Outside the Lines
by Joseph Di Lella
Johnny, you need to finish all your coloring worksheets
TODAY. No excuses. Do you see the other children sleeping?
That could be you, wrapped all cozy in a blanket
but no naptime until you finish
the assignment. I don't understand?
What's so artistic about smearing your face with
glue, glitter and stars
when you could be filling in circles, squares and triangles
black and blue -
I never noticed?
Did Tommy Leadbetter do that to you? Why
that nasty boy! I told him to encourage your primal,
in the wonderful world of art
where all you have to do is simply
be yourself. No crying.
You'll wake the others . . .
by Joseph Di Lella
Say you’re claustrophobic, xenophobic, and agoraphobic, old friend?
Sleep deprived? Nightmares galore? Bed wetter?
No problem. No problem at all. We’ll fix you right up.
Calling Dr. Delirious! Calling Dr. Crazy! Calling Dr. Frankenstein!
The Supermen of Psychiatrists will see you now.
They’ll cure any illness
Real or imaginary
With easy, monthly payments . . . we’ll even take Visa.
Eventually, we’ll get to the bottom of the real you.
How? Glad you asked.
At our clinic, each specially trained and licensed brain mechanic
Will replace your performance anxiety disorders,
Check your spiritual battery fluid levels,
Sooth, manipulate and re-center those unaligned chakra cylinders – all seven of them
And have you back on the streets as good as new,
For any road race, at your own pace, in society’s rat race.
But before we start . . . the procedure . . .
Please change into this tissue blue gown.
Remember? The one you wore last time? The one that shows
Your skinny, boney behind?
Yes, that’s right – all the nurses adored it – even Nurse Ratched.
But before you plop yourself down
On this cold, sterile, metal table
Please bend over and touch your toes.
Now, about that Oedipus Complex . . .
Joseph is an Assistant Professor who teaches Bilingual Education and Reading in a state college in New Mexico. He writes fiction and poetry in his spare time. His short story, 'Cheating Destiny' was an 'Alternate Selection' for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Vol. 10) published by Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster). You can find his latest works in current or upcoming e-zines such as The Lorelei Signal, The Battered Suitcase, Alienskin Magazine, and of course his favorite publication -- Clockwise Cat.