“Are Your Emotions More or Less Intense?” By Ace Boggess

 

 

“Are Your Emotions More or Less Intense?”
                                    [rehab workbook]

I went to a psychic, & she told me I have an old soul,
says the Starbucks barista who resembles Cameron
Diaz, who’ll never be an old soul because she’s caught on film,

childlike. I want to reply with a trite line,
but what comes out is Thanks for the latte,
my thoughts too cluttered for quantum entanglements &

small talk. At eight, I was old, my eyes calculating
trajectories of escape, scanning my slightly-
feminine watch to figure out how long I had to wait.

My brain made other plans rather than commit
to now. Mind-weary, head-worn, terrified
back then. Emotions stop aging for an addict,

according to the texts, as long as drugs
maintain their grip: if true, I’m in my twenties—
anxious, desperate for attention, happy for strange words

from the woman who makes hot drinks, despite
how I answer: hesitant, uncertain, my hand reaching
for the steel grip of the door more than half a room away.

 

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

More By Ace Boggess:

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”

 

Image Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: “Marble Bust of a Youth” (140 AD)

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?” by Ace Boggess

 

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”
                           [rehab workbook]

Couldn’t afford the cost of words.
I snorted sentences, gambled paragraphs
on Texas Hold’em—no limit.
My wallet left me in stanzas of regret.
Someone would’ve placed a lien on my house.
Someone would’ve called the cops
if I hadn’t invited them first.

I wrote, wept, raved, & spent,
chewed bad checks like after-dinner mints.

Was it the drugs that broke me, or the prose?
We never know what value to place
on what we want. I wanted
to etch my unconscious thoughts on rocks.

Did I love the pills? I loved them: little songs
I could sing to me, pay-to-play,
the tab so great I’d be muzzled
if I wasted coins on anything but wishes.

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

Image Credit: Jacob Byerly “Portrait of a Man” (1855) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.