Ok. This mess is called Jitters.
Teacher gave me a one-word name
On the first day of the third grade.
She labeled me with my condition
And so sparked a life-long tradition
Of insecurity and anxiety, cyclical
Critical hits dealt to my clinical tics
By cynical pricks so I set adrift
Across a rift between me and every other fucking kid I ever dared not encounter, fearing the ridicule they would pursue.
A few years later we went to the zoo.
A tarantula, gargantuan, yet trying to hide
from our view in a viewing tank
With sandy banks and small cacti
Yet we could not avert our childish eyes.
“True,” said teacher,
“You’re probably less afraid of her
than she is of you.”
Classmates nonetheless crinkled noses and said ew.
But meekly I whispered, “I’m just like you.”
Wish I were as sneaky, lord knows I’m as creepy,
people think I’m freaky, but I’m just like you.
Dad got me a baby tarantula that year.
I gave him the same one-word name
Teacher gave me the first day of third grade,
but when I let the little bastard out of his cage,
He’d creep over to everyone
any of his eight eyes could gauge.
I hated him for that.
I hated how he was brave.
I hated how he wasn’t like me
How he hated staying
In my silent, little cave.
Now I’m up here, shaking
Sweating, faking confidence,
Making canker sores,
Shredding my nerves.
Don’t think I bleed
Like the writers I read
But from what I’ve read
But I’ll bet I can show them how to sweat.
I sweat my flesh transparent
Like a paper towel
Spread out over a great lake
Or a greasy paper sack from BK.
Soaking my palms clear from opaque.
And I wonder if this
Is how my spider felt
When he ran across my carpet
Were his nerves also shot to hell?
I’d like to think they were
And although he died a few years ago,
He’s playing a spider harp
On a spider cloud
I hope he could see me
Standing up here now.
And I hope I make Jitters proud.