Monday, 1 September 2014

Alter Ego in Denial

A loud, talkative if successful businessman attached himself to me during an overnight stay at a hotel years ago, and offered me this advice over countless pints of lager: ‘In business, you have to aim high, be a real go-getter, stay focused on what you want and go for it, no matter what…or who. And shall I tell you what’s so great about life at the top, young man? It’s that you don’t need anyone, but everyone needs you, depends on you, for whatever reason. There's no feeling like it because you don't need anyone, you're top dog.'

Regarding the latter point, I could see he had all but convinced himself it was true. Even so, methinks he did protest just that little too much, and needless to say I was no more impressed with him or his 'advice' then than I would be now, some 30+ years on.

This poem is a villanelle.


Don’t need anyone telling me
the best way to get by.
(Loneliness feeding on me.)

Voices cruelly, mockingly,
demanding, why…?
Don’t need anyone telling me

Choices, always goading me
to expose a white lie.
(Loneliness feeding on me.)

Who's to stop me running free,
though a sandman try?

Don’t need anyone telling me

Scathing home truths would see
I get real, brave up, deny
loneliness feeding on me…

Love, it’s a life-and-death poetry
milking rhyme and reason dry;
(Don’t need anyone telling me;
loneliness, feeding on me...)

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2014

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears under the title 'The Hungry Heart' in A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005.]

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