One day, while walking down
the long, white hallway at my job,
the tide overtook me & I broke down
crying in front of one of my co-workers,
the admission that I was depressed
& did not entirely want to be among
the living any more barreled like a fearful deer
out of my mouth before her & I recall
feeling so much shame for saying anything
because, being both Black & male,
especially in the South, means that it is expected
of one to convert the interior of his body into
a sealed vault that stands as close to impenetrable
as any stout metal that man can make
& I, against my mind’s will, allowed the hefty door
to open ever so slightly & linger just long enough
for my most guarded & precious cargo
to come charging out like steam
from the wound of a freshly-burst pipe.
When I finally recognized
what was wrong, that depression
had erected a large, brick home
behind the bridge of my sternum,
I tried to work it away
but that just made me even sadder,
I tried to pry & plow its grip
off the dense floor of my bone, but failed.
I tried, in vain, to drink it away
at my favorite bar surrounded by four strangers
& empty glasses of rum & Coke.
It wasn’t until I reached for
the white Celexa bottle & its contents
that the dark relented, grew quiet like a house
that an unruly & unwelcome spirit
had been freshly driven out of.
Christian J. Collier is a 2015 Loft Spoken Word Immersion Fellow. He is an accomplished artist, public speaker, and educator who has shared the stage with members of HBO’s Def Poetry cast, Rock& Roll Hall of Fame members The Impressions, and Grammy-nominee Minton Sparks. Some of his works have been featured on The Guardian, and published in such publications as The American Journal of Poetry, TAYO Literary Magazine, The Seven Hills Review, and Freeze Ray, to name a few.