How to Swallow Your Pride – Poetry by Carson Pytell

Rene Magritte – The Therapist
Become prideful.
Exhibit your pride
to a lot of people.
People will mistake
your pride for some
sort of arrogance
because everyone
is secretly ashamed
of not being proud.
Convince people
you're not arrogant,
or at least try hard.
People will mistake
your defensiveness
for some narcissism
because nobody is
meant to be so proud,
especially of themselves.
Go to the shrink
like they'll make you
and listen to her
when she asks if
you'd not take meds
to get over a cold.
Just shrug and nod.
This will make things
very easy for her.
The script'll be there
by the time time's up
and you go back home,
so stop at Walgreens
and buy your medicine
then buy some vitamins.
In the parking lot,
pour out the meds and
replace them with B-12.
Go home and tell them
you're now medicated 
and safe to talk to.
Show them the bottle,
take one out and pop it
in your mouth, swallow.
Go upstairs, alone,
and think for a while
about people and you
and realize you've been
very manipulative and
shady and truly prideful.
Set up another appt,
tell her the truth now:
that it's not really pride,
but just a new feeling
and that you might've
gone kinda overboard.
After that session -
which flew right by - 
do everything you did
last time at the pharmacy,
except don't switch pills.
Vitamins are good too.

About the Poet

Carson Pytell is a writer living outside Albany, NY whose work has appeared widely in such venues as The Adirondack Review, Ethel Zine, Rabid Oak, Backchannels and White Wall Review. He serves as Assistant Editor of the journal Coastal Shelf and participated in the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in December 2020. His first four chapbooks, First-Year (Alien Buddha Press, 2020), Trail (Guerrilla Genesis Press, 2020) and The Gold That Stays (Cyberwit, 2021), and Sketching (Impspired, 2021), are now available.

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

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