Jelal Huyler


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i have been having anxiety attacks. this is new. or maybe it is old.

 

my eyes wide as two polished soup spoons reflecting too much bright light in the kitchen of a catered event. my eyes wide as two screaming mouths. my eyes are two screaming children clenching their eyes shut in the supreme anguish of being in a body. my mouth cannot scream. so it mumbles. my hands can’t open so they fist. i counted 67 slippery fish in the distressed vein pumping through the crook of my left arm. they were not a school but separate unrelated fish. they did not stop long enough to tell me where to they swam. my mind is not swimming. it is the water. focus drowning over and over inside. i can’t grasp it. can’t get a hang on... can’t get to just exactly what...

 

this is not about the election.

 

i mean maybe. that’s prally in there. but this ain’t about orange skin or white people’s shock and appall.

 

it been here long before these shiny new motherfucks safety pinned their “how has it been for you?”s to their well allianced smiles when they talk at me.

 

this ain’t about white people.

 

i mean maybe. it’s definitely in there. But

 

this is about me. this is about moonlight. and the way i can’t find breath enough for most moments even when my lungs fill full and release. this is about forgetting. how i forget. how i forget my birthday. how i forget that there is another feeling than this. that life ain’t always this wrong. that everything I learn I’ve learned before and that distortion is just part of stretching out reality. that reality is not solid. that black is also white. that Cee Lo and a cold beer can sometimes hum me back into being. that I been here before.

 

the last one I had I just laid there and went so numb it felt like warm water all through my skin like how frozen limbs make hot tubs inside themselves just before they go blue i laid there in bed like some type of hairy whale with legs and cried but couldn’t barely make the tears and cried but was moaning and cried but it looked like a scared man clenching his fists and then asking his lady to un-clench them because he can’t no more and toes making like squirming rodents and bad flashes of bad flash flashing cross mind like bleach make things all runny all run run together and like badly poached eggs or fluorescents cracked open and spilling their neon yokes and flashing its flash flashing by like whizzing traffic like

   glitch

suppression

 

i just went all soft and numb but still clenched in weird places

 

knuckles white as this country’s fear.

 

do not tell me it’s gon be okay/ what we need or how why when we need it/ don’t tell me how does the thought of “our” new president sit with me?

 

i don’t give a fuck what you think you think you know about my stress and stressors.

 

this shit right here

 

this shit right here older than you and his orange ass.

 

this shit ain’t about trump.

 

this is about me. and how i can’t breathe. and how you standing on my neck.


Y. Jelal Huyler is an Oakland, CA. born, Massachusetts residing, poet and emcee who does not believe in time.  He spends most of this not-believed-in concept scribbling into notebooks. His voice and work have been featured in several documentaries, including Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality, which explores race and restorative justice in the United States. Jelal has recently published his first book of poetry Fractals with The Gorilla Press (thegorillapress.com). Previous and forthcoming publications include Eleven Eleven, 3Elements Review, 580 Split, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, as well as numerous other “here and there”s.