sometimes I feel like I'm gonna go stark raving spontaneously-disintegrating-into-a- cloud-of-randomly-circulating-electrons batshit crazy mad if I can't roll over in bed into the arms of someone who'll love me and hold me when I feel raw scared insecure uncertain lonely even if it's only for a few minutes every few years so I don't feel so goddam alone in this world.
gemini kitten with your supernova eyes drown me in your fountain of youth. charm me with your purple advance overcome my disbelief knock my train right off its tracks reignite my burnt-out heart. win me over come inside wake me up then go away. rebel foxy feisty genius micro romance blindside flash leave me sleepless in the dark calling for my missing twin.
My poem “fused at the wound” from my first book, Iron Man Family Outing, will soon be appearing in a new book called The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us by Ross Rosenberg. Ross is a counselor/psychotherapist and the owner of Clinical Care Consultants in Arlington Heights, IL. In the introduction to his book, he writes:
This book is about real-life relationships — common everyday relationships — that many of us have experienced, but wish we hadn’t. It is also about codependents and emotional manipulators and the ubiquitous “magnetic force” that brings them together into a lasting dysfunctional romantic relationship. The reader will learn why codependents and emotional manipulators are always attracted to each other and why, despite major personal and emotional upheavals, they remain together.
I’ve found over the years that “fused at the wound” is a poem that seems to resonate very strongly with many people, both men and women alike, and I’m pleased that Ross has chosen to include it in his new book. You can watch my video reading of the poem and read some additional background about the circumstances of the poem’s creation here. For more information about Ross Rosenberg and his upcoming book, visit his website at humanmagnetsyndrome.com.
I’m also pleased to add that this isn’t the first time that another author has chosen to include an excerpt from Iron Man Family Outing in his or her own book. Last year’s book Tough Guys and True Believers: Managing Authoritarian Men in the Psychotherapy Room by psychologist John M. Robertson included two poems from Iron Man Family Outing (“learning to breathe” and “release”). The 2009 book Drinking the Dragon: Stories of the Dark Night of Soul by psychotherapist Patricia Ariadne featured several pages of excerpts and related commentary on material from Iron Man Family Outing, including selections from the following poems:
- “dad I got”
- “black noise”
- “romance death rattle”
- “fever wheels”
- “x-ray barbeque”
- “wounded man detection device”
- “gift (iron man dream #3)”
- “bridge to gate”
I’m happy to see so much material from my Iron Man book making its way out into the world in new contexts that allow more folks to see it. As I wrote some time ago on the Bio page of my website:
It’s always been my intention and my heartfelt desire that my work would provide transformational opportunities for others as well as for myself. I’m thankful to have the chance to reach new people and, hopefully, contribute to their growth and healing in some way.
Sincere thanks to Ross Rosenberg, John M. Robertson, Patricia Ariadne, and everyone else who’s shared something I’ve written, for helping me extend the reach of my work by incorporating some of it into your own.
When I was younger, I used to spend this time of the year making all sorts of commitments and promises to myself about what my life would be like a year later. Every year I’d promise myself that I wouldn’t spend another whole year of my life without love and that I’d finally find a way to support myself with truly meaningful work. I dutifully identified goals and objectives, and wrote them all down. I prayed and visualized. I applied myself in every way I knew how. But the things that mattered most to me, love and work, have never changed.
My last relationship ended over sixteen years ago, and it wasn’t even all that good. The one before it was even worse. Sometimes I feel incredibly sad, irritable, angry, and dissatisfied and I’m not sure why. Then I remind myself that I’ve been without love for nearly two decades. What was for many years an open, gaping wound in me that was always at the forefront of my consciousness is now so buried under years of coping, pattern, habit, and routine that I’m barely aware it’s still with me, but it’s there. It doesn’t howl as loudly and as often as it used to, but it makes itself known to me in other ways if I pay attention.
The holidays have been difficult for me this year in ways they hadn’t been in several years. I’ve felt that familiar wolf bite of loneliness, that old cold emptiness in my chest, more acutely in the last couple of weeks than I have in some time, and familiar questions about how I could ever possibly do anything about it have been trying to seep into my thoughts. I learned a long time ago how to push them away, to keep myself pointed forward and living with what I’ve got, but like that gaping wound of lovelessness, they slip into the background of my psyche, but never really go away.
As for work … work never really changes. The work that matters to me is what I share here, on my website, and in my books. The work I do for money matters only for money. I do it because I have to. Up until recently, I still had illusions of somehow translating what I do because I love it into what I do for money. That seems increasingly unlikely to me now. I’ve been working non-stop for the last 5+ years to make that change and I’m no closer to it today than I was when I started.
