Why I Hold Out.

Why I Hold Out, By Brian James Rational Poet on FB/META and @brianrrs37 on Twitter)

Time is a rope
You cling to
Can let go of

It burns your palms
As it slips away
It teases you
With another day

It is indifferent
To all
It cares not
If you rise or fall

I don’t think of it
As pleasure or pain
I think of time
As something I live in

I don’t judge
Those who give in
But I still would be

That if I had embraced
The abysses
Way back then
This beautiful dark poem

Your labor’s written,
Today I would not be reading
I often feel sorry for Plath
Mental illness , of her did grasp

I have been on
That same path,
But all the weights
And ropes and chains

And bamboo shives
Under my fingernails
It all pales to me,
If I had never read

Her dreams and nightmares
As the same I read
Such similar nakedness

I wish I could have
Stopped her
And told her
I need her

She is gone
And she
Will never know
How many she has inspired

Yes I deal
With many of the same
Horrors and anxiety
That would make Everest

Seem smaller than
An electron
But once you are gone
And the deed is done

Your pen dies with you
I have no kids
No one to carry my name
But I still want to live

My poetry my baby
And that I live for
That I would crawl
Over hot coals

And shards of glass
To write some more
To my last breath
I’m not done yet.

This poem was inspired by a fellow poet Ellie Thomson, and recently several of them. She has a wonderfully dark tone that is sad, sometimes horrifying, and at the same time cathartic.

I watched a recent crash course video on reading Sylvia Plath and the guy said something about suicide I 100% agree with, something like “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.

I have been suicidal several times in my life. I remember once being 18 stories up on a condo balcony, leaning over the edge, thinking “what if”. I have also especially had those thoughts taking care of my elderly mother, feeling like I had failed her when she ended up in the hospital. And I had a very deep crash depression after she died. It was like being in a blender but it wasn’t just blades as blades, but brass knuckles, barb wire, rubber hoses, drowning in a mixture of sulfuric acid and salt and vinegar and mace.

But then I read others poems and their pain, and not just Ellie, but others as well, and I want them to know, it is cathartic to me to read their work as well. It is not just a bandage, it is a purge, it doesn’t cure, nothing gets cured, but it is what helps me wake up and face the day. And it inspires me to write about my own life and my own ups and downs.

Ellie, and to others, nobody can tell you what the thoughts in your head should be, or how you should live your life. I can only speak for myself in saying that if I had gone over that railing 18 stories up back in the early 90s, you would not be reading the poem you inspired in me that you are reading right now.

You are entitled to feel whatever you feel and no one should ever dare try to take that from you. Feelings, while they can be shared, the are still isolated ultimately in the individual. But the things conveyed in expression of such are not only a help to you, they will help others, even far more others whom you may never know read your work.


4 responses to “Why I Hold Out.”

  1. Thanks for sharing such a poignant, painful, beautifully worded poem, Brian. Thank you, too, for writing it as a comment on my recent ‘ Another Day’ poem. I’m very humbled that you mentioned my work in this post with such kind and generous words. I can identify with finding other writers’ work cathartic. I instantly feel less alone when I read something another blogger has written and can connect with it. I can connect with that person and feel that I understand what they’ve been through because of the words they have written, not that I’d wish those feelings and thoughts on my worst enemy. Your description of being in a blender at that time is just so spot on to how I’ve felt. I’m sorry you have been in such a painful place, too.

    I, too, have been suicidal in the past and have attempted it many times years ago. I regret it now, as my attempts left my family quite traumatised by my actions. I ended up in ICU on one occasion and was told I was lucky to still be here. I didn’t feel fortunate then and was sectioned in a psychiatric hospital for six months. It was horrific. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned those times on my blog. Perhaps, I should think about sharing my thoughts on that. It might make someone else feel less isolated and alone in desperation. Do take care of yourself, my friend. X 🤍


    • You are therapy for others, just know that. I have never been more productive in my writing than I have this year. Most of it is because I have read others and responded, like here. If anyone is to be thanked it would be you. Be yourself, be kind to yourself too. It can be very difficult. I am my own worst critic and my severe anxiety causes me to self blame a lot. It is hard when you are in that spiral rabbit hole to see others extending a hand, but they are there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much, Brian. I do certainly identify with being in that spiral rabbit hole. I, too, am my own worst judge and often dish out harsh words to myself, a habit I’d do well to get rid of (if only it were that easy). I think I’ve also written more in the last few months than I have in the nearly nine years of blogging (apart from at the very beginning when I really wasn’t well mentally and was full of self-absorbed feelings.) I also read so many more good blogs now, too, so I’m learning a lot from others. It’s so good to know that people are there for me (and you). I honestly don’t know what I’d do without my blog and my wonderful, patient and understanding blogging buddies. I owe them all a lot.


      • Those short 9 pages are nothing compared to my 30 years writing, but in terms of clusters I have written more in the past 3 months than I have in the past 5 years. And it is great when you have compassionate understanding people supporting you too. You write really great stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

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