Shut up, me.

I sit on the couch, tired and spent

Like a shrivelled potato

My skin peeling off

Getting mushy

Tiny cannibal sprouts spurt out between my toes

Kind of itchy, but don’t really hurt

Not yet, anyway

.

My eyes sink deep into my sockets

The darkening shade renders me a panda goddess

I raise my hand to speak

And on the other end of the living room

Another me

Me Number Two

Throws the chalk at me and screams

“NO! YOU MAY NOT SPEAK!”

.

She then throws my midterm papers at me

They are all due this month

Flinging those annoying deadlines at my face

Using a deadly slingshot

She slaps my face and tells me

How many things I haven’t done

“YOU LAZY BUM! YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TODAY!”

She says there’s something wrong with me.

.

Why can’t I get things done?

.

“I think I will take a break now.”

.

“NO!!!!!!” she screams again and

Pulls out her crystal ball

Her secret weapon

The future

She points towards the foggy centre

And asks me what I see

.

“A foggy centre,” I say.

.

“NO!” she screams. “You are failing your exams,

And you are handing in things late

You’re disappointing your parents,

Who paid all your tuition and housing fees

Because you suck so much at life

And you lie on your bed

Tossing and turning

Flapping like a slowly dying fish

Unable to sleep

Because you are SUCH A FAILURE.”

.

Frustrated, I say to Me Number Two,

“No, I’m not.”

“YES YOU ARE.”

.

She picks up those exam paper, essay outlines

And all that matters

Shoves them up my mouth

Making me eat them

I hear her malicious laugh.

.

“GET OFF ME!”

This time, I am the one screaming.

.

She staggers backwards, and stares at me in horror.

.

“PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!”

.

I pick up the things that matter

Exams and outlines and homework assignments

All those stress and disappointments and anger

Shape them into a paper sword

And stab the other me in the stomach.

.

“PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!”

.

The paper sword touches her stomach

But does not penetrate

She winces in pain

But it’s a paper sword

What harm does it do? 

.

“Shut up, me.”

.

Me Number Two collapses onto the floor

And looks up at me

Into my eyes.

.

“It’s okay. It’s no big deal.”

.

She stares at me and weeps.

.

“It’ll be okay la! You silly perfectionist.”

She sighs. I smile.

And then, she says,

“Shut up, me.”

.

And both me and the Other Me

Are at last, at peace.

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2 comments

  1. Kim · October 1, 2010

    Haha. I wish I’d seen that! I’m just trying to present the struggle that I have internally: the perfectionist who refuses to rest and relax, and the real me who is tired but can’t stop being “perfect”…and then at the end, the two “me’s” are both at peace as I stop being so up-tight. Yep, I’m having fun jabbing “myself” with a paper sword…hahaha. Mostly I’m making fun of myself for being such a serious idiot. Nod nod.

  2. Carol Ann Hoel · October 1, 2010

    Cool argument. At least you couldn’t really lose. One time when I worked in downtown Toledo, Ohio, as a legal secretary, out on my lunch hour I happened to walk behind a man violently arguing with himself. He would shout curses at the person next to him (no one was next to him); then he would leap into the air and toss himself onto the other side of the sidewalk where the the other person would have been. Then he would argue back with the first one. He leaped into the air and switched identities about three times before I decided I needed to walk somewhere else. Ha! Your poem reminded me of that day. Would you call that a split personality? No, I don’t think you are crazy. I think you are having fun again. Not drunk fun, either. Just fun. If I am wrong, I give up.

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