On Visiting My Psychologist by Jason Gordy Walker

On Visiting My Psychologist

“I’m simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?”
— Emil Cioran

The man inside my head preferred me dead.
I thought I would never write poetry again.

My dishes piled up like regrets in the sink.
I had nowhere to turn for love or help—

all my friends were workaholics or dead.
Instead of calling them, I smoked and wrote

an obituary for myself. What could I say?
The frost blinding my windows never went away—

day after day there was nothing but snow. I tended
to leave my stuffy home, to walk alone while I kidded

myself about such things. Hope felt like a ghost
my years would never know. I’m sorry

how I never called you back, those days you called
and called. I felt fine. My hands, dry and cracked,

flipped pages for hours. The birds packed
the dark green trees. And somehow,

somehow the sun was brighter, almost enthralled.


Jason Gordy Walker (he/him/his) has published poems in Broad River Review, Cellpoems, Confrontation, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Measure, One Art, Poetry South, Think, and other journals; his book reviews and interviews have appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review, Newpages, Subtropics, and the Dos Madres Press Blog. A recipient of scholarships from The New York State Summer Writers Institute, Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference, and The West Chester University Poetry Conference, Walker is an MFA student at the University of Florida.

Three Poems by Jason Gordy Walker

Brilliant Trash

       —Birmingham, AL

Hardly a splash of water on my face
and I’m out the door to scrub
pots at the pub, thinking, What
a poor dish-dog I am.
Mumbling in my car
while shifting into reverse, I slam
into a can of brilliant trash:
busted beer bottles, stuffed
rabbit’s gut bleeding cotton,
box of worm-ridden donuts.
I spin out, scratching
my stubble till my chin’s red,
hit 50mph—Caution:
Children—in a school zone,
a mother in a mini-van
flipping me off
for good reason
when a line
for my next poem
pops up in my head: This
monstrous ulcer named Work
is the foundation of Art—
before I brake at the light
while sparrows flutter
on wires, then
they dive,
until the hawk swerves in.


How to Delay a Panic Attack

Breathe in. Hold it. Breathe out. Repeat.
Hustle to your bathroom.
Don’t forget to scrub yesterday’s pizza
from your mouth. Breathe in.

Pluck your wild nose-hairs.
Brush lint from your shirt.
Scratch the scab off your knee
like it’s a lottery ticket.

Don’t rush on your drive to work.
Breathe out. Recite a Shakespeare sonnet.
Notice your brow’s furrows
in the rearview. Breathe in. Tally

each freckle. Are your earlobes attached
or detached? Breathe out. Rewind the tape.


Ode to Watching Ikiru

I pause the film. Framed by the bars of a jungle-gym,
Kanji Watanabe swings like a child, singing
“Gondola No Uta.” Snowflakes start a flurry.

Shimura shines through his role. The bureaucrat’s
final days would have been too brutal for a lesser actor:
you have stomach cancer, but your beloved son

treats you like a bank? I’ll pass. The snow falls.
Wearing his iconic hat, the old man sings,
no special effects

needed. As our hero says earlier: I don’t know
what I’ve been doing with my life. Not true.
I’m plotting against ennui, pressing play.


Jason Gordy Walker (he/him) is a multi-genre writer and an MFA student in poetry at the University of Florida, where he teaches a fiction workshop. His poems have been published in Broad River Review, Cellpoems, Confrontation, Measure, and Poetry South, among others.