Panic King

Jakob Maier

Some days no one contacts me
& that's good. I spend my time
sitting under a roof under the sky
which surrounds me like dirt or
a cookie that hides a fortune
with a list of lucky numbers
I memorize—** * ** * ** **—
which have not won me money
or fame or a day at the beach
just yet, but might in the future.
In this way I relearn hope.

Some days no one contacts me
& I eat cereal. I read opinions,
though I'm certainly not paid to,
research the difference between
parsley & cilantro (parsley with
pointed leaves, cilantro rounded),
unsuccessfully block out desire
& wild thoughts about the news,
ones that drive me deeper inside
the rented house of myself, protected
by years of shiny white paint.

Some days no one contacts me
& I climb up onto my jeweled throne
before the gathered adoring masses,
the Panic King who mercifully decrees
shortness of breath the national anthem,
the tap-tap-tap of my wireless mouse
& restless foot the national sport,
this gray feeling of a lack of control 
the general attitude of the nation.
I'm King, I say to the flashing cursor.
I shouldn't feel alone if I don't want to.

No one contacts me & some days
I need that. I'm awake all night long.
I tear half the lines from my poems.
I do a quick search for happiness near me.
I read my fortune by phonelight.