Friday, October 10, 2014

Off My Feet

For today's #OctPoWriMo entry, I have decided to recycle this poem. I spent many weeks writing on the theme 'Anxiety'. Please read the introduction I wrote back in April. Please enjoy the poem. And please, don't ever discount the seriousness of mental health issues. Even if you don't understand.

'Off My Feet' is the 8th attempt on the given theme, and in my humble opinion, it is the strongest. I believe that the words are the culmination of the previous 7 attempts. Out of all the poems and words I wrote for this collaboration, this one is the most personal. I can honestly say that there are many things in this piece that reflect me. Maybe you didn't know that about me. Maybe you can't see which parts I am referring to. Do you see me as confident, as being able to stand against the wind? Yes dear reader, this poem is deeply reflective.

It took 7 attempts to come up with what I wanted to present to the world. It took 7 attempts to write about me. Although the previous pieces have elements of myself, none so much as this one is like looking in the mirror. 

This is another poem that reduced me to tears. The weight of emotion and self-reflection was simply unbearable at that particular moment. I know that a good number of you will not be able to understand this, and I am very cognizant of that. But I needed to reveal is the first time I have bared myself in this manner. 

Please, dear reader...don't judge me. If you don't get it, read the Anxiety series of poems (and the introductions) and try to understand. At the very least (and this I have asked before), please try to appreciate the words. Appreciate the emotional journey the poems take you on, acknowledge the power and passion of the message that I am trying to convey, and please be sensitive to the fact that people we know exist in the world I have written. 

As always, dear reader, I encourage interaction. I love feedback, positive or negative. I am deeply grateful for the time you have taken to read my work, and I encourage you to read this series of poems (starting with ''Thanks for the Ride'') and ending in this piece.

Thank you, dear reader. Thanks for the Ride. 
The Anxiety / Release collaboration is finished. Immediately following this text you will find the link to the Artipeeps website where my poem, and Heather's interpretation of 'Off my Feet' can be found. 

Rod E. Kok
April 15, 2014

May 25, 2014

I am perceived as being
unbowed by the winds
that besiege me from
every direction.

Yet branches in
my mind are buffeted
by fears of inadequacy.

Nobody sees my tears,
or feels my pain
as the roots which hold me
weaken under stress.

I fear judgement from my peers,
so I hide.

What truly exists inside
gets painted with
an opaque veneer,
a disguise made up of
words, smiles and laughter.

I try reach out,
offering a glimpse into
my tortured soul...
fear draws me back,
back to the shame I feel,
to the disappointment I have created.

Failure is mine.

You tried to help,
crawling to me, your own tears
laving my feet...
I pushed you away
out of despair.

I pray
for a gentle breeze
to caress me,
but the answer comes
in a gale.

And knocks me
off my feet.

Spring Park Bench 
by Heather Burns


  1. I think you have captured the feeling perfectly. I went to a movie some years ago where a woman came in with a service dog. There was nothing physically wrong with her so people began speaking in hushed tones around her. You could tell they believed her to be "faking" something. And then the dog (a large one it was) stood on its hind legs and put it's paws on her shoulders as her breathing started to increase. She was having an anxiety attack brought on by the whispering around here. Her attacks were sometimes so severe that she had been given a service dog trained to recognize little signals, such as increased breathing. She explained this to the couple next to her after she had calmed. This practically says exactly her feelings as she described them to the couple. Very well done!

  2. This brought me to tears. It's so beautiful put together. Thank you for taking the time to share. I understand what you said. I also understand trying many times to write the right thing the way you like. Thank you.

  3. Wow, very deep. Excellent job. I felt this way at times, I'm sure many have. I now have an idea of where to go with today's poem. Thank you. :-) And thanks for sharing your story.

  4. These words feel so familiar! The feeling of having to hide, of not being good enough. The stress of managing feelings. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. I am moved by the open and raw beauty of this poem.
    "... painted with
    an opaque veneer,
    a disguise made up of
    words, smiles and laughter."

    Too often we try to hide. Thank you for taking off the mask. :)