Eighteen Ways I Live With My Self

Copyright 2023 James C Horner

Raising my arms calms my spirit,

balances my blood pressure as I breathe.

Broadening my chest with arms wide open

unties my knotted stress.

Painting rainbows colors my anxiety.

My arms arch side-to-side like waves.


I circle my arms to part the clouds. Waves

of dizziness float away from my spirit.

I repulse eight monkeys giving me stress,

finally get them off my back. Lungs open,

I row my boat on a calm lake, breathe

out, and in, and try to drown anxiety.


I cast my cares to the Divine, depopulate my social anxiety.

My palms float up as I play with these nighttime waves.

To gaze at the moon, I frame my hands and look for the spirit

shining through. What do I want to stress?

Right and left, I twist and push my palms open.

Like a slalom skier, I don’t forget to breathe.


Lethargy. I shake off. Wave my hands. Like clouds. Breathe.

My eyes pull me past sticky anxiety.

I hinge down and scoop the sea’s waves,

fling up the water and embrace the sky, smile with a holiday spirit.

Now I’m in the waves. It is a pleasing fear. Stress

pops salty bubbles as the infinite skies open.


Tightness in my chest returns. I open

my wings and fly like a dove. I breathe.

It is not all bunnies and rainbows. My fighting spirit

coils out with punching fists. My ring-side manager cheers and waves!

I fly like a wild goose. Down below is anxiety

I have to live with, mud-sucking stress.


I am stuck with spinning my wheels. Why not stress

going in circles? whirl my arms about me, open

to my seven- year-old self bouncing a ball as I breathe

innocence before the time of General Anxiety.

I stop hopping. The tinnitus hums in waves.

My palms press in my scattered energy and spirit.


Send off::

My spirit makes a companion of stress.

I breathe like the wind blowing the gates open.

I no longer fight anxiety. My bright angel waves.

2 thoughts on “Eighteen Ways I Live With My Self

  1. This is an interesting poem on how you reduce stress and anxiety in your life. However, I would cut back/tighten the piece. It just gets to be too drawn out with the ‘methodology’, the reader is taken in and out of so much activity. One thought is to end on the line: “Stress pops salty bubbles as the infinite skies open.” An upbeat way to end the piece. Overall, some really great imagery here, including, “Painting rainbows colors my anxiety” and “I circle my arms to part the clouds.” Lovely.

  2. Phenomenal … Captures a lot for me in the imagery of Tai Chi and coping with discovering emotions that are intense Within Me. Teaches me that I am never alone. And there are many healthy and creative ways to play and fight and grow.

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