"Churning, Burning, Brain (Don’t) Matter" by Brenna Gradus

f you tend to find your stomach at the tip of your throat

at the thought of the two zuzim your father spent on that one little goat

and you realize you’ve been reading the Bible backwards and inside out

when you wake up from your daymare and the walls are whited-out

and the man at your skull has been pleading and knocking

since the clock in your soul started tock tick and tocking

and every passing moment you wanted to let him in

but he’s only muffled when your three sheets are to the wind

but you don’t know the code and you can’t find the key

so you cry, run, and pray at the sound of the plea

and out to the wind you put three more sheets

but you’re nothing but meat, the world’s got you beat

and all your friends are out for the kill

in new formal dresses with new dollar bills.

 

You notice a tumor on your house-hold pet

but you don’t got the money to pay for the vet

and you want to go sit with a lover by a lake

but the lake’s run dry and there’s no one to take

and the minute it takes to heat up your meal

is a minute too long, it’s lost its appeal.

 

A train passes by and you’re just about to hop it

when your head kicks your heart and tells him to stop it,

so you step on something and you start to puff on it,

and whatever it is, you start to feel tough on it

since you’re sick of being weakest, you’re sick of being meekest

and anything feels better than feeling your bleakest.

 

If creativity lay dying and you know you’re to blame,

so your soul gets to itching with the no-named shame,

and you need just to drive off a tank of gas dry,

but half a tank later your engine dies,

next the sun pops up and you feel like its prey,

it wasn’t in your plan, to see another day.

 

Then let the sun warm your skin and let it blind you,

find the significance in your insignificance

and once you’ve lived to death leave laughing.

Brenna Gradus

Originally appeared in the 2010-2011 edition of Outside In.