Getting to Know my Neurotransmitters

Serotonin, with her blue bonnet and gingham dress
that rustles on her way to church: gentle nurse
who salves the bites and abrasions of the day,
calms me when my feet twirl like propellers,
convinces me to slide the kitchen knife back in its block,
to tie elk-hair caddices instead of nooses,
and hang nosegays from my nose to please my love.

GABA, with his scruffy gray beard and wheezing
laugh, his soporific tales of cattle drives,
his mesquite-flavored grub that fills me up
and makes me lie in my bedroll, lost in the stars.

Endorphin, with her corkscrewy red hair,
her Southern Comfort voice that gets me goose-loose,
lifty-drifty, creamy-dreamy, stoned as a martyr
by marshmallows I catch and eat with the whipped
cream clouds puff and piff onto my tongue.

Dopamine: smarter than he looks with his buck teeth
and straw hat, nutty Norepinephrine on his arm.
Five minutes with them, and I’m Fortune’s Son.
My muscles twitch. Thoughts siren
through my brain’s clogged streets. Fun?
Yes, it is; but stay too long, and weathermen
start spreading rumors that I’m gay,
and dogs bark, “Kill the bitch!” as I drive by.

High time, then, for Acetylcholine, lithe
in her sports bra – wing-footed
triathlete who brings my muscles orders
from my brain, then lights their fuses
so that I can dance, or scratch my ear, or run –
so that, when my eyes discover you in bed,
my hands and lips and other parts can do
every little thing your brain wants to do.



“Getting to know to Know My Neurotransmitters” first appeared in Gulf Stream #21 (2004).