Carlos Antonio Piñón

artist, writer, performer


by Carlos Antonio Piñón
January 26, 2015

Part I: Gust

On your way over, pick up some disinfectant. / Nikki cut her thigh four times. / English teacher gave up helping weeks ago, / Art history teacher pending action / after no trigger warning on a suicide exhibit, / riding her ass about assignments that / she could not motivate herself to do / because even thinking about the class exhausted her / before she got out of bed, / and how the hell does anyone pay / for a treatment center to get better? / Nikki cut her thigh four times. / Nikki cut her thigh four times. / She knew how to disinfect her wounds / because she attempted before. / This time she was preparing for Timberline Knolls, / a renown treatment center for women. / To get her set and ready to go, I washed dishes, / Madeline read songs off iTunes for the treatment playlist, / and Nikki cleaned her room while on the phone with Joe. / She wanted to know if he'd stay. She was leaving Monday. / He said he would, even though they just met. / We packed her bags and residence life took us to Northwestern. / Nikki cut her thigh four times.

Part II: Gale

We sat outside for a long time while the attending examined Nikki. Apparently the stuffed animal she brought for comfort was a sign of pretension. After all, according to the doctor, art universities deserve to be surrounded by giant walls. The official diagnosis: she's a brat. This didn't stop the aging doctor from giving up hope. Instead, he much preferred to take it from his patients. Nikki said she was going to Timberline Knolls. He said, No you're not. I heard of that place. You're not gonna get any better there. Perhaps my school should build a wall around to keep ourselves from people who can't do their jobs.

Part III: Whiff

Cold, turkey sandwiches / and a hell of a lot of waiting, / but not a single person / asking if Nikki is okay.

Part IV: Storm

When Nikki decided to talk to Residence Life / about her self-abuse, she wasn't looking for attention. / She wanted to be somewhere safe in case / she gets the impulse to end it. / She was worried for herself and put her faith / in the hands of doctors at Northwestern. / Nikki requested to speak to a different doctor / so that someone may help her. / We were there for her / and the doctor had the audacity to ask about us / as if we were the patients. / Did you think about how it's gonna affect them? / I still have trouble understanding their concern / for everyone except their patient. / Nikki's not just some dumb, blonde girl that / they could just stick in the hallway. / When they called her mom before being admitted / or signing any papers, / she stood up and demanded to be discharged. / You can't hold me here, I want to leave she said. / With a smirk in his face, the original doctor said, / Well then go, I won't stop you, but you won't be able to leave. / Nikki couldn't say much else. / He said, You told me you were scared you might kill yourself. / Isn't this what you wanted? / You've got the whole hospital looking at this scene you cause. / If he wanted to talk about scenes, he should have waited / 10 minutes for a man to be wheeled away / for trying to attack a nurse. / He tried to yank himself from his restraints / in an attempt to get back at the spics and niggers. / I bet the doctor would have blamed that on Nikki, too / if I said that scene would stay with me,

Part V: Breeze

Nikki sat back down, admitted against her will. / Then forced to Chicago Lakeshore when her insurance isn't taken. / She may have been defeated there, but it was not her own doing. / When placed with people who support her, she came out on top.

Carlos Antonio Piñón

Carlos Antonio Piñón is an artist and writer examining how people interact with words and language. His main interests include nonfiction essays, artists' books, and databending sonification. Carlos holds an BFA with an Emphasis in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago.