Ode to Lithium #419: Perfect


. . . I needed to do something about my moods. It quickly came down to a choice between seeing a psychiatrist or buying a horse . . . and since I had an absolute belief that I should be able to handle my own problems, I naturally bought a horse.

—Kay Redfield Jamison

I didn’t seek the horse. Didn’t put out an advertisement. They say it can smell you from sixty miles away, which means if I’m in Toledo & the horse ain’t she can smell black tea & more than a dollop of shame. The way that one famous octopus could predict the winner of the World Cup by putting a particular ball in a particular basket, that’s how much my horse loves me. Nine out of ten times. & By love I mean nearly destroys me for the sake of her own path. She’s yellow-eyed & insolent, my Perfect. I didn’t name her, she came that way. Her coat is Van Gogh’s Starry Night, oil on canvas, post-impressionist, you know the one because you’ve seen a tote bag. What most don’t know is it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room. What most don’t know is he added an idealized village. Only the villagers know why. Perfect is the kind of bitch-horse to remind you Starry Night’s moon is not astronomically correct. I ride until she’s raw & the moon chips a nail on the dark. I ride until my breaths tie 0-0. Paul. That was the octopus’ name. May we all deserve such simplicity & too many hands. On Wikipedia you can find Paul’s entire life story from his egg hatching in England to present day affairs. But find me manic & you can’t find me. I’m a knobless door. I cook meals for the dead & they eat. I ride the casket like a car, step into traffic like a car but I’m a body. No body can look both ways simultaneously. Except me. I’m an eighteen-layer lust-cake. I prefer Perfect to my own mother, begging. I prefer Perfect’s confetti plaque, raining & raining. I ride until her jaw breaks off. It’s a type of singing. Fire follows me around like a pet sister. I should be able to handle my own problems is something my mouth once said to my brain. If my funeral hatches soon you can bet it will be well-attended by horses. Muscular, mudslick, expertise sluts. Bucking, exquisite & murderous. Perfect is a terrorist disguised as a horse. I prefer choosing terror to a terror I didn’t choose.

Shira Erlichman is a songwriter, producer, writer, and visual artist. Her latest album, Subtle Creature, was released in August 2016.

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