“Mental Health Problems” © Jordana Mayim



Colorful capsule with numbers on the side,
almost mechanical, tiny torpedo gone
in search of the Serotonin. Notch of color
on a mallard duck, rainbow in motorboat oil.
One at lunch, save the other
for dusk. Sit
on the couch
with hands clasped
between your knees–
looking around
at shafts of late sunlight
hitting the cigarette
smoke, the patterns
on the carpet
just right, shrugging
a shiver that doesn’t belong
there, moat at the base of throat,
summit sloughing off
the spine.
Staring at the stucco on the walls
like snow blown to hell.
On TV, a cowboy movie. Some fool
up to his neck in quicksand.
Jimmy Stewart tosses
a lariat in there; they haul him out,
caterwauls and all.
You change the channel with remote
control, think about that capsule, keeping things
whole, somehow, in the backwater
of the central nervous system, twisting opaque
night scape
penetrated by kayak, search light. Sifting things
that are different as it drifts, attaching
to things that belong.
Then music
leaks in, from another room,
and with it, more shivers just like you
only not
“Learn it up,” you try
to tell them, but your
mouth is too dry
to speak.


Dennis Mahagin is a poet and musician currently living in Las Vegas. He is the Poetry Editor for Frigg Magazine. His books include Grand Mal from Rebel Satori Press, and Longshot and Ghazal from Mojave River Press.

Jordana Chana Mayim is a writer, illustrator, and backpacker, among many other things. She’s published two books, with two more on the way. In them, she shares all the light that travel and overcoming depression taught her how to see. At the tender age of six, she received her first clinical diagnosis of “abnormal” from a child psychologist. Since then, she’s learned how to reclaim her voice and define herself. Difference isn’t a disease. It’s the origin of existence.