That way lies madness

by Larry Chamberlin   Dec 26, 2017

Counting again - dammit:
steps, calories, lights, days;
things that go by and
things that don’t.

Surprise myself sometimes:
beating eggs with a fork
suddenly hear an inner voice
“68 ... 69 ... 70 ... !”

Birds on a wire
rocks on the ground
people in line behind me

You follow compulsive behaviors
(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)
to avoid obsessive ideations

Yet I find the compulsion
more disturbing and insane
than facing the terrible thoughts
so I force the count to slow
to dwindle
to die out
and see what comes.

Then it comes to me:
I dread losing count.

The compulsion wins.


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Latest Comments

  • 1 year ago

    by Larry Chamberlin

    Thanks to all who commented. If you think I captured the experience I assure you it is because it is genuine

  • 1 year ago

    by CJ Maleney

    As someone who has a little OCD (diagnosed by my 11 year old) I found this one rather gravitating.

    It's funny that I never count however. I do equate though, perhaps too much so.

    Fantastic poem Larry


  • 1 year ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    I am actually in the middle of a novel where one of the main character has these compulsions, and has to count off in pairs. Just the reality and anxiety of an odd number is extremely eye-opening. It's a nightmare I'm sure people who live with this wouldn't wish on anyone, and you portrayed the struggle quite well, especially when it constantly gets in the way of everyday activities, always in the back of one's mind...

  • 1 year ago

    by Brenda

    Larry, loved this. It's so true. The compulsions, the counting, all of it. You really nailed it with this write.

  • 1 year ago

    by mossgirl19

    Oh la la...this just resonates deep and I really am in awe Larry.

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