“The Psychological Swashbuckler”–a poem


Given the holiday, there’s not a lot of time today. I posted the Jason Aldean piece, and if you didn’t catch his cold opening on SNL on Saturday night, you might want to.

Today’s poem from the archives is “The Psychological Swashbuckler” from March of 1999. It details a notion of who one might be post addiction. It’s a little long–still, one setting if I recall correctly–but it finishes strong. I discounted this poem for 17 years or so, and then I read back over it and found it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Hope you take something from it. God Bless.


The Psychological Swashbuckler


Loving and hating

the beautifully putrescent spiral

that is addiction,

that white-gray area where

disease and cure

become so obscured.

Longing for two things at once,

each being the antithesis of the other.

Coming to terms with me at my best,

when being my worst,

and at my worst,

when being my best.


It’s here, I know it is;

it has to be.

If not, the spiral doesn’t end.

If not, my struggles are futile;






I search for it, not really knowing

what I’m searching for, as if

I’m doing a jigsaw puzzle

with a blindfold on.

It may be nothing more than a ripple in

my mind, heart, or soul,

a feeling felt or a lesson learned.

It may come from

another person’s similar experiences,

something they did or discovered

that proved beneficial.

Or it may come from just getting

sick of it all,

Finally tiring of all the guilt and paranoia

and going balls out, without a mask.

I can see me now:

The Psychological Swashbuckler.

Yeah, that’ll be me.

The Psychological Swashbuckler–

Stronger than Prozac,

mightier than the reefer,

leaping scotch bottles in a single bound.

It’s a mirage.

It’s a brain fart


The Psychological Swashbuckler.


Our hero sits at a desk,

calmly working a keyboard.

He is clad in khaki-tan and sky blue,

and his movements are smooth and unobtrusive.

He sips decaf tea and sits lotus.

On the screen are words from a past,

with which he deals easily,

comfortable in the thought that

it doesn’t have to be re-lived.

In his eyes stand tears of relief,

because this separation, so long sought,

has finally come around.

The words he types are easy and un-dramatic;

having read them, his audience sees more clearly…


And he is calmly pleased.

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