4. after "Some Days" and "Vade Mecum," both by Billy Collins:
Some nights I feel my body, small as it is, grow large,
seams if I have them bursting,
I’m fat all over, girl meets balloon,
and know when the string breaks, I’ll float away.
Next minute I’m shrinking to nothing,
my head but a pinhead,
my feet all but gone,
shriekingly fearsome, my screams as I die.
But on bad nights, I’m a speck
on a pinwheel spiral,
falling into the heart of a nautilus shell
where my eardrums combust into grains of sand.
I know what they are
if things that are not can be filed and named.
If you’ve lived one, you’ve felt it
taking your brain and strangling it
’til humor turns to horror,
or charging lions and writhing snakes
appear as tantalizing succubi on a king-sized bed.
I want the scotch to be flowing
and the reefer to be buddingly potent
when my friends tell me I'm gaga
and ship me down the muddy river of sighs.