– Out of the Sinkhole –
Like an August Floridian thunderstorm,
I can see the clouds turn darker
than the circles beneath my eyes;
I can hear the clouds collide louder
than the ringing in my ears;
I can feel the wind begin to flap
my sweat stained clothes;
and yet, when raindrops the size of my dilated pupils
fall with fury as boomers quake the ground beneath my feet,
I’m always caught
I even do what I’ve been taught:
I tense every muscle, clench my teeth, squeeze my eyes shut,
let the warmth of the rain flow down my soul.
But my eyes don’t relax like I’ve been told they would,
my teeth don’t release like I’ve been told they would,
my muscles don’t melt like I’ve been told they would.
Instead, the soil saturates and the supporting pressure
sinks and sends me sliding beneath the surface.
Water floods the sinkhole, lightning strikes surround,
water moccasins and gators swim smiling around me,
I am the weakest motherfucker dying.
And that’s what I’ve learned about depression:
I go to counseling, I deep breath, I exercise, I love,
I write, I read, I visualize, I practice, I give, I thank,
I take 40 mgs in the morning, I take 50 mgs at night.
But I’ve also banged my head against a freezer door
until black spots dotted my vision. I’ve raced my car
to 100 m.p.h. on a lonely road at 3 in the morning
with the intent of ramming that shit into the giant trunk
of an Oregon White Oak. I’ve told a coach I need to quit my
scholarship because this depression makes me a bad
teammate. I’ve left my poetry slam team the night before
competition for the same reason. I’ve taken so many Ativan
at once I slurred through a set list, stumbled off stage and startled
awake with no recollection of driving to an ex-girlfriend’s
place. I’ve stayed in bed for the majority of a three-year cycle
and let myself disappear from all the spaces I claim to love
with a note ready that says I don’t understand it, but it’s all my fault.
See, that August Floridian thunderstorm is always in the forecast,
and I’ll always be unprepared,
and I’ll always slide into another sinkhole.
But I’ve also learned about depression:
When I’m the weakest motherfucker dying,
the lightning will miss me, the rain’s fury will subside,
the wind will slow, the clouds will separate,
the water moccasins and gators will not give a fuck
about biting me because they’re just trying to survive too;
and when somehow I crawl out of the sinkhole,
I will be the strongest motherfucker alive.
And I’ll see all the other strongest motherfuckers alive
somehow crawling out of their sinkholes too. And we
will understand that those who didn’t make it out
of their sinkholes are strongest motherfuckers too.
And we will look at that forecast, and we will be caught
And we will slide into our sinkholes,
and we will do whatever we can to be
the strongest motherfuckers alive
Ty.Brack is a poet, Hip hop artist, teacher, and youth organizer from Tigard, OR. His poetry has been published in Northwest Passage and will be featured in WritersResist and Eve Poetry Magazine, and his music is available on all major digital streaming platforms. Additionally, he can be seen competing and performing in poetry slams in Portland. Believing that poetry and the spoken word is vital for social and emotional growth, Ty.Brack also organizes youth poetry jams in his community, providing young poets the opportunity to perform, workshop, and network.