You have a lot on your mind

he borg queen, the houseboys, the internet lovers cybering away till their wrists are sore and contact lenses brittle as their eyes. each time you phone me you sigh and admit you’re a tart again. but you deserve it, after all, your career can’t pull him out west on a kitestring. but his long sheaves of chest hair. you miss them, used to harvest, grind, mix, knead, and bake them. would watch impatiently for a new crop. you meet your lovers

in vampire rooms, to make sure they can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality, and wear black eyeliner, and possibly nailpolish. do you feel it, somedays, the feeling you might be starting to become spontaneous? forgetting the rules. never call first. never leave your pills in plain view. never buy a whole watermelon for yourself. never tell your mother.

let’s play a game. let’s learn something new. for instance. what would you do with a blackbelt in karate? I tell you. I’d let myself go, wear thick glasses, dress in pink sweat pants and slouch socks from 1985. and we’d fool them all, wouldn’t we.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “You have a lot on your mind”?

A friend of mine was having a lot of relationship troubles! She would kill me if I said any more. She really got a kick out of the poem at the time I wrote it, I remember.

What poetic techniques did you use in “You have a lot on your mind”?

References to pop culture are important in this poem. It is also a “prose poem”—written in paragraphs rather than in lines.

This poem “You have a lot on your mind” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 169 (Summer 2001): 84.

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