Veritas  Any Day Now
Cover Contents Masthead
Links Gallery
Britt Leach résumé



I thought my hair was burning through my scalp

I thought my brain was blistering


You’re asked what you do

you name a profession

you’re asked who you are

your answer is the same


One day you can’t remember

what it is that you do, exactly

and you’ve forgotten your name


I thought it was high blood pressure; I thought it was caffeine;

I thought I was eating the wrong part of the plant

I thought I was dying


But for years you’ve spread your wares

sold your self


In a room, always the same room

where people, always the same people

have looked past you and swung their feet

counted missing ceiling tiles and admired their new shoes

taken calls

eaten lunch

raised families

and died

while you’ve pitched them, tried to sell them

your dry mouth and your broken laughter


I thought I would go crazy from the sound of my heart

I thought I would choke on the dust in my mouth

I thought I would drown in the blood from my smile


So I shaved my head and I ate only fallen fruit

I gave up coffee and I walked aerobically

I checked my carotid pulse and I searched for my third eye


And now detoxified and clarified

purified and simplified

what I understood

(breathing from my solar plexus, mouthing my mantra,

mixing blood with dust for a palliative mud

seeing with all my eyes)


Was that

I couldn’t seem to remember what it was that I did, exactly

and I had forgotten my name


This poem probably appeared in country CONNECTIONS. I'm sure that I did a public reading of a slightly different version at a restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles and that it was raucously received because the room was full of actors. For some reason they identified with a few of the images. Peculiar.—B.L.

Cover | Contents | Masthead | Links | Gallery | Contact