** I’m being crushed this weekend with work, labor, and slavery—aka school. By a grace of coincidence, an old buddy of mine sent me an email out of the blue, asking if he could do a guest post for me.
He had written a poem.
Now, I SUCK at poems. I’m long-winded and have the hardest time tightening up my words. But this dude…he plays with words the way a magician twirls sparkles in the air. And the thing is…his words aren’t all flutter. They come from true anguish, experienced pain, soulful meditations. At times, these thoughts are recycled in the mind over and over again until one day, you just have to purge them out. And the result? It’s this poem.
So. Please welcome my old friend, a previous guest on Burp and Slurp who is now ready to shed his pseudonym. **
My name isn’t Joseph.
It’s Adam, and I never thought I’d be devoid of control. I never imagined I’d surrender my judgment and conscious decision making. And I couldn’t ever fathom being gripped by an addiction.
But that’s what an eating disorder is – an addiction. It’s clinging to something with every neuron and fiber of your senses. It’s living, however unconsciously, for something intensely hedonistic. Whether it be in a need to try to establish order or an acquired sense of our "right" to this food or that food, the plaguing and all-consuming drive towards a life dominated by food and exercise transcends any normal capacity for thought.
It is, as the poem says, a primordial urge. A reprogramming of a mind devoid of the capacity to reason outside the confines of the "routine" we’ve long chained ourselves to.
In this sickness, there is no Tabula Rasa, no blank slate. A mind unoccupied means a mind defaulted to developing the next contingency plan and battlefield scheme. Daydreaming is not the word.
It’s a form with no motion. It’s an existence where every second, every molecule of ATP our starved brains can retrieve is hurled into onslaught on the pacing anticipating for sustenance. That moment in the future in which senses meet the thing we deny ourselves. That brief period where the false promise of the platonic experience of taste cannot live up to the dream we’ve allowed ourselves to create.
Then the panic. Then the anxiety and punishment and rebellion. And the forced labor of having forced the thought of change onto the vestiges of an archaic way of thinking.
But the revolution is short lived; only to give way again to the surrender to an uncontrolled motion and the chemical relaxation of beating our bodies into a submission of exhaustion.
Eventually you’ll fade to something so divorced from what you were that you won’t remember life existed before.
But it did. And the true courage is to take back what you’ll never believe was there. Then, and only then, will you be free.
Portrait of an Addiction
I am heartbeats away from non-existence;
Shivering bones in a morning panic. Default setting
To primordial instinct – the first known
Search for life giving sustenance.
Wake up. Restless.
One conscious thought arises.
Long before the sun responds.
Stand before the alien in the mirror;
Whiplash scars across the back
No crown of salvation upon the skull, with
hair unkept, brown stained teeth grinding
the shallowness of purgatorial seconds, ticking slowly
as a dropping gaze fails to meet a transparent reflection,
hiding tensing anxiety beneath exposed cheekbones
and bloodshot eyes and purple hemorrhages.
The thought comes to pause a waiting skeleton.
Programmed, erased, reprogrammed again. Preprogrammed
malcontent for the descending second
in a world where the day does not exist.
Automated response. Lists to checkoff. Soundoff.
Give in to the drug of control. Easier the way
in thought unconscious. No room for error or pain in
motion unchallenged. Mental checklist; checkoff, soundoff.
Now to the map.
Consult the staff in darkened pane.
Assess the threat of coming storms.
“Sit rep, now, please,”
“What stand you to push this bound?”
“More prudent here to hold steadfast, one thinks.”
Chips in Lt. Colonel such and such.
“Economy of force to force our hand.”
A concurring aside, no doubt, quickly offered. Now
a major confidently states,
“The equation does not equate,
There is nothing to gain from this
Save faints in the twilight,
For drawn eyes to reconnoiter
in coming tempest and future fury.”
Nod in gesture. Consider the alternatives.
“Springtime there will be better ground for this”
An anonymous Captain offers.
Quips the quipping lieutenant.
Stroke a stubble on the chip.
Sequester eyes on peripheral emptiness.
Such is how generals make decisions.
Such is how self-determination surrenders.
Such is how reason kills independence.
Such is how spring is always over a horizon.
A horizon clouded.
Or hazed – I cannot tell. Where
neurons become narcotics. The pattern a syringe
between mountains and hills and grids and valleys.
Yes and no are the dealers
Everyday sustenance a currency
At hand – bartered daily. No, not just daily
But by hour and by minute and by second and by nanosecond.
Until one consuming conscious hunger overtakes
Preprogrammed, reprogrammed mind.
And the only way out is a rush that slows and a hit that
outraces each day the consuming thought to next thought
of the reprogrammed search and question and equation
And wonder (but not too long) of will it compute? will it compute?
And a the loss of identity and autonomous movement
And the purple veins popping the outraced legs
Begging for expulsion but verging on expiration
Amidst give and take and just one more mile and just one more minute.
And yet, they’re no closer to the horizon.
And that is the vision in the jungle –
The last desperate gasp of what was.
Palpitating bridge to nothingness
Pulsating confusion at the intersection
where what has become cannot decipher
old stones of what had been. Blindfolded without
discretion. Earth Angel transformation to transparent eternity
where God alone stands in judgment. Deliberating,
on the constellating waves of self-inflicted trauma.