Friday, May 19, 2006

My Gollum continues to harass me, and I continue to be convinced that it is the evil poet. This has catapulted me unexpectedly back into regions of memory I have worked very hard to repress, patterns of addiction and emotion that were as piquant as they were grotesque. He is my Gollum.

He's as furtive as a crab. He insinuates. What I don't understand is why. I mean, Gollum was obsessed with the Precious, the ring had him in its thrall. He didn't really have anything else, being a twisted creature of darkness and slime. But the evil poet has a successful career as a full time poet and teacher, a lovely and talented wife, and a baby daughter. He is well regarded by all hs peers (except me) and has already published three books, won numerous awards, and charms almost everyone he meets.

It is only with me that this shadow emerges--the deviancies, the lies. I suppose either he feels free to express his shadow with me and only me because that is the only safe place he can act out, and possibly the fact that I exist is saving him from far worse depths, maybe I'm all that's standing between him and the prostitutes, or between him and a series of grisly ritual murders. I don't know.

What I do know is that it really, really gets to me. We had a really bad, bad, bad relationship for three years and I lost health and time over it, while he thrived. I would be reduced to migraines and hives, unable to get out of bed for days at a time after an especially violent fight. He, on the other hand, would go home and write a poem. As if he fed on blood. It's only fairly recently that I've realized I cannot metabolize stress very well, and that I have to guard against depression the way people in medieval times guarded against the black plague.I have to propitiate ghosts, wear garlic, and fight like hell just to be fairly even, fairly normal. He was an alcoholic at the time, but he has this amazing resiliency. He could drink, fight, stalk me at all hours, and go home zesty-fresh and ready to write another poem. Like a vampire.

And yet with him, I could exorcise my shadow, too. But it is terrifying, what happens when you really let yourself go, let yourself cross all the lines. It is exhilirating, the way driving off a cliff might be exhilirating, or the way that beating the shit out of someone might be exhilirating. But then you crash. I crash. I crashed. And the result is that it has taken me five years to put myself back together, and there are pieces missing, pieces that got smashed in the fights and that he either ate up or that got ground into the floor with the rest of it. He has gone on to quit drinking, write 2 books, marry, and father a child. The greatest accomplishment I can boast of is that I managed not to commit suicide.

I am bitter about this, though I try not to be. So any time I hear from him, (he always finds me) I can't help but think what a weak person I must be, not to have done better. And I can't help seeing him as somehow demonic, for thriving on other people's, on my, pain. And I can't help but think I must be talismanic for him, or else why would he need to contact me again and again?

I have a frightening tendency to cling to continuity at any price. I think I moved so often and lost so many friends and family member, pets and teachers and places, that anything that offers continuity, no matter how vile, feels vital to me. It is very seductive. I have lost touch with some of the people who really loved me and cared about me, and I think some part of me believes that continuity, even with people and things that are damaging, will keep me whole, give me a sense of time and place that I never had. The first time I rode on a airplane, I was in the womb. I haven't stopped moving since. So, too, it is perversely comforting when I hear from the evil poet, knowing that the devil, at least, hasn't forgotten me.

The greatest hold he has over me, I think, is that I feel like I have to GET HIM. That I have something to prove. That I still, still, in spite of everything, want to WIN. If you can get someone hooked into you that way, they're pretty well hooked for good. If I could give up wanting vengeance, or proof, or to prevail, if I could let that go, then I'd just feel sorry for him and get on with my business. Why can't I let that go? The hook is really, really, deep. So I can't completely blame him for all this. It is something we're still doing together. Sometimes I think we'll go on like this, like Spy vs.Spy,until one of us dies, hopefully him, he can't last long on one good kidney. But he's so full of bile and will, I'll probably die first.

What kills me is he has the life I want. The writing, the marriage, and hardest of all, the little girl. I worry about that little girl. Her father is a very unstable person, and he acts out toward women. All women. Not just me. That little girl is going to have a very confusing childhood. But still, I envy him.

So, envy and vengeance, the two least attractive human addictions, and he brings me bushelsfull, and I take them.



Blogger Elizabeth Penmark said...

I know him - the evil poet. I believe he is simply a narcissist, incapable of feeling or demonstrating true love as it involves selflesness. I know this post was from over a year ago, and I haven't read any others. I just hope that he no longer plagues your thoughts at all. He isn't worth it. Not worth a thing.

12:36 PM  

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