Tinfoil fear stories
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miltonpigeon I have a compulsion to write.
Autoplay OFF   •   2 years ago
This poem is about social anxiety.


Standing inside my kitchen I start

pulling the damaged

drawer by the clean,

yellow sink and thinking

of people; I withdraw

the cardboard box of tinfoil

I bought yesterday; my experience

is upside down. The sharp and jagged

fangs fastened to its lower lip have mangled

my fingers so many times I can't count the scars

and sore scabs staining my skin. I set the cardboard

casing on the counter and fold the top back and fixate

on the cold, metallic cylinder, and that familiar warmth

from it blossoms and buzzes. I drag the sheet of metal-tongue

out of the box and begin to layer it around my midsection,

chest, hands and feet; the crunching of the metal-sheet

tongue sounds like dead bubble wrap. It terrifies

me that it doesn't cover all the parts of me; all the parts

of me unprotected hum cacophonous sobs; I need more, but I can't bear

going to the grocery store: the cars in the parking lot and the people

in the aisles always make my skin start to shake, and the wrinkles

of the foil repetitively rattle like the tail of a rattlesnake.

Running the faucet and filling a glass full I drink

until it's half-empty; I can taste old chlorine,

and my palms begin to froth and puke salt;

I'll soon feel safe once I buy some more tinfoil.

As I make my way to the grocery store, gnarled,

old tree branches grasp for me like starved vampire bats eagerly

draining the blood of the purple impurities that bleed out of my panicked

breath and breathe it in; and the creases of the tinfoil are pooling with cooling sweat.

Walking upside down down the wrong side of the sidewalk, torrid with the shivering wind,

I form fences out of my fingers and peer through the slits as I press both sets of prints

to my forehead, and their horrid, dry skin smells like searing cigarettes; the night sky

and my pupils are dark dungeons with little-light windows that are too bright

for staring at; staring at a white clearness for too long can change cloudless

stars into lost, breathless waves of air that will never wash the crevices

of my lonely lungs. Eyeballing the parked cars and tall buildings

I step passed their strange windows that are too dark

and blotched to spot any sign of change inside.

A lying cat licking its fur on the curb of the street

jolts at the full, flat sound of my thin, tin armor;

it runs and dives under a hole-filled wooden fence and hides.

A skeleton-engine with a warped, amorphous shadow behind its wheel

lets out a guttural belch from the depths of its stomach, and its eyeballs

blind me in a staring-contest. My fidgeting fingers close over my eyelids

so my bare retinas can recover from the trauma caused by the blare.

Its rust-like glass rattles to the bottom of the driver's window

frame, and hearing its wheels turning in a half-circle in the gravel

and dirt persuades me to caution my pace; the sight of the shadow

at the end of the street where I need to turn left to the store

is causing my heart to scream and beg, and the shivering bones

in my rib cage are filled with ancient, dead snow.

A form of death is snarling close to me with a faceless

and nameless driver. As I turn left into a darkness, the tires

of the roaring motor spit out pebbles from the pressure

of the cracked tread and the heavy blackness of an abyss;

the rubber spins and peels its rotten skin off the raw, ash-colored

pavement. The background sounds rage rapidly, and there's no mirage

of hope. Its thunder-and-lightening rumble spears the neighborhood

and my good eardrum. My adrenal glands spike from the banshee-

cries growing closer, and my dizzy legs turn into timid rabbits

with widened eyes. The blackened frame of the apocalyptic

car is getting bigger by every slow second, and my tinfoil

is shedding piece by piece leaving in the desolate

street a failure to save the fragments of my sacred

sanity from something similar to a silhouette

in a nightmare; a soulless, pale creature.

Through backyards, stumbling over rusty

lawnmowers and old memories, fence

after fence, my sprinting and hurdling fade

away the guttural motor firing its venomous

sound. Entering the grocery store parking lot

I notice that there are only empty plastic

bags floating in staccato movements

with the grace of drunk ghosts.

The light illuminating the white lines

and pavement have a horror-film-feel,

and the smell of dead oranges and oatmeal

bloat the air with an ethereal, thin thickness

like dead stars in the belly of a dying universe.

The sliding doors are locked open,

and I enter the store slowly with no tinfoil

to protect me from my anxiety. The flickering

fluorescent lights snap on and off fast

like flashes from a continuous camera

and reminds me of future-memories

of being examined by scary, dead animals

with fingernails and terrible haircuts

that hang me up by my brittle ankles

and drop me from the tops of black

skyscrapers in a place of opulent cages

and candy-cyanide. Searching the aisles

there are no workers or customers to face;

and there is no tinfoil to be found. Suspended

in the sky and looking at the upside-down-floor above,

the blood rushing to my head and making it heavy

with oxygen and spider eggs that give birth

to all the things inside my fragile, alabaster

skull (except hope), I rub the glass lenses

of my coated corneas; they are blotched, and mucus

from my nostrils stream into the corners of my eyes

and blend with my tears. I reach for a tinfoil balloon

drifting on by hoping this mirage will soon stop.

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