Poems on themes of queerness, mental health, and STI stigmas. Structured around an excerpt of the DSM-I (from 1952), it fractures and reframes around these concepts throughout the four sections. A couple titles get revisited exactly across the book: Psychotherapy, On Prep or on Prayer; while Diagnosis progresses from Pre to Post. Madness felt more intense than I was expecting, even though it’s candidly so from the start. I had to let it sit for a while, but when I dug back in complexity was all the richer.
a doctor names the chemical imbalance in my brain
& suddenly there’s an infant wailing up there.
i swear the cradle appeared concomitant
with the diagnosis, a migraine-white mobile wail.
i say moderation is a red swamp i’m always bicycling
toward, it recedes the more i believe in it. you say
it’s a simple swallowing & ﬂood, the pram an ark
aﬂoat in the choking basement. angels slum
in the aggregate gray matter as i wait for the sitter
to ﬁnish smothering the child. when it’s quiet
i name all the wet little rooms in my head after
dead poets. i name the burst water pipes in the walls.
i name the electricity. this is just to say, i have eaten
all the pills i’ve been prescribed & am nothing
now. forgive me.