Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Vortex

vortex: -noun; a whirling mass, something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it

An entire decade went by. I had scrambled over the cold, hard, sharp rocks of my youth and found a place that was a warm, gray, comforting mist. It was like lying down in the sauna after a grueling workout. I wanted to stay there forever.

It was an okay place to land, but a horrible place to stay. I was complacent and apathetic. I let the world go by. I let living take a backseat to existing.

I was caught in a vortex. A whirling, sucking vortex. I was swirling the drain.

It was so easy to do. I didn't even realize what was happening. I only know that I woke up one day and felt like I had an electrical current running through my veins. I looked around and there was no color in my life - everything was gray. And I thought, "How did I get here? What the fuck am I doing?!"

It took a fight to get away from that place. I had to swim sideways before I could start swimming up. It didn't happen over night. It didn't happen without hard work and pain. You think childbirth is hard on the mother? Try being the baby!

I vowed never to return to that place. I'd rather have reality, in all its harshness, and live within my life, than be in a place so comfortable that it shrouds me. Never again. Do you hear me?!

The following poem is what I wrote shortly after escaping the worst of the suck.


did not
expect this
washed grey unawake
emptied nothing, slanted
meandering thru ageless days
that melt slowly at the seams of
every tomorrow spent waiting for
something, the something that won’t come unless
sought, the something that won’t pay unless bought, it
is time past time to reach, move, crane, turn, journey, cross
to that something, to grasp it firmly by its tail, which is slippery
but can be had, to haul it into and be hauled into every wide awake
non-dreaming, undying moment of days that are only, only tomorrows
never yesterdays, it is a moment beyond the moment when you’ve
blinked unbelievingly then missed the magic perfection that you
know happened just as you blinked and no amount of
screaming or cursing will bring it back and oh
if only you hadn’t blinked or opened
your eyes again because you
did not expect this
washed grey

© Barbara Ann Black, 2010-2011


  1. Finding our own "-ness" is the hardest lesson in the world, but it is worth the pain to pursue it. Powerful as always, Barb. Love the poem!

  2. Thanks, Sarah. Nothing hurts worse than being stuck.


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