the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

the drowning man.


Tamara Wood’s About the social change you want to see prompted me to dig down deep before I started to blog, to a funky old BBS in Ann Arbor, MI that’s still running somehow.  I think I might be able to submit this to the No More Shame project as well, if there’s still time.

I was really inspired to write poetry then.  Looking back now, I see that even then I was writing about my inner pain, although I didn’t feel safe enough to write about it more directly in prose.  There were a few poems I wanted to choose from, but the following sums up so much with mental illness, trauma, fear, and so many other things I was dealing with:

[Mar 8 19:09 EST 1999, from the poetry conference at Grex (with one small edit)]

the drowning man.

a plethora of feelings
still come to engulf me
or drag me in
when i find them unexpectedly

sometimes they come like a great wave
crashing down on me
or a swirling whirlpool
spinning faster and faster
or there are the times
i am forced to wander
through the jungle of life
and i misstep
into emotional quicksand
that gradually sucks me in

so many emotions flowing about me
but so often dark and murky
i can't see
and i'm not sure how long i can
tread through them
as i gasp for logic

take my hand
i'm drowning inside

[note: this was inspired by U2’s “Drowning Man”]

Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

15 thoughts on “the drowning man.

  1. Very nice piece. Thank you for linking up with The Reverie!


  2. I, too, have found myself writing poetry when the subject matter disturbed me too much to write it in prose. The words simply came out as poetry. I had no intention of writing poetry, but it was the only way I could express those memories or thoughts.


  3. Poetry is really such a good outlet, I do the same since sometimes it is just too hard to admit to the truth… and peotry lets you do so in style.


  4. Very powerful and raw, Jak. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂


  5. I think many of us have been in the position of drowning in our emotions, and yes, there are times when we just can’t express those feelings in any other way than through poetry. For through poetry, our disjointed thoughts can be somehow brought together so that the insanity of feelings that wash over us can be released, leaving room for peace to finally enter in. Thank you for sharing your pain, for in doing so, you give others the freedom to share and release theirs as well.

    God bless you,


  6. Excellent, and reliable…


  7. I live with the “black dog.” Right now things are good. I don’t take any SSRI’s because I don’t like the side effects. I’ve learned a few coping techniques to get through the worst of it, but it’s always difficult to make myself go to work when it’s weighing heavy on me.
    All my life I’ve had people tell me to “just think happy thoughts” and “stop being so negative” when things turn bleak. People, if it was that easy, I would have done it!
    Thank you for sharing your words. They are so real and honest.


    • I get you. I deal with bipolar type II, which is categorized more by major depressive episodes with small hypomanic spikes (slight mania episodes, short in duration). I can’t take SSRI’s at all… they’re just bad news for me. And I also get very frustrated when people don’t see how things have been difficult… the bipolar, the PTSD, etc. Yep, they don’t realize we can’t “just get over it” or wave it away with our magical will!


  8. Powerful. Releasing to me and I hope to you too. Poetry is something I think I need to get back to. It’s so just I dunno.. more raw. thank you for letting me read this tonight.


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