Stephanie Brown
We were high on our dopamine and norephenedrine
Looking for the endorphin afterblast,
The serotonin afterglow.
Why was that?
The brain chemistry was slow,
So we revved up on coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, the sound of our own
And we fell into the groove of good listening-eye contact.
Adjudicating music with melancholy undertones.
We welcomed our respective hallucinations,
Mine, I described them, were sitting in the outer office where I
    worked, were ghosts.
Someone else, her room spun and she never slept.
Teacups flew around the ceiling—
—Like a ride at Disneyland— I reminded her, though she had never
    seen Disneyland.
That was what I had seen on the ceiling as a child,
So I knew teacups were nothing to sneer at.
She nodded sagely, anyway, as this was the nature of our
They were stupid conversations.
We made out and kissed people, rolled around on the grass, came
Alone in our rented apartments. For me that was full of fear, like this:
A feeling like someone is tapping me on the shoulder to wake me up.
My back to the door or about to fall asleep: that tap.
But I lived alone,
So I was just creating a spirit-companion.
It was very dark the evening I decided I would just let go, see how far
    into the end I could take myself.
The others, the ones I had talked to, were gone now.
We had scattered from the sacred place where we had found each
Now we were into our ministries.
So there I was, saying, take me
The night darkening Pleasant Valley Road,
The street I lived off of. I could see down it forever. So
I waited for dark crows, or dark death, whatever. . .
But I woke up the next day.
The veins inside my forehead pounded
The cramps inside my belly laid it on.
And that was it.
Oh sure, I was changed.
Oh sure, I had fulfilled my tasks.
Yes, I was given the gift to see things,
And yes, when I saw them, I was stupefied with fear and wonder.  
Found In Volume 27, No. 05
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Stephanie Brown
About the Author

Stephanie Brown is the author of Domestic Interior (University of Pittsburgh Press) and Allegory of the Supermarket (University of Georgia Press).  Her poems and essays have appeared in many recent anthologies.  She was awarded and NEA Fellowship in 2001.