If The Headlines Tell Me So

In the hours before sunrise and after the late shows,

It started with a noise,

Real or imagined; I still have a hard time telling the difference,

It kept me from sleeping,

Another night wide awake despite

Enough sedatives to put down a small bear.

I’m not Keanu Reeves,

This isn’t the Matrix

But it feels fictional

Like when people ask me if I really do hear things.

I offer to switch places with me,

To go through one night of wondering,

Wondering whether the sounds coming from just outside

My bedroom window is from the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge

Or are merely imagined.

It’s tough to live a life blurred between

What is real and what is not.

I need the radio or television volume to be on an even number or else I get a panic attack,

I can’t carry pennies for fear or something happening to me,

If I see a cop I feel as though I’ve done something wrong,

I’ll stop and check my pockets for anything illegal

Despite the fact that I haven’t done drugs in almost a decade.

The voices don’t tell me to do things to people,

No, my illness isn’t like the ones you see in Law & Order episodes,

My voices (can they be mine? Can I at least have that?) come in the form of

Whispers and amplification of certain sounds,

They come in police scanners, voices scrambled and mumbling.

So yes I’m scared of the NSA

But it’s not because of civil liberties

Or anything to do with some war on terror

It’s because I already have a hard enough time

Figuring out which noise, which voice is mine

The lack of narrative control in my own head is frustrating

But the thought of a faceless entity recording me

Is said to be a good thing, according to the media headlines.

Like what you read? Give Patrick Trotti a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.