Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two Lonely People in a Bar

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways
that won't work."

Thomas Edison

For 15 years my major relationships began in bars. After a night of drinking and talking, and with my judgment impaired, I'd fall in love and then try very hard to make the ensuing relationship work.
The drinking together part was fun. I was younger then, and I thought it was very liberated of me. What was hard was trying to relate together in the nondrinking hours. We didn't always like each other when we were sober.

But I was tenacious, if nothing else. I could even go years trying to make things work out well. Sometimes it was only a matter of months. In those days, a six-month relationship constituted a major event. But once I went eight years, off and on. Another time, it was two years.

I found the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous when I was 36. I had tried to commit suicide three times. I had two children, one of whom I had placed for adoption. I had 15 years of failed relationships.

I don't think I was a failure as a human being. I think I found 10,000 ways that don't work, before finding the one way that did. Sobriety has been the great gift of my life.

Here's a poem I wrote about one of the ways that didn't work so well.
How do you relate to Edison's quote?

Two Lonely People in a Bar

To him—who speaks of nights that sound like scriptures
read by some poor trembling monk
who sometimes in the clutch of darkness
has traced against his will the silken flesh
with longing lips and flinching soul,
alone with his colliding needs—

she—who thinks herself forsaken—
is incandescent, whitely in the
dim gold bar lamps crying
I could make the morning


the walking man said...

finding the ways that don't work brings us closer to them that will.

Shadow said...

i identify with edison and i identify with your poem. great work here!

Karen said...

Ten thousand ways that won't work - error over and over again, searching for answers when what we really need are the right questions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you once again for a lovely poem, one that is like a lone porchlight burning in an otherwise dark neighborhood. It feels good to read it.

10000 to 1 (the ratio of hope)


lakeviewer said...

The poem tells a whole story. Chris, you just wrote a post in the middle of the night. I hope you are feeling o.k. When do you sleep?

Of course, you could say the same about me!

Brian Miller said...

i am glad you made it out of the out look on life...just found 10000 that would not work...

Kim A. said...

I like the saying that failure is just another learning opportunity. I've learned alot in life and am better now at listening to other's failures so I can learn from them!

Lovely, sad, poem.


Dave King said...

The quote and the poem bond vey well together, I think. Fine post.

TechnoBabe said...

In finding the 10,000 ways at least I was trying. For me, I went through relationships like glasses of water. And had about as much feeling for them as I did for the water. Or the glass.

Lou said...

To me the quote says he had to learn the hard way--like me!! (only his results were so much more stellar;)

pattinase (abbott) said...

love the line
has traced against his will the silken flesh

e said...

I'm sorry that it took so much pain for you to reach sobriety and sanity...We often take the hardest roads possible to get to that milestone...

I like the line about her being incandescent. That applies in more ways than one.

Anonymous said...

In that poem and in your words rests the courage and the strength to give it another 10,000 tries, if that's what it takes.

That, my friend, is strength.

Not The Rockefellers said...

my problem is that I don't always learn from past failures...

thank goodness that you failed 3 times, my dear...that would have been a tremendous loss.

Peace ~ Rene

Magpie said...

It's sometimes a very hard and difficult journey to learn to love ourselves, but so worth it when we finally make it. I'm glad you found your way.

Syd said...

I would fall in love for all the wrong reasons. But I've hung in there for the long term so something is working.