On the outside, you see: showered, dressed, freshly brushed teeth.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been stumbling through the past couple of years of grad school in the unpredictable and impervious current of depression. I have managed my way through. I’ve stood upright at least once every day. I take my medication with food. I reach out to friends and family sometimes. sometimes. I see my therapist. On the days I want to hide away and bury my head in my cat’s soft, warm tummy, I push myself to walk the 20 feet to the mailbox across the driveway. Other days I run my 3.2 mile route to Meridian and bounce back on the Interurban Trail. Sometimes I force smiles at passersby. Sometimes the smiles are spontaneous. Surprises. they’re real. Felt.

This dichotomous existence of depressed and ‘un-depressed.’ It’s exhaustive. It’s distracting. Its splindle-y fingers like to play with my hair. and tie knots in my clothes. Some days I stick my tongue at depression. And then. again. I find myself at the edge of its undertow. Grabbing my tongue from choking my throat. Clenching my neck from tearing away. In my head, my mush-of-a-brain swirls and squishes out thoughts. black sticky thoughts that barely convince me that I’m not whole and I can’t be. that I’m broken and bruise easily. that I’m not worth the wait and it’s easier to cut loose. that I’m not meant for this world. and it’s not meant for me. it’s not my oyster. it’s not my playground. it’s not my anything.

And in my head, where these wicked mumblings meander through mush. I tap it on the shoulder. scream in its ear. and I say what I always say, “Shut the fuck up!Shut the fuck up!Shut the fuck up!” “You’re not winning.” We’ve had this conversation before.

Persipacious.

Coaster poetry for Christi, who provided the inspirational word:

Persipacious.

You say blue, I say gray. You see the sun, I see turbulence, vitriol, and mangled decay. You always wanted to live then. French Revolution. In your sodded petticoat and shaved matted hair, swept down cobblestone streets in this week’s ferment. Will you regret that you pushed me out the window? or do you just like the sound of “defenestration”, the way it rolls off your forked tongue? You use to scrub your eyeballs clean.

Sublime.

Coaster poetry for Rachel, who provided the inspirational word:

Sublime.

wait. yell my name in to the ceiling. I’ll do it too, with yours. but you have to look up. up up up up. they watch us through the rafters and let them go. the sounds. if. we push just perfectly. Do you hear them laugh when we pretend? Winks are echoed through eyelashes. eyelashes dance upon cheeks like trees on breezes. You are my favorite tree. I don’t give words to the truths I carry. They’re just for us. just for us and scream when I scream.

Homeopropriostasis

Coaster poem for Natasha Livesly, who provided the inspirational (and homegrown!) word:

Homeopropriostasis.

place the stone. you place the stone. it balances. the way the tufts do to the core before you blow. they dance as newborns before they walk. they dance to words they don’t yet know. to be words or other things. a garbage truck. an ice cream truck. they smile anyway. pick your nose like you pick flowers. with care and calm. craft your moments. share your wishes. crawl to allow mute to speak. Frankenstein your life. freezer pop your lips. look at all this bliss. it’s an old country buffet. cake bits mixed in with everything. everything. go on. pick up a spoon.