Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Heart Attack

[Note: I used to hate my job. Made good money, but it was soul crushing.
I was dangerously close to staying there for the rest of my life.
This poem is about back then.]

Heart Attack

“Every year, tens of thousands of Americans survive heart attacks and eventually go back to work and enjoy life.”

That night I got a letter.
Someone slipped it under my door and the handwriting looked angry. It looked like it was written in blood. But it looked like love, too. It looked like all the happy memories from my childhood.
The letter was from my heart.

“Hey. This is your heart.”
That’s how it started.

“I know you probably don’t remember me, but I got some things I need to get off my chest.”

He talked about exercise and how I need to start eating better. Said that Cheerios weren’t really doing everything the commercials were saying and even went off about flossing. Something about there being a link between gum disease and heart disease and I got bored too, but....
I started wondering if my heart was a girl cause it was nagging me like crazy and went on and on and on. And actually, if my heart was a girl that would really explain some things in my life. Like why I’m so emotional and how I cry at romantic movies and I never loved trucks and I don’t really know how to use tools and things.

But I know my heart’s a guy because he threatened to kill me. And not like how girls sometimes threaten to kill you, but like how guys threaten to kill you.

Before he threatened me though, he thanked me for not smoking. He said, “Thanks. It didn’t have to go down like that and I’m just glad it did. So thank you from the bottom of myself.”
And then the gloves came off.

“Listen. I don't understand why you let things go on as long as you do. I’m not even talking about your cholesterol or your high blood pressure, which only an idiot would ignore for as long as you have. I’m talking about your life. I’m talking about the windows that you look out of every day. The dreams that have fallen from the trees, everything that's scattered all over your backyard. You work some 9-5 job that bores you to death and every morning you listen to songs about sadness and heartbreak like you know anything at all. Like I’m broken. Cause, I know you’ve never actually seen me, but let me assure you something—I don’t break. I don’t know if you know this, but I beat 72 times per minute, which is like 4,000 times an hour, which is over 100,000 times a day. Believe me! I counted it once. I had nothing else to do!" (ARGH)

"I keep working long after you've fallen asleep and trust me, when I break, it ain’t cuz I’m tired. If anything, I’m tired of sitting around waiting for you. I’m tired of wondering when you’re going to wake up. I’m tired of wondering why I’ve spent my whole life following you and not the other way around.”

And this is where he threatened me. He said,

“I’m going to haunt you. I'm going to haunt you every day. Because even though everyone knows that money can’t buy happiness, they always seem to forget about peace. I see you every morning when you look in the mirror and the smoke doesn't go away. And the butterflies are dead, but you can still feel them moving around in your stomach. I told you I don’t break, but if you ignore me long enough, I will stop working. I’m not threatening to kill you, I’m just tying a little string around your finger. Because in case you forgot, I’m the most lethal weapon in your house, on this planet. I’ve killed more people than cancer and if you don’t know, you better ask somebody. I’m not saying I’m the most important part of your body or that I'm #1. Oh, I’m sorry, I lied. I’m number 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.”

I thought it was weird that he was quoting rap songs, but to be honest I still hadn't got over the fact that I was reading a letter written by my heart. He ended with this:

“They say after a heart attack, the heart muscle that lost blood begins to die. But the truth is…I’ve been dying for years. And now the soil...the won't break no matter how much water you drink or how many shovels you have in the garage. You said this part of your life was only temporary. You kept talking about tomorrow. But no matter how many times the moon came out, tomorrow was only a shadow. We never set the world on fire and Paris was just a photograph in a department store. I waited my whole life for you. So goodnight for probably won't see me in the morning, but when you do...just remember who killed who.”


  1. Nelson can I just say that I freaking absolutely loved this entire thing, especially how you presented it at the open mic. Totally original and From The Heart. Amazing job!

  2. Read this again because I can't get enough of it. And every time, I take it to heart, literally.

  3. I love this! It makes me wonder what my heart has to say...

  4. Aw, hell, Nelson.
    I couldn't stop thinking about this all week. Then I started getting ready for the second week of SFY, and that took over my life.

  5. This isn't fair.
    I wish, one day, to write as beautiful as you do.

  6. That last paragraph had me.
    It's crazy how you can write things that make me feel emotions I can't even get myself to feel when I write my own stuff.

  7. You've surpassed Billy Collins in my opinion. Makes me want to stop writing and write more at the same time.

  8. I really love this.
    And sorry for stalking all your blogs, but I coukdnt resist.

  9. " And the butterflies are dead, but you can still feel them moving around in your stomach"

    I really love that.


  10. This is not a joke, I literally have read this 5 times since you showed it to us in class. I left class only wanting to hear it again. It spoke to me. I love this so much.

  11. This whole thing was far too good. Loved the video, but I love looking at the words in front of me even better.

  12. Your heart sounds so innocent and it just wants you to freaking listen to it and there are numbers and facts and a perfect balance of specific and vague and it's everything I want to be.


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