I’m a Little Stoned Right Now

Gregory Sherl is back to Florida, mood stabilizers, and Starbucks.

Bear with me—I’m a little stoned right now. Valium, 10 mg about half an hour ago, and I’m drinking a Starbucks Iced Venti Iced Coffee (extra 2 percent milk, three Splendas), sitting at my regular table at my regular Starbucks in Pembroke Pines, Florida. It is 82 degrees outside.

Let’s rewind.

Eight days ago I moved back to South Florida. Elizabeth is here with me, at least for the time being. She has taken a two-week unpaid leave from work because in Stowe, Vermont, I wasn’t leaving the house. I was thinking about things my mother would not want me to think about.

Elizabeth was so close to cracking herself.

Both of our knuckles bled equal amounts.

The snow banks rose above our heads and didn’t apologize.


Now, I am so close to  knowing only how to cry.

Therapy twice a week, maybe three times a week if he can fit me in. Valium twice a day, a new mood stabilizer with a ridiculously long name I am too lazy to memorize.

A fairly new diagnosis: borderline personality disorder times like 10 plus infinity minus a couple broken hearts.

They are unsure about the bipolar; they’re not ruling it out but they’re unsure.

I am coping by wearing soft clothes and being held.


The new Rural Alberta Advantage album is really, really good. It is called Departing; I’m listening to it now. I am hiding in melodies, lyrics that could be about me but obviously not.

Sometimes I am scared to sit in public chairs because I worry germs will seep through my boxers and then seep through my pajamas/jeans/shorts/chinos and then I will get syphilis.

The syphilis will get to my brain and then who will ever be able to save me?

I watch too much House.

On House one of the doctors always says lupus, but it never is.

I am a man with so many feelings. Give me some tiger blood, Charlie Sheen, let me win something.

I miss teaching, but I don’t miss grading.


Elizabeth still wants to marry me but we don’t talk about the wedding anymore. We haven’t been to Crate & Barrel to pick out stemware. We haven’t picked out a font for our save-the-dates.

I am engaged and 25, living back at home.

My childhood bed still feels like my childhood bed. When I sleep with Elizabeth we are naked, but when I sleep alone, I have to wear boxers, pajama pants, and a shirt.

If not I feel like I will catch something.

I want to stop sanitizing my hands after I wash them. I want to not be able to tell you everything my hands touched today.

I want to not think about Elizabeth’s past. I want to hold her. I want that to be enough.

I am trying so fucking hard.


I hope an anonymous commenter says this column reads like a poem. I will drink a beer for them, and my heart will thank them because my heart is a fan of beer.

Heineken Light if you ever meet me. I’ll take three, please.

If it’s a long night, five.

If my advice meant anything, I would tell you to read more Bob Hicok and Dorothea Lasky.

I would tell you to sit in the air conditioning and not regret crying.

I wish everyone played checkers and didn’t care if they lost.


I’m on Twitter now so that’s something. Look me up: Gregory Sherl.

I tweet things like: wrote 2 poems, submitted 3, thought about sex 9 times.

Boring shit.

I think Cambria is a more attractive font than Times New Roman but I still switch everything over to Times New Roman.

Maybe that’s a metaphor for my heart.

God bless Valium and all the stripes on my T-shirts that go vertical so I look less fat.


I am getting close to finishing the first draft of the novel I am under contract for. It will be out in the spring of 2012. After I finish the novel, I hope I have a way to buy more Starbucks Iced Venti Iced Coffees (extra 2 percent milk, three Splendas). And Moe’s.

I love burritos.

Maybe someone will want to turn these columns into a book. That’s my plan: write about my heart and still be able to pay for gas.

If you’re interested, let me know. Maybe I can help someone sad be less sad, or maybe I can help someone lonely feel less lonely.

As a sophomore in college I was a social-work major. I wanted to change the world; you know: make sure kids don’t get touched where they shouldn’t get touched and build a house around those with no houses.

I was too weak. I had to quit. Now I am doing this, and I want this to be doing more than it is.


On Tuesday morning I am getting paid what I call lawyer money to read my poetry to a handful of people who actually want to listen to poetry being read. I will probably be this stoned or more stoned.

ZZ Packer will be there. I will never be as famous as ZZ Packer.

If we hug, I will not sanitize my hands after.

I will be nervous in my beige cardigan.


I can’t stop shaking my leg.

This line is from my recently published chapbook, I Have Touched You, but I’m going to restate it here: Can you feel my mental illness breaking down?

Sometimes I am too many parts ceramic and not enough parts plastic.

Who will drop me next?


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Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Gregory Sherl

Gregory Sherl's first full-length poetry collection, Heavy Petting, was released last October. His newest book, The Oregon Trail is the Oregon Trail, is out this month. He blogs/reviews/interviews here.<


  1. Gross, I hate splenda.

  2. Matthew Salesses says:

    like poetry, greg.

  3. I like the person who wrote “gross; I hate splenda.”

  4. This is the first thing I’ve ever read of yours and I really like it.

    Sometimes I am too many parts ceramic and not enough parts plastic.

    Who will drop me next?

    Yes, yes, yes. I know how this feels. Klonopin, personally.

    I want to buy I Have Touched You now. So I’m off to watch the book trailer. :)

  5. Well, Greg, at least be flattered to know that no matter what life hands you, you’ll always have someone who thinks anything you shit or piss is fucking brilliant.

    I’m becoming more and more cynical every day. I guess those are the days I think of you more often. Drop me a line, won’t you? Then I won’t need to drop one for you on your column here. Though, really, I do enjoy reading it.

    I wish you weren’t so hard on yourself.. You’re always so hard on yourself. It could be worse.

  6. I’m at work so I can’t suggest looking for more fireflies like I did last time. I’ll think of a more stupid-grin-enducing metaphor until I’m outta here.

  7. Spencer Phillips says:

    I almost cried. I like Cambria better also, but I turn everything to TNR when other people are going to read it. I’ve never been stoned, but my family is pretty fucked up. I hate crowds because they’re slow and they make my skin itch. I can always tell when someone’s been in my room, and the germs make my hair raise. Sorry if I rambled, sort of. This all sounds sort of arrogant, like I actually relate to you. Are these flaws or merely things that make me unique? Poetry is cool.

  8. anonymous says:

    this column reads like a poem

  9. mike tyson says:

    purell, masturbation, and weed. problems solved.


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