Let’s talk about,
the giant tube, the ways
& all the permutations
to keep one’s cool.
& by goes through
& by cool I mean
screaming until the lady
I don't know where the idea
originated, but turns out
Or so says the lady
& I start sliding in.
a loud series of bangs
a clockwork-orangian
rhythms pulsed into
volume-one series
between brief,
of sound wash, as if
& precipitated by curious
Add to this
locking you in
slowly transforming into
for the gestalt of it
of it. Nor
it out or ignore
rising within my body.
playoff race standings
childhood homes
respectively)—& started
Thought that led to
which walked me
of hyperventilation.
counting minutes,
Which got me
where I was conveyor-
to get an IV hook up.
the technician before
Back inside.
There was one interval
matched my counting
for a minute, minute & a half
encompassing my breaths,
me off center, sending me
of disembodied confusion.
…47, 48, 49…
pulling myself to 60
then jumping back
on home, where morning
& the moon rotated
But done what? Piece of cake
It wasn’t until I am back
he last time I had to resort
was when I was stuck
of a crashed car, waiting
To be pulled out of the car
bound for the hospital.
& the MRI
though you couldn’t have
& who knows
it will be. Either way,
this time
now that I am free
torture gets articulated
one goes through
& by one I mean me
I could say endures.
not losing my shit
comes get me out.
it'd only take 15 minutes
it will be more like 45-50
as she pushes the button
& what was said to be
& alarm bells in reality are
array of techno-jack-hammer
the brain at maximum
switched out for another
saidstically calming periods
held up lightly by clouds
animal-in-the-wall knocks.
the tight squeeze, the headgear
the warm blanket
a hair suit. I was not ready
the pure sensory overload
my inability to drown
the cacophony, nor the panic
I ditched all the stratagems—
tournament seedings
& young adult rentals (10 & 10
counting my breaths.
too-deep breaths
to the precipice edge
Nothing to do but start
1 to 60, in 5-minute blocks.
to the 30-minute mark
belted back into the light
15 minutes to go, chirped
disappearing from view.
Back to counting.
where the cosmic pulse
& so I rode its wave
before it subsumed me
erasing numbers, knocking
down a rabbit hole
Above, I saw cartoon script
I reached up & grabbed hold
resting on its wobbly platform
into the minutes, riding them
light rose over the horizon-line
out of view. I’d done it!
a friend had told me.
in the car that I realize
to counting my breaths
behind the steering wheel
for the EMTs to arrive.
to be placed on the helicopter
Then, it was life or death.
just diagnostic test
convinced me that in there.
maybe it was. Maybe
I’ll be ready
to the best of my ability.

Poet’s Note

I often write poems straight out of experience, as was the case with "MRI." Directly after leaving the doctor's office, I went to a local taqueria and ordered some tacos and a beer. I pulled out a pen and opened the book I had with me and scribbled out the poem on its blank back pages. I have since worked on the poem, but 90% of what you see here is what I captured at that lunch counter. The poem's structure came to me as I was typing the poem out later that day.