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I’ve been told by my psychiatrist
I tsk too much, I scold and crow,
take on too many problems.
I disagree, of course, while texting
to my friends the sins of sodium
and artificial sweeteners. What does
a shrink know of the drug wars
in Frambodia or the poisons
they inject in wheat?

I argue justifiably for dolphins
and the glaciers and the son
of some Eurasian activist
imprisoned for the gun he used
in self-defense against the
government inside his head.

I plead the cause of mental
health and donate to the poor.
I preach to the religionists
who knock upon my door.
I blog against hypocrisy.
To thine own self, be true,
I tell my friends, click Like
but only partially when they
support some angle that I’ve
read somewhere suppresses
or oppresses.

I examine every argument—
the noisy ones I love the best—
to find myself a niche. I protest
against poverty and soundly
curse the riche.

Re. cruelty to children, beasts,
and women, well, my outrage
knows no bounds. I post at every
opportunity full-colour clips
of tragedies that could have
been prevented if more people
cared and thought like me.

I raise awareness of injustices
that with a single rewrite of
the country’s constitution would
guarantee equality just like our
founding patriarchs—er, fathers…
um, leaders—once decreed.

I align with all minorities
against the large, the many,
much. Democracy for Everyone!
I cry with others of my tribe,
though tribalism troubles
me, as such—oh, no…

They’re coming in with
tear gas, do you see them?
Riot cops with shields…

When will this end?
…it will not end. Pick up!
…your placard. Join!
…the march, I must!

I try to raise my arm
against the billy club
but I’ve been strapped
to this hard bed. I cannot
turn my head. The light
they’re shining in my
eye’s too bright.

Hello, my name is Dr. Hammersmith.
I am your new neurologist, referred
by your psychiatrist. I must agree
with Dr. Lee: excessive multi-tsking,
disapproving, clucking, many terms
we have for fussing over things
when you could just as easily
exemplify solutions, has caused
a hostile take-over by cortisol,
adrenalin, and other caustic
stress hormones of your once
balanced brain. They’ve pitted
holes the size of Normandy—
I say this, ha ha, metaphorically—
into your hippocampus, hypothalamus,
those precious limbic organs, while
dopamines, endorphins, all the
pleasure drugs your body used
to make when beauty, joy, and
eagerness came naturally have
canceled their production.
Happily, we have a treatment.

It’s still in early research stages,
but I’m sure we’ll be approved
once we’ve cured the likes of
you ten thousand times, or so.

Hammersmith released my eyelid
and produced a hypodermic
with a six-inch silver needle
which he squirted to release
a pinkish liquid.

The pineal gland in humans,
he explained, while lowering the
needle to a spot between my eyes,
has been shrinking for millennia.
We are, today, more civilized
and rational. We have no need
to see what isn’t there—utopias,
perfection, love that never ends
and such. The downside is,
de-pinealized, we make too much
of the unfortunate, see offences
everywhere, and hence, this
multi-tsking epidemic that
prevents the spread of
true intelligence.

But I protest!
Or course, you do.
That’s all you do.

Relax, this will not hurt
a bit. I promise, when you’ve
wakened, you will never
wish to tsk again.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014