“The Nutritionist” by Andrea Gibson

“The Nutritionist” by Andrea Gibson


Hi I’m Andrea Gibson and this
is my poem “The Nutritionist.” The nutritionist said I should
eat root vegetables Said if I could get down 13 turnips a day I would be grounded, rooted. Said my head would not keep flying away
to where the darkness lives. The psychic told me my heart
carries too much weight Said for 20 dollars she’d tell me what to do I handed her the twenty, she said “stop worrying darling, you
will find a good man soon.” The first psychotherapist said I should
spend 3 hours a day sitting in a dark closet with my eyes closed
and my ears plugged. I tried it once but couldn’t
stop thinking about how gay it was to be
sitting in the closet. The yogi told me to stretch
everything but truth, said focus on the outbreaths, said everyone finds happiness if they can care more about what they
can give than what they get. The pharmacist said klonopin,
lamictil, lithium, Xanax. The doctor said an antipsychotic
might help me forget what the trauma said The trauma said don’t write this poem. Nobody wants to hear you cry
about the grief inside your bones But my bones said “Tyler Clementi dove into the Hudson River
convinced he was entirely alone.” My bones said “write the poem.” To the lamplight. Considering the river bed. To the chandelier of your fate hanging by a thread. To everyday you could not get out of bed. To the bulls eye of your wrist To anyone who has ever wanted to die. I have been told, sometimes,
the most healing thing we can do- Is remind ourselves over and over and over Other people feel this too The tomorrow that has come and gone And it has not gotten better When you are half finished writing
that letter to your mother that says “I swear to God I tried” But when I thought I hit bottom,
it started hitting back There is no bruise like the bruise
loneliness kicks into your spine So let me tell you I know there are days it looks like
the whole world is dancing in the streets when you break down like the doors
of their looted buildings You are not alone and wondering who will
be convicted of the crime of insisting you keep loading your grief into
the chamber of your shame You are not weak just because
your heart feels so heavy I have never met a heavy heart that wasn’t
a phone booth with a red cape inside Some people will never understand
the kind of superpower it takes for some people to just walk outside Some days I know my smile looks like
the gutter of a falling house But my hands are always holding tight
to the ripchord of believing A life can be rich like the soil Make food of decay Turn wound into highway Pick me up in a truck with that
bumper sticker that says “it is no measure of good health
to be well adjusted to a sick society” I have never trusted anyone with
the pulled back bow of my spine the way I trust the ones who
come undone at the throat Screaming for their pulse
to find the fight to pound Four nights before Tyler Clementi
jumped from the George Washington bridge I was sitting in a hotel room
in my own town Calculating exactly what I had to swallow
to keep a bottle of sleeping pills down What I know about living
is the pain is never just ours Every time I hurt I know
the wound is an echo So I keep a listening for the moment
when the grief becomes a window When I can see what I couldn’t see before, through the glass of
my most battered dream, I watched a dandelion lose
its mind in the wind and when it did, it scattered
a thousand seeds. So the next time I tell you
how easily I come out of my skin, don’t try to put me back in just say here we are together at
the window aching for it to all get better but knowing there is a chance our hearts
may have only just skinned their knees knowing there is a chance the worst
day might still be coming let me say right now for the record,
I’m still gonna be here asking this world to dance,
even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet you- you stay here with me, okay? You stay here with me. Raising your bite against the bitter dark Your bright longing Your brilliant fists of loss Friend if the only thing we have to gain
in staying is each other, my god that’s plenty my god that’s enough my god that is so so much
for the light to give each of us at each other’s backs
whispering over and over and over “Live” “Live” “Live”

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