Saturday, February 25, 2012


I'm restless tonight. I'm struggling to write something on this page. Instead I want something or someone to capture my attention and engage all of my senses so completely I forget about myself. The Buddha folks call that being in the moment, but I'm not looking for peaceful.

It's not new, this restlessness. In fact, it's been my constant companion for as long as I can remember. As a child, I lived in a perpetual state of miserable boredom, waiting for something, anything-- back then I still believed there had to be something -- to happen. I taught myself to read when I was 4. Reading books helped, but there were never enough of them. And then I wasn't allowed to read very much in school so it got worse.

I was eight when I first started planning my escape from the small town in Iowa where I grew up. I started collecting things I might need on the road: little packets of salt, matches, raisins, pencils and paper, pennies, books. I stored them in a big concrete drainage pipe that had been abandoned near the elementary school. But I never got further than collecting things until I was 17 and I really did leave. But this isn't about my journey out. It's about the feeling of restlessness that rarely goes away.

I'm an E on the Meyers Briggs. If their scale is 10 points, I'm turned up to 11, so I need lots of people stimulation. But it's not just extroversion I'm talking about. I've lived with people most of my life. It's not about being with people. It's about feeling constantly understimulated in general. Not bored, exactly. Just running through most of my life in first gear, maybe up to second on a good night. I hardly ever get to rev my engines and take my foot off the gas. I'm always holding back because there's nowhere to go.

Most of the time, I ignore it. It's there, but it's been there all my life. Sometimes though, it rubs at me, like an itchy wool sweater in the summer. Sometimes people notice. Even if I'm acting just like I always act, sometimes a friend will say that I seem edgy or dark or even angry. Some friends say I just need to get laid. Well, yeah. Who doesn't need to get laid? Even if I did though, I'd just want more. I don't expect to ever find anybody who could keep up, and not just like that. Social media helps, but it's passive. Riding my bike fast for miles along the river helps, especially when it's really hot out, but I can't ride far enough or fast enough, even when I ride alone. Playing music has even provided relief at times, as does dancing for hours. But it's fleeting.

The Buddhists would say that's the problem. I always want more. It's true. I can look back on this blog and see the thread running through. I couldn't even go to a fetish party and not want more -- and I'm not even sure what I want more of. I don't have a fetish.

I want to clarify that I don't necessarily mean I'm dissatisfied with my life or that I don't have fun. I'm blessed with amazing kids, remarkable friends and a city that offers many activities. I have fun. I'm not complaining about what I do have.

I'm not sure I've explained this very well. I wrote a poem several years ago, when I was living an entirely different life. Some of these things I've done since. Some seem silly now. But the feeling behind the poem, the ache for .... I can only call it more intensity .... has always been lurking. Maybe it's something I was born with, like mitochondria or chromosomes or red hair. Probably, if I'm to be honest, I would miss it if it were gone. Maybe it's simply my passion.

Am I the only one? Do you ever feel this way? Do you always feel this way too?

I'm not going to solve this problem tonight or ever, so here's the poem. I should probably write a new one, but it would be even longer ....

Spring Fever

Spring is here.
I want to do something wild,
something to quench the swollen heat,
balm the longing that threatens to escape and
create new universes
or destroy old ones.

I want to dye my hair dark, copper red
like it was when I was a toddler
and spike it with Elmer’s glue.
I want a flat stomach
so I can wear low-rise jeans
and a snug tank top and
clunky platform shoes
like we did in the 70s.

I want to put on a low-cut black tee
and a mini skirt short to my crotch,
red cowboy boots and long silver earrings
and go to a biker bar.
Drink tequila with old, pony-tailed graybeards
in Harley shirts and leather chaps.
Lick the salt from the bend of my thumb, throw back the shot,
suck the lemon hard.
Play pool and bend over as far as I can across the table.
I want the biker chicks to hate me.

I want to drive through the night
listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and
ZZ Top on the radio, turned up loud enough to blow the speakers.
Stop for coffee at an all-night truck stop.
Sit at the counter next to Eddie from Chicago
look at pictures of his kids.

I want to slow dance with a woman
and feel her breasts against mine
our bodies so much alike we forget
where we start and when to stop.

I want to skinny-dip in a stranger’s pool at 3:00 am
while he sleeps in his house, unaware.
Draw on white walls with crayons.
Ride a black horse bareback.
Streak a crowded mall.
Try on everything in Victoria’s Secret
even the water bras.
Paint my suburban house periwinkle, lime and hot hot pink.
Yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater.
Sing karaoke in a country and western bar
and …what the hell…fuck a cowboy in the parking lot
in his pickup truck.

I want to write a letter
to an old high school boyfriend,
tell him what a prick he was—
Choose any of them,
they were all pricks.
I’ll write a form letter.

I want to play euchre all night long,
eat eggs and bacon as the sun comes up
then fall asleep together like a pile of puppies.

