“What I’m All About” by Steve Henn

Steve Henn


No wonder somebody from Plenty of Fish
talked to me. She wasn’t real. I got catfished.
Down here at rock bottom it doesn’t seem as funny to me
as you might think it would. Without my beer goggles on
the profile pic looks surprisingly similar to Taylor Swift.

I’m such an emotional masochist I’m just going to let
that one hang in the air like a thick skunk fart and permeate
like self-loathing that doesn’t go away even after a 25 minute
shower  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . it looked like a picture of Taylor Swift.

No one with her name in the Syracuse, Indiana, area, where she said
she’s from, could be found in a Facebook search. That didn’t seem suspicious
to me. When I told her I wrote a poem I like
instead of asking what it’s about she said “lol nice poem.”

Then she said she worked at Paradise Liqiours (sic)
and of course she has her charity organization.
Still no recognition of a red flag on my part. She asked for photos
of me, my children, and my house. Now she’s scamming someone else
as if she’s a single father from Nowhere, USA, with a seven-year-old son
exactly as adorable as mine. I never did send a photo of my house.
Or my PayPal login. Nope. All I did was give away my dignity.

I think I must’ve ignored everything that didn’t make sense
because I felt lucky a real person was talking to me.

She wanted to know the story of my life.

She wanted to know what had put me here, single in Indiana
in the wealthiest nation on Planet Earth
without a wife, such a “hansom” guy like me.

It seemed like she was really interested in me.

It seemed like she really wanted to know what I’m all about.

from Rattle #56, Summer 2017
Tribute to Poets with Mental Illness

[download audio]


Steve Henn: “I don’t often write directly about my mental health issues in my own poems. Two different times I’ve enjoyed extended stays in some of the most unhelpful psychiatric wards Indiana has to offer, but not since 1999. I see a good psychiatrist usually four times a year, and stay on my medication always. Doc S. says I’m bipolar with generalized anxiety disorder, and it’s the most accurate diagnosis I’ve ever received. I work full time and raise four kids alone—it’s important to me not to use my diagnosis to justify learned helplessness or to make excuses for myself. We get by.” (website)

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