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I overdosed in confusion,
the Devil having me think—
well, too much.

Life couldn’t have been as easy as waking
up, doing some stuff I liked, and going
to sleep, so I added drugs or alcohol
or extras, because it couldn’t be that easy…

Could it?

Years later, eleven years sober I sleep
on full stomachs and come close to death.

I hurt myself when I overdosed. My stomach
and diaphragm stretched out, over-stretched,
aged far beyond my forty-one years. I look
normal, but stand at the ninth gate at night,

If you don’t know there are ten gates between
my life and death, and at night, with a full stomach
I reach the ninth having passed one through eight
asleep and at ease.

It is not until the dream becomes nothing and my
body begins to freeze that I wake. At the eighth gate
I can rise, do a sit-up, praise God, do 39 more sit-ups
then watch some TV and go back to sleep.

Maybe gas needed to be passed.

If at the ninth gate, I must yell out and wake my
girlfriend with the yelling. I must smash something
yell some more and hit.

I thrash until I teach my body how to be alive again.
Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, I’m
alive writing in the night, surfing in front that
whitewash—it’s double overhead, as the surfers
call it.

I could die, but what is death? The tenth gate smiles
a shimmer of doubt into my faith in afterlives:

One and ten are the same, life is life. Fight.