“ode to all the drugs that never saved”
prozac, first lover, i opened my brain, my body, my hope to you, i spread my legs
in love, virgin head, diseased, but believing,
20 miligrams, 40, 60, then 80,
our love never got me off to even okay.
lexapro, you made me shake fingertips in. i already knew death was all up in my face. you made her face more vibrant, more lolololol.
wellbutrin, you gave my legs some extra run. you woke my sex. but still, i found the blade aglow, it whispered sweet nothings into my head, it promised its kisses on my skin would make
wellbutrin, i gave you back when i finally realized i already had enough scars.
effexor, you were the dude i dated whose first kiss made my knees stiffen, my jaw set itself tighter, my tongue taste weird af.
lithium, i had to drink lotsa water on you. you made me thirsty. i want wellness, but i never will be the girl thirsting for anything other than art.
amitryptaline, so sleeeeeeepy. thanks for the fun dreams, babe. for a little while, you filled my head, in the darkest of dark, with a monica flying, a monica weightless, a monica escaping, but in the end,
monica never sought escape.
others and others and others, i remember you still, but smooth little angels, the promise of your promise proved wingless.
then there came vybrid. my hybrid that made
my brain a habitat i could inhabit.
then, 6 months on, my hair began to drop me in chunks.
i was 31. i was not ready to be bald because my brain was breaking.
at 34, finally, it was, what up ECT? this head, oh yeah, shock me babe, shock me so hard the bad is shook to good. or okay.
i am now okay with okay. i pray to okay. i kneel till kneecaps bruise to reach okay.
ECT is: you are a rat, no matter the science, because of the science. you are nibbling too eagerly at your already failing tail every minute before every session, and this is why
they knock you out.
you wake up.
i said okay to seizing my brain 9 times in april. it did
save my life
i wear a patch, emsam, an maoi,
i can’t eat things so little as the smallest pickle
is it helping? are the shocks still shaking my brain back to okay most days?
today, i wrote this poem.
i am still alive.
Monica Lewis lives in Brooklyn, New York and holds an MFA from Columbia University. Both her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Apogee Journal’s Perigee, and The Margins, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Boiler Journal, PUBLIC POOL, Yes, Poetry, Flapperhouse, FIVE:2:ONE, among others. She is a VONA/Voices alumna and 2017 “Best of the Net” poetry nominee. Her full collection of poetry, Sexting the Dead, will be published in summer 2018 by Unknown Press. Follow her on Twitter @mclewis22.