Sad story – a poem

It’s a sad story
when it’s all about you
all that we say and all that we do
it’s all about you
and the story you tell
to anyone who
will listen, it’s sad
and it’s all about you

It’s a sad sad story
when nothing you do
all that you said and anyone who
cares – still cares – or once cared – for you
means little or less
because nothing hit home
nothing felt like anything
even when you pretended it did
it was a lie or a joke or a burden or worse
something you tell as your so-special curse

did the drugs help?
did the drugs disconnect?
did they mask or produce what you now elect
to tell as that story
that story you tell
shapeshifts by the day
no one knows what to say
since you said go away
and now it’s ‘good day’
as though nothing happened
because perhaps to you
nothing ever did and nothing ever would
though the change – or idea of it –
seemed like changing for good

so you cast off your friends
and their lifetimes of care
your family’s heart
nought for you there
you tipped up the table
and stormed to the door
then stood without leaving
so full of your lack
too stuck to go forward
too stuck to go back

you said stuff it I’m going; nought for me here
heaviest conscience, heaviest fear
stuff it these burdens, cut me some slack
fly me away please, don’t hold me back

so they gave you their blessing
and bit back their hurt
and watched as you wavered
your trousers and shirt
just as pressed as before
still distressed as before
unimpressed as before
you opened your window
but deadlocked your door

I have watched at the sideline
as the damage accrued
as they rinsed off the plates
and packed up the food
I fought your corner, til I could no more
willed you to leave without trashing the door
I said take it and fly it
I said go to your more
I said we would hold it
even when it got sore

I thought I had something
I thought I could see
that a return from a journey might be stronger and free
but there was no real journey
there was nothing to hold
as their hurt resignation
grew solid and cold

as you spat at the doorway
and kicked at the sand
closed back the window
tightened your hand
til it all got too sad
and it all got too late
I couldn’t persuade them
to stand there and wait
now I wince as I watch them
turn cold at your smile
there are no more openings
they have closed, rank and file

it’s a sad sad story
when it’s all about you
there is little to say
and nothing to do
you wished them away
and now they are gone
though you seem not to notice
this is what you have done.


About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
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4 Responses to Sad story – a poem

  1. Megan says:

    Wow Lisa, how utterly shattering, and hectic, and true. Like arrows. A brilliant and beautiful poem. I am so, so sorry.

  2. B says:

    I have a man in my life who I have ratonalized every conceivable excuse and mainstream psychiatric diagnosis for. To say I am drawn to him in a vastly powerful way is an understatement. One by one over the past year that we have been together,many of my family members have withdrawn from me, begged me to stop seeing him, warned me, yelled at me, reasoned with me, been brutally horribly embarrasingly frank over how I was being transparently used by someone who has no obvious feelings for me. Why then do I I see and bask in those feelings? Ditto my friends, who still are making the effort to pull me away from this predatory presence in my life.Yesterday an almost complete stranger approached me to say that I needed to get away from my boyfriend because he was going to harm me. I was stunned this total stranger had risked approaching me, knowing neither one of us and only having the visual impressions he drew from watching my man doing some neutral activities in a public place to go by in drawing his conclusions. This occurred an hour after my son had phoned and begged me to please end the relationship. All while my boyfriend, a psychopath–I can finally say those words–was on his best, funniest, most loving, and most charming behavior.Who could not adore him?

    I explained to my son that I was all that my boyfriend had and that I was making progress in helping him normalize and get back on track after a drug relapse. I figured in about four months he would be strong enough to make it on his own. And if that meant I had to lose everyone in my life who did not understand and was unsympathetic, then that was how it had to be. I was not going to walk away from him. After I ended the call, the weight of my words hung in the air. I sat down and thought about what I had just said and it hit me very, very hard– just like this poem. Did you write it? It is lovely.

    I then went to a website I had visited out of curiosity several times this past year on an exploratory hunch, and began to read about psychopaths. I now have been reading for about the last 12 hours. That is how I found your blog and your nakedly true, beautiful poem. It summarizes where I was 12 hours ago. Maybe where I am right now. But not where I will be in the very near future, I hope. I called and made an appointment with a psychiatrist today. Step one. When my man’s texts and calls came through today, they were blocked. I placed a filter on his emails. Will I stick to my resolve? The glaring headlights have shined in my face and I cannot pretend it is otherwise anymore. This poem is an exact mirror of my mindset and my life at various moments when I have not been truthful with myself over the past year. Thank you. B

  3. Lisa says:

    Thank you Megan. I am not much of a poem writer. But sometimes they just arrive at the door and refuse to go away til I write them down and share them. Funny old thing, this writing impulse – it can lie fallow for ages, then rip through with all the insistence of the winter snowdrops. L x

  4. Lisa says:

    Hi B, thank you for sharing your story; I so appreciate knowing that I can sometimes write something that resonates for others. Yes, I did write the poem – just a couple of days ago. It’s always fascinating to me that sending a piece of writing into the public domain offers up readings and meanings for others that are so varied, and so personal. Apropos your story, I have heard that there is an organisation called CODA (co-dependants anonymous) that also offers an excellent program for healing from the type of relationship you describe. All best, Lisa

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