My first book, Iron Man Family Outing, will be going out of print soon, probably within the year, and without some help from who knows where, there’s no reprint coming. It’s also looking less and less likely to me that my second book, Scapegoat’s Cross, will ever see the light of day. I completed the manuscript in September 2009 (right before I broke my right wrist and shoulder in a fall) and I’ve made absolutely zero progress since then in developing either the art needed to finish the book or any sort of satisfactory scenario with regard to publication.
Sometime within the next few months, I’ll undoubtedly (and hopefully, if I want to keep eating) return to my standard anonymous schmuck in a cubicle routine, and the luxury of autonomy and devoting my days to what truly moves me will once again be a memory, maybe for several years. Maybe for good, given my age and finances.
I used to feel like I could change anything in my life if I really wanted to do it and really applied myself. That used to work, too. It’s a good thing it did because that’s how I survived a pretty bad childhood and made a life for myself as an adult without the kind of help a lot of kids receive when starting out. The conviction that “I deserve better and I can get it” has been the fuel that’s kept me going time after time when I’ve found myself abandoned, betrayed, disappointed, and pressed to the edge of oblivion by people and circumstances.
That conviction is still there in me, but it’s been muted by years of learning, very reluctantly, that commitment, desire, will power, and the willingness to go all in don’t necessarily get me what I want and deserve. Maybe this is yet another unwanted lesson that comes with being an involuntary passenger on that sinking ship known as aging. It would probably be a good topic of conversation with a trusted older mentor who’s some years down the road from me in time, but I’ve never had anyone like that in my life either.
So here I am at the beginning of another new year, wanting to make the same old promises to myself: “I won’t spend another year alone. I won’t spend another year wasting my life doing meaningless work.” It all has the vague feel of some fairy tale I can’t quite recall, something about someone who’s been entranced and is doomed to repeat the same promises and patterns year after year after year. Every year he returns to the mirror, sees himself another year older, and repeats the same promises. Promises he once meant and believed with all his being that are now nothing but dim remnants of fading hope. Promises, once held high like torches on a dark path, that now slip through graying heart and hands like the last fraying strands of a life, however deeply felt, that never was.
I wish I could remember how that fairy tale ends, if it even exists at all. I don’t want another year of empty promises. They may be all I have, but promises I can’t keep are promises not worth making to anyone, least of all to myself.
I don’t always have a clear memory (or any memory at all) of writing a poem, but I remember writing this one well. Where I was and what I was feeling that evening 23 years ago when I wrote it are as vivid and real in my memory today as they were in the present moment then. It was one of many hard landings I’ve experienced after trying to hold on to someone who was already long gone.
I’ve also found this poem elsewhere on the web along with some very nice accompanying art. Unfortunately, that version has a rather significant misquote in the final line of the poem. If I could figure out the identity of the artist and a way to contact him or her, I’d see if I could get that misquote fixed, but so far all of my sleuthing has come up empty. Such is life on the interwebz.
sometimes when I stop and think about it I can hardly believe that no one loves me not one woman in all the world. sixteen years in loveless wilderness waiting not waiting trying not trying hoping not hoping coping not coping. still starving but no longer hungry a steady diet of poison treats and gut punches has killed my appetite. I remember what I was like how much I trusted how much I was willing to give once upon a time poor guileless innocent eager naïf on the game board bright eyes and bright heart both bruised and bled dry over and over by tricks and traps toxic affections love that was not love. now I feel like a piece of spoiled meat. now I trust strippers and hookers more than I trust the girl next door 'cause they'll never be able to lure me in break me down and slice me open the way she can.
watching leaves turn riding through mountains dreaming of oceans dining in splendor. landscapes unseen faraway planets hearts beating softly sleeping in springtime. fingers inside her panting and sighing rising and falling bottomless lake. time without time space without space face like a mirror she is my river. who comes in dreams who has no name I wait for her my unknown love.
I wait for tears to come gently like soft spring rain tears that will fall like diamonds from the sky wise little pearls harvested at great expense she doesn't want me anymore.
well she's gone alright two weeks gone + now initial euphoria of it's about time + thank god that's over slowly gives way to really alone again + what now + why. it's not a vacation she's not coming back I know it but don't understand it mourning is still just a concept to me so I pitch + toss instead of sleeping catch a cold instead of weeping. alone in the house we used to live in our room empty her room empty my room exactly as it was a time warp where she's still outside my door. hyperactive spirit cats haunt the echo hallway biting my hands + fingers in the night clawing at love's closed door sleep is impossible at best + goddammit I wanna know why was it so easy for her to give up on me.