Whenever a new kind of knowledge makes claims to a superior account of the world or of humanity, particular sets of experts will rise to the occasion. Most obviously in the case of neurons, they are cognitive scientists of all kinds. Less obviously, they include pharmacologists.
-Emily Martin, “Mind Body Problems” American Ethnologist Vol 27 No 3 (Aug 2000)
Charles sits in the 1970s,
Warm wood paneling and the Monkees on a silver plastic stereo.
He is the man who decides what my brain will feel like:
Bright white snow, blowing into the windshield or
The regular morning suspended, an inch ahead of my fingers.
It is a difference of a hundred milligrams.
The pills cost sixty dollars a month
Or twenty-five if I get the next three all together
Expensive dust is ‘most profitable’ in batches
Because United pinches pennies
Charles does not, his practice sits next to a Whole Foods
And he can pack ‘em in, four to an hour.
In two years he still can’t recognize my face
But when he’s feeling sweet
I don’t need to weigh myself
Or read the number to him, at his desk.
He makes his money in the appointments,
Forty a pop, not to mention the kickbacks
From whatever gleaming white heaven
Prepares and bottles the pills—
Makes their money stopping up insanity
Or creating it, when
The white ones make the days loom too long
So pink ones come to cut in, to dance me to sleep
To play on my eyelids when I forget
And I sit with the discontinuation
Crazy with Charles’ fucking schedule and the last pill
Gone, A world made of broken glass, sticking
Into your palms when you try to clean it,
Crying, crazy with nothing.
Zoë studies English Literature, Poetry, and Secondary Education. She hopes to teach English to high school students, with an emphasis on personal and creative writing. She can often be found in alleys and parks with her dog, Harper.