Nicholas Alti

I Have Weed Money or Counseling Money & Guess Which I Choose

Anxiety & optimism are twin moons
I throw stones at hoping to down. All moons
look like downers I hope to swallow as stones.

I envy the hermit crab
for its naturally given autonomy
in abandoning what contains it.

Even the path of finding yourself
is skewed from genesis. Even genesis
inherently hurdles itself toward oblivion.

I’m yet to uncover an algorithm
indicating an existence
could differ from incapacity.

Don’t think of anxiety as a nuclear fallout
or falling overboard with no land in sight
(& your with your pet who isn’t a great swimmer & neither are you)

or college debt or credit card debt or a criminal record
or how the person you love has loved others
in ways you will never experience with them,

think of anxiety as a four dimensional Venn Diagram
with nothing but little iPhone shit emojis in the opposite circles
& a massive pit of spikes in the middle one

which you can only overcome by jumping a plywood ramp
on one of those stupid fucking skateboard things
you wiggle around on to maneuver & gain momentum

if for posterity’s sake you hope to move from one pile
of disgusting smiling shit to another
without impaling yourself like a butchered carcass in Wallachia.

This lets you know you’re fucked
but in a charming, abstract way. It’s completely
non-helpful advice, but I thought I’d share it with you anyway

because it’s better than paying a forty dollar copay
to have some overworked & under experienced counselor
tell you to try meditating.


Nicholas Alti writes with and about trigeminal neuralgia, neuroatypicality, addiction, and strangeness. He’s an assistant editor for fiction and poetry at The Black Warrior Review. There’s more of him at Dream Pop, Hypertrophic Press, The Hunger Journal, Pretty Owl Poetry, and elsewhere.