local_library Anxiety Attack

by Ted Burke

Published in Issue No. 224 ~ January, 2016

It serves you right

to love me for


the rest of your life

as a woman who


suffers only from too much good taste

and a great sense of humor.


Your daughter thinks I am funny

with nose and glasses as comic


as cartoons that are the flights of

talking birds shaped like phones and seltzer bottles.


Your ex husband thinks

I am a smart guy and his wife wishes


that she and I were on a train in a movie

in another country speaking a language of


love in the luggage car with syllables and

glottal clicks that are brutal even for our alphabet.


Everyone likes the cut of my jib

except me and the wind in my sails,


Ill winds blow around

the inseam of my trousers,


Internet browsers cannot find

pages where my name was posted,


I am checking the lampshades,

looking for a camera,


tapping the walls of the houses and hotels

to make sure that it is more than a paper Mache set,


nights are swimming lessons across the sheets

and movies of the mind


that has both of us on stage somewhere

with scripts in hand


reciting the compressed poetry

of the latest laureate sensation


who has done everything with

their verse except take you ought of this world,


I mean, I think I rocked your side

of the planet just a little,


you thrashed through mine

and left me yowling


amid turned earth

and pulverized brick


for a moon that never sets

or soothes the habits of my thinking,


I dream too much about falling down

on a job that is better than minimum wage,


your daughter shows me her poems, kisses me on

the cheek, says she loves me,


I am destroyed, every mask is cracked,

it is as simple as being in the wrong place


when an assassin decides that, it is time

to go to work,


You tell me you love and

settle in for the night,


all your work is finished, every detail is written out and

entered on every line on all the forms the government office sent you,


I turn pages of a magazine, half lines of things I think of writing

down turning like pinwheels,


the machinery never goes off,


I say that I will prepare the coffee for the morning

and wonder who I am

to be in such a life

where everything is fine and fits like

tailored clothes except my skin


which crawls with a notion

that something is always about to go wrong.

account_box More About

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ted Burke now lives and writes in San Diego, California. He is a bookseller, writer, poet,blues musician and visual artist and has worked as music, book and movie critic, carnival worker, warehouse manager, editor and singer/harmonica player in occasional bands.