This is to say the $105.40 I spent
talking to Walter, extension 27,
at 4:13 am last Thursday,
a month ago, was not enlightening
or even entertaining, but a
investment -- Walter told me,
“chip away at the mountain,”
but may have noted a Louisiana code,
as his next phrase followed a pause --
“or wade through the bog.”
He clearly saw I was blocked in some way,
though I’d only said hi and my birth day.
But it was 4:13.
Most of us up at this hour
are up to pee or no good.
“Become less uncomfortably comfortable.”
Walter coughed; he sounded tired,
like he was talking to himself --
“Find an angle that works...” --
or reciting a list.
I went to a hypnotist
who pointed to a beige recliner,
passed headphones that carried tinkling
chimes, and told me to close my eyes.
The room soon filled with frankincense.
The start of his voice echoed, as if
from great distance -- I summoned
a sensation of exquisite suspension,
lucent with the witless prediction
that this may be a prelude
to the foxtrot of my unconscious.
I hoped for some visions.
Instead there came a strumming of paper,
pecking of a pen.
I still heard words, though
now they sounded canned.
All at once I knew he’d had me
soaking his voice on tape
and fluttered my eyelids to spy
from the trance: hypnotist bent
over desk, doing billing.
(that bill, another stanza).
When I heard Walter whisper --
he probably turned his chin away
so I wouldn’t hear --
“no milk, two sugars,“
it occurred to me
these were the only specific statements
he’d uttered in (I won’t say
how long I listened) --
still, I had the sense to hang up
just after he read,
“say goodbye to your dark cloud.”