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The Hollow Man

[Poetry (General--not Contest)]

Have you seen the hollow man? He stands alone computing social variables, Balancing his drink and his desire with desperate skill. His aching need for intimacy battling his fear of rejection. The social dance swirls around him. He floats like refuse caught in a whirlpool. When he was young, He sensed there was something wrong. As he grew older, he knew he suffered from a curious blindness, A hollow space inside that rendered him imperfect, A blindness of the heart not the eyes. He felt his way, Blundering into the invisible barriers, Running numb fingers over the braille bumps of relationships, Struggling to understand his place in the world, Frustrated that he could not see. He grew older, A tsunami of destitution, The tidal wave of yearning for companionship, Crested and battered him against jagged coral solitude until his heart bled. When he could no longer cope with loneliness, He numbed the pain, Embarking on a grand experiment. The fellowship of the self-medicating provided respite. Need lingered on, ghostly and obscured by the haze of the high. The experiment left him ravaged and alone, Stranded on a rocky shore. Deep darkness descended. Vortices of misery dragged him downward. Each day was a battle to survive as madness sapped his strength. His intellect fought the current of persistent paranoia. Endless days followed eternal nights, Until grey dawn broke. He resolved to live a normal life, A blind man, resolving to perceive the sliding scale of normalcy. Its marking lines were blurry and indistinct even on his brightest days. He inhaled deeply, but its intoxication eluded him. Dysfunction is only a label people say. The gluey back still sticks. The label brought relief, Knurls on the barbell that he carried all his life, A secure place to grip the weight and hoist it heavenward and triumphant. His intellect staggered under the load of revelation, But he hoisted life’s mysteries overhead. The sun broke through. Life is an equation with shifting values. He formulated rules and procedures to solve the variables. It was arduous effort and exhausting toil. There was no thought of turning back, The Promised Land in sight. So have you seen the hollow man? He stands alone computing social variables, Balancing his drink and his desire with expectant skill. His aching need for intimacy overcoming his fear of rejection. The communal dance swirls around him. He drifts from one encounter to the next, Doing social equations in his head. He interviews, interrogates and probes you for your interests. He seeks some common ground, a place you both can stand, To share the meaning of your lives. Have you met this man?


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