The Groin’s Endless Coil

I’m currently reading a biography of Charles Jackson author of Lost Weekend. He’s one of those forgotten mid-century writers. He’s also a writer caught in the crush of closetedness, booze and creativity. A cultural cage he never really broke out of.

There is this romantic connection between self-destruction, creativity and authentic voice. The notion that a great novel/poem/painting by an ex-junkie is more compelling than a great novel by someone whose never been a junkie/addict etc is almost endemic in our culture.

Having survived my own history of drunken self-abuse, plus the delight of growing up an ‘abomination unto the face of the Lord,’ I suppose I have my own bit of suffering to qualify me as deserving to be a credible artist. But I’ve never been one to make much of those ‘wrinkles.’ If I have to produce a history of suffering to get artistic repect I’ll pass on the respect.

shallow long grave

When some have found out I have over 35 years clean & sober it comes as a surprise. It’s not something I present in my writing & often seems irrelevant to my relationships with people outside the recovery community. But it is always the one of the factors in my writing. Same with being queer – whether the piece I’m writing even mentions sexuality it is there in the mix.

One of the things I faced, as do many highly creative types, when first getting clean & sober is where does creativity now come from. My sense of self, purpose had become so immeshed in being a drunk that it wasn’t clear who I was.

dark oak heart

So over the years I continued to write some but also explored painting, stand-up, dance plus a long stretch in theatre until I finally came back to the core ground of writing. I stepped back into the ‘scene’ at the Renaissance Cafe in January 2000 (or maybe it was 2001) and have kept coming back.


a piece I wrote early in recovery:

in the groin’s endless coil

a man is tangled

Dylan Thomas

O Dylan

I remember those

Guided by rockets in pockets days

When my Thomas caterpillar heart

Slowly crawled along

The bottle edge

I knew yours crawled along

I felt the same call

The evaporating sigh

And almost fell

Liquid slippery splendid

Siren pulled   tugged

Till I had been

Pulled   tugged apart

Dream by illusion

I walked   teased

Along the amber edge

The tightrope territory

Between head and heart



Off its red perfection

I flowed

When I could mirror long enough

I burned

I raced its bullet blue images

Rippling the insistent rage

Of whiskey-tangled youth

The without falling

Within awareness

I was untangled

In a bramble of healing hands   coffee grounds

Breathing but not


I needed a new tangle

When that slippery rage

Consumed itself

Its siren seemed to fuse me

With an angry flowering flame

Without which

I became a blank saint

Blank until I felt

A thorn in the tender loin

The groin’s endless coil

Shoving my heart and head

Kicking  screaming around

The bends of wanting   getting,

Of beating my clear head

Against the walls

Of my own unfocused expectations

I piously tried

To disregard thorny dreams

In favor of spiritual fantasy

They returned to haunt

To root

Warm   just out of reach

Like ghosts of a blossom

Ghosts I accepted as ghosts

That persist in taunting me

With their trite tired

Old romantic fear

That slam-dance  pity-party

Tired  tried   true lament

I know too damn well

Nobody can love me enough

Nobody can love you enough

A bramble barely concealing


I want more than enough

I want more than it all

I will always want more

Than there is to have

O Dylan

When I was unlearned

In my childwise

Little nearsighted world

Where books were real

And dreams were innocent

I believed something too pure

For even love to make possible

I still believe today

Not for the comfort it brings

But for the light it spills

Golden  glowing with faith

Between my head and the wall

I have a truth

The coil is human

I have a love

The tangle is healing

I have a bramble

The endless is being



2 thoughts on “The Groin’s Endless Coil

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