This morning
how many of you wished your covers
were covered with super glue
and they plastered you
to your yellowing mattress
so you wouldn’t have to experience
the dread of getting out of bed
or the tiresome routine
of brushing your teeth
rinse repeat rinse repeat
how many of you wish your feet
would never again have to greet
carpet sidewalk tile
in tight leather shoes that bruise
but who is to blame
them or you?

How many of you measure your life
in coffee cups
more sugar fake sugar
caramel mocha whipped cream
the caffeinated steam
streaming into your sluggish brain
as you lumber around
like modern Frankenstein
your languid limbs revived just enough
to drag a briefcase through bustling crowds
nameless face after face
how many sips does it take
to get to the center of the question:
Am I alive?

Do you feel like a machine
inside of a machine?
like a cog bogged down
by the commands of a man
behind a green screen?
a stranger
T minus one
9 to 5
to meltdown

You think, When I get home,
if I can’t sink into my sofa
and caress the cold neck of a Corona
while my eyes sway to the numbing motion
of hundreds of picturestrapped inside
of one rectangular prism moving too quickly
for me to truly see any of them,
will I be okay?

Today, did you answer someone’s
How are you?
with a more excited, How are you?!
because you were too afraid to say
that lately everything seems gray
and you can no longer stare
through the dismal haze
that has become your life

Your eyes rifely
blink out H-E-L-P in Morse code
your thoughts erode in a cubicle
eight by eight feet
week by dull week
you feel the white walls inch closer
as you clutch a coffee cup in one hand
a bible-thick stack of papers in the other
holy testaments to your lament for life

a coffee cup in one hand
calculator in the other
one + one = Am I alive?

coffee cup in one hand
coffee cup in the other

coffee cup in one hand
lethal question in the other: Am I alive?

I want you to think of how close
the truth has come to spitting in your face
I want you to pace the corridors
of your own brain, step over your
empty achievements
dodge the whizzing paper airplanes
made out of the pages of the book
“How to Succeed without Trying
but While Dying on the Inside”

I want you to wade through
pools of unfulfilled dreams
piles of fond memories
rotting under piles of meager pay stubs
uncapped prescription bottles
tear-soaked water bills
receipts, divorce papers
and unfinished suicide notes
and when you feel yourself breaking
keep going

Follow the sound of baskets of laughter
Overturning mouth corners
stretching towards ears
a heart speaking in colors
that were once familiar
but are now too bright
for your tired eyes to see

When you reach a door
Stop, knock, it will open
and you will see yourself
as a child, soft and mild
a glow slowly growing
in each cornea

Then sit yourself
on your lap and ask:
What do you want to be
when you get older?

you will say

I want you to hold on to that word
and walk away