I want to fuck around with another woman’s husband--
not a friend’s husband—
someone I don’t know.
Then I’ll spank him.
Tell him to never
do that again.
Send him home to his poor wife.
And then maybe I’ll fuck her.

I want to build a bonfire
and dance around it
dressed only in blue paint
with red ochre on my nipples
and the bottoms of my feet.

I want to get a tattoo of a dragonfly
on the softest part of my inner thigh
so I can feel the bristly brush of wings
like a secret under my gypsy skirt.

I want to shoot paintball guns
at the neighbors’ barking dogs.
stain their white coats the color of fear
so I can take an afternoon nap
in perfect quiet
before the lawn mowers start growling.

I want to run and run and run
       And run and run
             And run.

What I don’t want to do
is take a long bath in flickering candlelight
in pink-scented bubbles.
I would write “SAVE ME”
in the steam on the mirror
and leave through the window.

I don’t want to sip herbal tea—
not chamomile, or orange blossom or even Red Zinger.
I want hot, black coffee
bitter with the sweat of South American labor.

I won’t eat milk chocolate
and watch Dr. Phil fix
all the fucked up suburban lives
in 10 minutes plus applause.
How’s that working for you, Phil?

I don’t want to scrapbook my photos
Or practice my yoga
Or run on the treadmill
Or spin on stationary bikes to techno dance music.
I don’t even want to zumba.

I don’t want to hang my sheets
on the line in the warm spring sunlight
and slip between their fresh virginal smell tonight.

I don’t want to sleep at night.
At night I want to be kissed hard
by a stranger with whiskey and Marlboros on his breath—
the red box, not the lights.
Or a woman who grows her own herbs,
carries the scent of sage and lavender in her hair.

Spring is here.
Spring is here.
Damn it, spring is here.


  1. This poem brought tears to my eyes--the longing and wanting is so clear throughout it, I could actually feel it in my chest. If you're an 11 on the Myers-Briggs Extroversion scale, I'm an 11 on the Introversion scale, but I know the wanting, passion feeling that's impossible to suppress. For me, it's always the desire to connect--deeper, more intensely, more passionately, with people, with myself, with the world. It's never enough.

    1. That's it exactly, AutoD.

      And part of it though, the part I had trouble putting into words, is always having to tone down my natural intensity so I don't make people tired or afraid. Or, of course, so people don't think I'm crazy. ;-)

  2. i always feel like that, too. i think it's why i'm drawn to the quakers - i'm looking for a moment where it's turned OFF. i get them on occasion but not often at all.

    1. I suppose turned off would work too. I dunno though. A friend who's quite a bit older than I am--close to 70 maybe? She told me she's so happy and content now because she doesn't feel horny any more. And I took that to mean she doesn't feel as passionate about lots of things as well.

      I don't want that. I'd rather feel the yearning than nothing.

  3. I know what you mean. After I while, I start needing something active and dangerous. If I don't have that I start feeling not quite right, you know? Kinda off kilter. I need that surge, that spike of adrenaline, that near miss that always makes me grin and laugh. It's not cheating death but accepting life, and finding something that makes your blood sing.

    Even if it goes wrong, and I don't *quite* make it through, it's still worth the blood, bruises, broken bones and stitches. At the end of the day, it's how I keep feeling human.

    Of course, I blame my parents.


    1. Drake, you get that physical risk hunger from your daddy. The risks I take are largely emotional or social. LtColEx, on the other hand, has to risk his life several times a year or he's not sane(ish). If he hadn't done something life-threatening for a while he'd get hard to live with, especially after he stopped flying. I'd tell him to get out and do something stupid or I'd make him go roller skating with me. (Roller skating terrifies him.) So he'd go rock climbing or bungee jumping or shoot the upper golly (I'm sure I got that wrong) and then he'd be sane(ish) again for a while.

      You got that from him, not from me. I am the sane parent and don't you forget it.

  4. I'm going to be back to read that again. And again. You sound a lot like my husband. Not the easiest type to live with, when his head is always looking ahead and elsewhere, but we're working together to make sure that doesn't become the death of us. Great poem.

    1. Tiffanie, I can see how this post would make me sound high maintenance. I'm not though. I throttle back the intensity almost all the time. I stayed home and too care of my family for years, even homeschooled for a dozen years. I control it. The toll it takes is only on me.

      My ex, on the other hand....see above.

  5. I do recall all the years of restlessness -- of not knowing what I was doing most of the time, or even why I was doing whatever it was.

    But then I grew old and became ill. My world is now shrinking. My needs are also fading rapidly and my wants are disappearing. I am content being in silence for hours on end.

    As one of those Buddha people you mention, I can say he seemed to get it right. I am sorry, though, that I had to wait until I got old to realize it.


    1. I don't necessarily want to get rid of the restlessness. It's too close to my passion center. I just want to satisfy it more often!

      And sometimes simple, silent activities do that too. Sometimes just holding hands with someone special and walking will do it. Sometimes just sitting by the river. And sometimes I need a fetish party!

      I love you, Rollo.