chest. A storm


wrung from cloud.


Wet threads pounding glass.


*


This time

was different

he had

a bottle

of Shiraz

for dinner

in morning

was confused

by toast

diabetic denial

Highway 62

hands shaking

as he turned

prehistoric

red Buick

suddenly

air bags

the cabin

filled

with smoke

I opened

the door

fell into

fireweed

called

ambulance


*


Doctor celluloid glasses

doctor digital Freud

you decided

the only way


I could be saved

was to tear me apart

with post trauma ideas

remake me


with a new drug

without mentioning birch

tree house landscapes

and the man


that took my pencils

followed me home

smashed the car

untied my shoes


threw me onto a pile

of my own sweaters

tumor of years

I couldn’t fully recall


veneered with silver

self-deprecating jokes

stolen from late

night talk shows


some boat

on the lake at the cottage

a stolen boat

that was a soup pot


pushed from the dock

when I was five

just to see

what might happen


*


At the Montreal Children’s Hospital

when I was five

the endocrinologist said

I might not reach normal height

we walked


between two buildings

through an echoing beige metal tunnel

for x-rays and blood tests

tissue samples the nurse threatened

to do twice if I didn’t shut up


*


Shut off

rain of lists


striping window

in case


of emergency

door unlocked


for paramedics

note with prescriptions


Doctor Freud’s

phone number


*


naked

falling

yet again

into fireweed

this time

is different

here

I go

drenched

infinities

of trying

to forget

you can’t trust

a man

I don’t even

trust

myself

breathing

seems

unrepeatable

a facsimile

of life

beginning

ending

now

black

holes

devour

light

as

does

panic

cascading

brass

alphabets

red velvet

pillows packed

with river

stones

shower

of fake

atomic bombs

exploding

accelerated

ticker tape

heart




Gordon Taylor (he/him) is a queer poet who walks an ever-swaying wire of technology, health care and poetry. His poems have appeared in Tickle Ace (now Defunct), Prairie Fire, Plenitude, The Bridport Arts Prize Anthology and is forthcoming in Months to Years and Five South.


Artist statement for "Estrangement Effect" & "Hyperthymesia":


Both poems are exploring related states of mind - the inertia of depression and panic. In Estrangement Effect, I was exploring depression and how it can paralyze us into denial and inaction, even when we long to move. This is posed against an actual scene of a carbon monoxide detector sounding in the speaker's home. In Hyperthymesia, the speaker is similarly frozen, but stuck in a loop of flashbacks of traumatic memories, each leading to the other in an increasingly breathless panic.