A Fistful of Sleeping Pills

The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it 
one gets successfully through many a bad night. — Nietzsche
Dear Muse:

America the Beautiful has just begun feeding itself another year 
of reality shows, and I’m sitting alone at my quiet desk with idle 

hands and a paralyzing conflict. I’m dressed in a button-down oxford 
shirt, pressed jeans and polished brogues: I could surreptitiously debauch  

every neglected housewife in my neighborhood. I should be thankful. 
But I was telling you about my trouble: I’ve had it easy, too easy—

but no, that’s not it—and who am I, slagging off the popular merits 
of chasing the lowest literary lucre (while joking that that flight is 

already over-booked and when the fad crashes, everyone on board
is going to be killed because their parachute colors are so last season)? 

Who am I, preferring to stay on the ground while shop-worn hookers are
parading up and down the downtown streets, hollering "Happy New Year!"

on infinite repeat, and yuppies fucked up on bad champagne 
are forgetting the words to “Auld Lang Syne?”—and why am I too 

drunk and dead inside to join in their spectacles of revelry and sex? 
But this is what happened: one of my type characters snapped 

about an hour ago. I didn't see it coming, never heard a thing. 
I was just typing, stuffing a page with something, I don’t know, 

religious, and I’m a skeptic, but it was insurance, you know,
just in case, and then it was gone, as I was typing the word “©hrist.” 

(Note the amusingly fitting facsimile.) So that's it, that’s my cross: 
It’s 2am on New Year's Night, my capital “c” has beheaded itself, 

and the earliest I can get it replaced is next Friday, for fuck's sake. 
And it’s not a simple matter of buying a new character; it’s buying a new 

type-wheel, with all the characters, because it’s only sold as one piece. 
But please, not the computer. I'll edit myself to death on a computer. 

So, what's your solution? Back to scribbling lines in a notebook? 
Back further to a bottle and quill? Perhaps a parchment left for you 

at the foot of Mt. Parnassus? I'm guessing you'd prefer something more
tragic but psychoanalysis is out, and the Dictionary of ©lassical Mythology 

suggested that I come to you for help—because it’s just not the same without 
typing, the sound of all that machinery at work. It's like a miniature factory

that tricks you into thinking you’re producing something. It’s an audible 
illusion. And pretty soon you get to where you finally need it, like pain killers 

or something even worse—like a ©areer—and you’re not punching keys 
anymore, you’re punching a clock, putting on a badge, a clip-on tie, 

a standard-issue greeting for semi-literate customers— 
“Welcome to Typewriting, Inc.!”—and later you're counting 

a fistful of sleeping pills, wondering if it’ll be enough to do the job, 
because a man draws nothing but a losing hand if he waits too long 

to ask—so I’m asking you now if this is the last poem I will 
ever have to write, assuming I forget about killing myself. 

I sure as hell hope so. What if my part's been discontinued, 
and all the clerk can do for me is smile and say, 
                                                                                                    “Happy New Year...
Happy New Year... Happy New Year...”
                                                                                   on infinite repeat?
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25 thoughts on “A Fistful of Sleeping Pills

  1. “that flight is already over-booked and when the fad crashes, everyone on board is going to be killed because their parachute colors are so last season” – THIS. YES. Loved this line, and also the one about “C” beheading itself. Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

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