Post-Party Social Alarm

Perfect night to game, lay down cards,
room to room ventured by thrown dice,
board game bildungsroman.

Failed protection spells, loads of laughs,
egging on clockwise conception, new personas
gender fluid, pregnant narrative
breaking water river rapid.

Winner takes caul.

Wipe the cord. Plates in sink,
Napkins in trash. Measure heart beat.
Poke feat.
Goodnight. Thank you.

Outside alone
in the sticky air:

born or boring
I had fun; did they?
Passage clear, I had lungs.
Did they cough, drown
to fill balloons?
Did I chew with my mouth
open, eat all the chips
and salsa, say or do anything
wrong? It’s hard to get
out the door without worrying
goodbye means circumcised
and I haven’t said thank you
enough times. I’d love to come back
but we made no plans.
Are we waiting for a later time,
or did I overstay my premature
starting over, my learning how
to make friends again the old-fashioned way?

#NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 25

Discussion:

I have a lot of social anxiety going into any event, even game night with friends and coworkers. I decompress at the end of any event the same way, even if I was able to relax and have a good time during it. I travel home full of doubts, interrogating my memories, trying to decide if they really wanted me there or if they were just being nice. It’s a kind of imposter syndrome, where I think I’m not deserving of friends, so these must be accidental nice people who abide my presence until I’m gone, and then breathe an exhausted sigh of relief.

The conception, pregnancy, birth extended metaphor? I tried to use it for both the creation and birth of a narrative when a group of people play a game together and for the creation and birth of anxiety. I’m not sure this metaphor really works. The poem starts to get weird and go to weird places because this metaphor might be adding associations that don’t really make sense, or are kind of disturbing.

I feel a little less anxious, though.

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), his Micro.blog (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).