Saturday, January 10, 2009

Falling Through, Wounded

Here is a dream sequence, kind of serious, I fear. So here is the I the only one who sometimes doesn't measure up to the dream of me? I get caught staring at the man I could be. It is one way this poetry answers questions for me. I get to be my poems. In them I get to be twins sometimes. This is as real as it gets, by God.

Falling Through

I tried to do right
Like my Dad said to, like him,
But my twin did it
And I could not. I fell through
The ice instead of skating
Free of the blue cracks.
My twin does fine turns while I
Stare out from beneath.


In AA I often ask the question of newcomers, straight from How It Works, "how far are you willing to go?" I recall a guy saying once, "Staying sober today is easy. All you have to do is find a cop and hit him. You will stay sober for awhile before you find any pruno." That's going pretty far. Yet a relationship with God may cost some of us dearly.


My skin is broken.
I am left stripped, scalped, seeping.
Yet I breathe and pray.

If you would come by today
I would find a covering
Of my naked flesh.

I would place an offering
At your holy feet.


  1. Oh yes, our perfect twin, the
    would be us of our mind. Yet
    no one is perfect and we would
    be so boring if we were.
    Even the people we hold in high
    esteem are far from perfect,
    just try loving them.

    And though wouned we carry on
    in hope.

    Both of your poems are so deep
    and spiritual so honest.

    Thank you Christopher.

  2. I so want to be my perfect twin, yet I'm kinda comfortable in the flawed me too.

  3. Ah Cynthia...You are so real and true. I smile whereever I see your butterfly because I know how I can trust you to be real in your words. Thank You

    I grew up with one of the finest men I have ever known and he was an alcoholic until the day he died.
    He had so many other defining points of character.

    I did not always know about the finer points of his character. I have not reinvented him. I now know and love his imperfections his inconsistencies and yes even the crazy things we grew up with.

    I talked with him just 30 minutes before he died of a massive coronary. At the time I was working at an inpatient alchoholism treatment program.

    He fussed at me saying he had never expected me to preach to him also. He agreed to enter treatment the following week in a hospital where my cousin worked. He had many health problems.

    What if we only had a week to live? Thirty minutes? I know corny.
    Thank you for your poems. They often make me cry

  4. Cynthia, That twin is not perfect, just better than me at critical moments...Perfection is not required in most things at all.

    I am a musician as well as a poet. It is much more true in music that the flexibility is often as important as the excellence. If I hit the wrong note I have immediate choices, none of which is to stop, usually, though I have seen that work too. Most often though is to continue somehow as if the mistake is of small consequence. You pick up where you would be if it hadn't happened. Shortly no one really remembers unless it's their job to be a critic.

    If it is possible, the better choice is the "I meant to do that" choice. That leads to real creative moments because it forces the music forward in new directions.

    I have sort of taken this road in my poetry of late. I write coming from the wonders that I find in the blogs I read. It's their notes start me down the roads I go. What happens is often surprising to me. The twin did not exist until I got there. What did exist was the photo of thin ice I took off from.

  5. Jess, It certainly is one day at a time. I like your sobriety counter. I like how hungry you are for your new life. "Meeting makers make it" "Coffee makers make it" Thanks for being here. I will celebrate another sobriety anniversary in a few weeks.

    I will not be saying a whole lot about AA on this blog as far as I know.

  6. Linda, My wife intervened on me in order to save herself if she could, back in 1983. I got sober then. She was a social worker, the daughter of an alcoholic suicide mother, and she married me, the son of a dry drunk mother who never drank because her mother and father and siblings did. Mom threw rage fits that blacked her out sometimes. These were not often but the last one nearly killed her. Then she recovered, sort of, mainly by keeping her life unemcumbered with relationships which could trigger her. She was somewhat lonely, but not terribly.

    Later, my wife found out that fixing the outsides just never works. She cracked open and crashed behind depression and her own alcoholism. I am convinced she had to get me sober to get the family tableau right, the drunk wife and the sober husband. We both knew this would kill us both. Divorce was essential and she started it precisely because she knew that not only she would die but she would die first and me shortly after. And this would be her fault, just like it was before in her family of origin. This is not how I saw it, how she saw it.

    But I agreed to the divorce because it was killing me to stay that close to her. I joined Al-Anon at 10 years sober and stayed in it for 10 years, though we divorced in year 4. Finally, in 2001, my wife died alone in the fetal position on the far side of her bed from the door so she couldn't be seen. Her sister who tried to save her life found her there. I am pretty sure she had just run out of money. They listed kidney failure. She was severely ill of complications which started the overt alcoholism so saying drinking killed her is moot. Everything killed her. Being guilty of giving her mother the prescriptions from the drug store that her mother used to suicide? stuporously od? who knows? that also killed her as surely as anything - that her dad died in two weeks of a heart attack after her mother - that more certainly killed her when she was 54.

  7. Hi Christopher. Your comments here, especially those about your family, are as moving as your posts and poems. The story of your family and your wife's family...and then your wife's story... Well, it's a chain of tragedies. They're always chains, aren't they?

    I like "Falling Through" - it reminds me of my own struggle with constantly disappointing my father.

    I really like the space you make here. Your honesty is refreshing.

  8. Charli, Thank you so much for your comments. As to the honesty, one thing 26 years of AA and 10 in Al-Anon do is toughen you up in the area of honesty and truth telling. Al-Anon especially, where they have the slogan "Say what you mean, mean what you say, don't say it mean."

    But we (not only I) don't tell the truth and be honest because we aspire to some higher way. Al we are doing is saving lives. You first if I can, but then me. In the beginning it was me first and then you if I could. Sometime it has to reverse on pain of losing sobriety. That likely means losing my life.

  9. Amazing poetry and amazing comments. So moving to hear the stories of others. Honesty can be so hard, especially to one's own self. I especially like "Falling Through". Sometimes it is not just one twin that I find...but many splinters of me (and none of them perfect), each one trying to find a way to do the "fine turns". Thank you for sharing so much...everyone.

  10. Faith, thank you. I find the format here permits honesty quite nicely for the same reasons it could permit a real bullshit artist to operate. There is a distance here, a kind of anonymity because I do not have access to all of you, nor you me. This is not so far from the strangers on the train deal, at least until real relationships are built up.

    Again, in AA, we notice this. There we often tell each other stuff we would not tell wives or husbands or bosses or coworkers or even friends critical to our well being somehow. But we will tell these things to each other in the wierd relationships we build there. Just tonight a woman said that I was her longest true man friend ever in her entire life, known basically only in meetings, that she considers me a real friend but hardly knows my last name and has never been to my house or anywhere else with me but the occasional dinner or something like that, usually some kind of celebration. This is twenty years of relationship. She knows stuff I did not tell my late wife. I know stuff about her too.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!