Capitalism Is A Mental Illness… I Should Know

Shanekia McIntosh


What a peculiar thing to be content with oppression.

The doomsday clock ticks on! Persistently. On the outside of the moment. Looking, slipping.
Everyone has a hyper/reaction. How do you sound the alarm to trigger some sort of reflection
if our attention can no longer sustain, really, much of anything?


I wake up filled with dread. Chest tightened, cradling myself or attempting to
breathe, gently breathe. Slowly trying to shake off the terrors from night, haunted by long hope.
Stay in the moment. I looked in the mirror until I was finally seeing past myself, past time into a
new dimensional portal.

Yes, I am real, she says with a heavy sigh, the weight of her consciousness consuming her
taking in the world. Pupils dilated. Oxygen rushes to her head as if she was something to pop or
have popped. Spasm consumes from navel to chin. Heavier, it grows now pressed on the chest.
Heavy, the breasts, heavy, the thumb, toes. It’s all foreign, and something turns over and over and
over in the gut. It’s a manifestation of all shames—past, present and future. Shame and abuse is
all she has now. Worse yet, might be something lurking past these moments somewhere,
bit by bit, the bit by bits. I have to remind myself. Sometimes for a split second; sometimes,
longer. Break illusions, but don’t become lost in them. Return.


He walks slowly, a hazy image of snow and steps and his heavy-breathing heart racing. Finally,
his target is clear,
a cameraman, a reporter, and interviewee. Live television. A spectacle just for us. He raises his
gun and without hesitation fires on the unsuspecting.


Shopping, shopping, shopping, shopping.Without a care in the world. Today all the white people
were so nice and apologetic. Today, not only must I manage my own panic, I must somehow help
people with theirs. If I’m here just to listen and reassure, then where the fuck is my reassurance?
Today, I feel like nothing but a pitied trophy. Today I feel a responsibility that I neither desired or
aspired to. In the midst of another rousing political discussion, I openly fantasize about the
sensation of smashing my head on a wooden door over and over, till I’m covered in blood and
It’s hard to apply logic or reason to the times. Commerce is how people deal with “dark times.”
The way they snap and resort to fear tactics when I don’t agree What an effective weapon. A
powerful sword that must be yielded to. The ability to imbue someone with complete and utter
terror for their surroundings. To remove any sense of security with just a few words, regardless
of gender, sexuality or class. It is a special privilege all white people share: the ability to menace
with the weight of history behind their words. I see you wanting me subservient to your ideals. Is
it taught or learned behavior?


Dark brown dead eyes, bowl blonde cut, slim frame, and slump shoulders so browbeaten from
his lack of things-deserved, with his rag shirt hanging loose on his frame.
His fitted jeans perfectly tucked in his combat boots.
It’s unfair, he whines, unfair.
What does it mean to be in a culture war?
How does one determine a winner?
How do you identify—It’s time to face the truth that the materialistic means
Maybe, it’s time to rip it up and start again.
Nothing is sacred anymore.

I’ve begun to wonder how many times I may have inadvertently
Interacted with an enemy. They have begun to show themselves
To me now. I wonder why me. It seems to give them a rush,
The coded language now decipherable.
His eyes spinning, goading me, showing me what lies beneath
Just below the surface for only a moment.
How do I respond?
There is no middle ground, there is no reason.
I keep up the niceties of civilized society I’ve been taught.
To debate and face with reason.

Talking in circles to try and confuse me.
If I’m angry then I lose. If I remain calm and try to talk, I lose.
If I walk away, I lose. I pick up on his words, his vague threats.
Why me? I know why. I’m an anecdote to share.
We will always lose. How do we win? How do you beat them, when they walk freely amongst
There is no theory, no textbook, or history lesson to help us here.
No roaring soundtrack or inspiring leader. That is the difference. I truly believed
We didn’t need one, and today I have to deal with the fact that I need one
Because I am not one nor do I want to be one. The question he
has passed on still haunts my subconscious: Will you die for this?

It’s not about one person, one group. It never has been or will be. Should I say peace to you
overall and just look out for me and mines. Y’all not seeming to get it. She’s not getting it. I’m
not getting it.


Nothing ever seems real enough Where is the real/real?
The worlds are starting to merge; I’m visiting more often than I used to
Becoming sloppier about it. Sometimes, I hear them again in the background,
My old friends. There is this sensation when you snap your straws.
It’s as if you can feel your brain splinter. I can somehow visualize it, the blue ball of electricity
Time is an illusion. To lose track of time, no longer Participate in this social construct.
I pace around my room in a perfect circle, I then walk through my hallway, turn at the kitchen,
then head
Through the living room and then back to the hallway
And finally in my room. My loop.
It’s 8. I glance and then it’s 8 again and then again. How am I losing time?
My mind races, thinking and thinking. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m being transported
Throughout history. Something doesn’t add up. I have fully emerged myself in fear.
Something doesn’t add up: I was close then, I think, to identifying it.
I feel guilty for being sick and ashamed. For being sick, so I cover it up. I’m not allowed to be
People wax on and on about white guilt, But no one really talks about black guilt
To know millions of people have sacrificed everything, So I could be here now.
Something, doesn’t add up.
I write in my journal in bold letters. I must’ve had sense then, right?

Beware of the Cultural Imperialists for they walk amongst you but only intend on your erasure.
They live a life of historical drag. They make sure their voices are loudest.
They intend for you to doubt your truth, your ancestral history.


V. B
Sometimes, some things are best unsaid. The sad smirk I shared with Muhammad as we did our
usual dance of niceties via commercial transactions. This will help feed him and will surely help
kill me. The usual barrier is still there: that of the consumer and supplier, man and woman,
Persian and Black. We did not dissect the world affairs for five hours or cry hysterically out of
fear. It was a knowing smirk, somewhere in the eyes a little cynical, a little defeated. It was in the
moment that I realized that nothing has changed for us. He will continue to work in his family
shops, and I will continue my role of consumer—American Spirits, please—No, the light blue.
Thank you, have a nice day.
As we continue our traditional roles, the smirk does seem dire, confused. A nod. A smirk.


The doomsday clock ticks on! Persistently. On the outside of the moment. Looking, slipping.
Everyone has a hyper/reaction. How do you sound the alarm to trigger some sort of reflection
if our attention can no longer sustain, really, much of anything.