"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Crutch

Your fingers slide into the palm of your addiction
press intently...red crescent moons anchoring
into the fleshy thing that has become your Bathsheba.

The one glance you stole
has become a hot need in your pants
quivering, seeking, alive.
And if it's alive, then to deprive it is death,
and so we don't.
Nicotine, alcohol, drugs, pornography, aggression...

What if I told you, you could live without it?
What if you believed me?
What then?
It makes you nervous just to consider that you could...
don't it? Yeah. I know.

There was a man.
He lived without a face.
13,800 volts for 3 minutes and his face was gone.
He took down all the mirrors, saying
"on occasion I would catch my reflection in a butter knife
and that was enough."

He lived without something as fundamental as features.
And then again,
they aren't so fundamental are they?
We think our face is unique and intrinsic to our identity.
But I look like Cindy Williams
and Sally Fields
and that neurosurgeon in Lodi
and that girl you kissed under the bleachers.

But a man without a face?
I am humbled by that man.
It's amazing what we can live without as soon as we have to.
Perhaps we should live that way
before the choice...no longer ours.


  1. I think I'm gonna go walk out into traffic now.

  2. @ Travis - Dude, Why do you read here? You know it's rarely upbeat and not for the faint of heart :)

  3. your writing is...I have no words for it. I have had to live without all too many things in my life. Usually after it was to late, Or maybe too late. Thanks for the truck.

  4. Bah, who would read upbeat poetry for the faint of heart? "Today I hugged a puppy/ It made me yell yuppy!" No? Doesn't work. You've got to feel something genuine and real from the artist. I think you did that tonight, Annie. Loved the profound stories built in around the larger themes. Makes me wonder what a face or identity really is in the end.

  5. I think we all are addicted at various levels to some thing(s), even those who have the will to abstain from the more obvious ones. It’s all a matter of self-awareness. It’s only those who are selfish with their addictions that bother me. Those who let the addictions hurt themselves and as a result everyone else around them.
    You do look like those you mentioned, even the girl, long ago, under the bleachers.
    Of course I think the above writing is great, easy to become addicted too.

  6. @ Wander - You're welcome. It looks good parked in your yard :)

    @ Ben - The face is a highly recognizable differentiator between persons. But it makes me wonder. If I were blind, some other aspect of people would be more profound. I would like to live with a more prominent recognizer than features. I would like to be less addicted to things. Um...er..."yuppy"? Say it ain't so.

    @ Anthony - Yes. Everyone has their addictions, and levels of, that we hurt ourselves and others with. So often we seem like people of so little will power. And other times we have amazing strength. We are never the same two days in a row.

  7. I also linked this post on Twitter. Hope that was okay http://twitter.com/#!/benditty

  8. very ,,,sumpin,,, i am in the right mood now..thanks,, really,,, i am way behind on nano...ms wine just gave me a spurt of energy...

  9. annie, this is one complex poem and i love it. i don't find it down or depressing at all: for me you are talking about who we are at a level deeper than our sometimes foolish habits and sometimes overplayed appearances.

    i'm holding on to some of my addictions. passion, for one. sometimes i've found myself in the wrong* place longing for it and i'm slowly learning that the passion within me can be expressed in many different forms, but to know that i do and can love deeply, even recklessly; well, i'm glad i know that. and i've put an * beside 'wrong' because i'm still not sure i should judge myself that way.

    now, all that said, i think it's adorable that you look like cindy williams and sally fields and some neurosurgeon and that KISS under the bleacher. that is a gift to you from the universe and my advice would be to honor and treasure it, period. no comparisons with faceless folks necessary. they have their own share of gifts and trials.

    and since i'm writing a mini book here, may i say too that i am very glad that we have met. you are good for my mind and heart and i hope you feel the same way.


  10. every person looks in the mirror and sees their mistakes, their addictions, their weaknesses...i know i do...but how often do we look at ourselves and see what we've overcome, what we've learned, what we love about ourselves?

  11. don't we become less and less?
    or perhaps i have that confused with more and more?

    no, i think i was right, less and less. i'm not sure what i look like any more. i'm often surprised.

    i am addicted to feeling and poetry and silence and spontaneous dancing. no shit. don't you take any of that from me:)


  12. One thing that really surprises me is if we deny ourselves anything for a long enough time, how we try to convince ourselves its okay ... just one ore time ... or just this time ... we're so much more fallible than we often want to admit.

  13. I am humbled by your words/poetry. I'm addicted to you. ;-) Love you!!!

  14. "It's amazing what we can live without as soon as we have to.
    Perhaps we should live that way
    before the choice...no longer ours."

    It's amazing the things we can do when we HAVE to...

    I don't know how many times I've come back and have read this poem...


  15. @ Ben - You Tweet? You do it all Ben!

    @ KJ - Yes! I love ya. You don't just blow smoke up my ass....so thanks for that. I like what you said. I'm still thinking about it...the outlets for passion and creativity being a part of that. I'm not giving up my wine. Not today. Nor my chocolate. But I could live without them....this I know.

    @ EcoGrrl - A good and valid point. A positive to my negative. I like it, and wish I did it more.

    @ Erin - I have no desire to take spontaneous dancing from anyone!! Heck, if I had magic dust...it would be spontaneous dancing.

    @ Matt D - Yes. We can talk ourselves in and out of most things. We are our own best friend or enemy within different circumstances. I am thinking about the movie Castaway and all the things that Tom Hanks had to learn to live without...and how he DID!

    @ Marion - and I by your spirit, my Poetess. ((Hugs)). I mailed you something today :)

    @ Shoes - Thanks for reading Professor, and for reading again. A wonderful compliment (or, the poem was clear as mud!) :)

  16. ahh such a scary thought... both the concept of living without attaining identity, at least at a "fundamental" level of the self; and the idea of forgoing it all while we have the upper hand.. while the choice remains ours. we are all so scared of both, but we also fear so much the idea of being burned or rejected or labelled. there appears to be no ground to find peace and just be. i guess it's part of what makes life so interesting.

  17. I think of the blind and how they identify people by voice, even smell. In the movies a blind person always touches someone's face to 'see' them, but I'll bet it doesn't happen nearly as often as that. Interesting piece, Annie.

  18. I wonder what I am without the things I hold to. It's a question worth pondering.

  19. @ Ben I just read your first comment and laughed aloud! Thanks I needed a gut laugh.

  20. it's interesting. i realize i don't recognize myself until the picture is at least five years old. and then i miss that person. and i stop recognizing her.
    we can always live without, i suppose. i think it's just replaced with something else. his lack of a face became his new addiction, perhaps? this lack?

  21. thats one refreshing read right there, i thank you for that

  22. Aight, Seems to have some smart asses on here. If you didn't know already, I was being a smartass. Why do I read here? I guess I won't.

  23. I wallow in my addictions like a pig in shit. When you accept yourself, and let go of expectations, you're free.

    As long as your dope isn't hurting little kids. Then you must be stopped.

  24. annie, this is vain of me but i posted a new poem i wrote and i kinda want you to see it. it's the post before the ducks.


  25. i think of leaving identity behind when leaving this life. losing our face is a big part of that. this is all temporary anyway...

  26. you can, I have...lived without a face, I just hide in the corner and lock the door, close the curtains...

    you send shivers down my spine


Thank you for listening.