Him, you, them


He made me fall in love with him
and then he got me hooked.

He got clean, I couldn’t, he left.
Funny, huh?


This poem, with very little editing, is based on a postcard I saw at PostSecret.com, a site where people anonymously mail in their secrets. I was at first struck with the simple, yet powerful rhythm of it, but then, clearly, the issue: on the one hand it is brutally honest to the reader, but on the other, brutally self-deceiving for the writer; notice how she refuses ownership of her issues. No wonder she cannot get clean. She is pitiable, but lost to everyone until she finds herself.


Thank you for reading Him, you, them. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken at the Boston Commons subway stop. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “Him, you, them

  1. I like the way how the poem ended. What’s funny is that she’s not taking ownership of the problem.

  2. Many of us don’t realise that we, ourselves, are to blame for all our misfortunes through bad choices. I liked this little poem very much.

  3. John, my experience working with addicts might play a small role in why I think this poem is really good (but only a small role); and … why I really appreciate you taking time to post this. We find the profound in the simple, and sometimes, few words. Final thought: I find myself imagining that this woman in the picture is now waiting on the next relationship to come, where she can be told what to do, so that she will not have to take responsibility. Peace, T

    • T, too true. God, but addiction is such a misery and a hard thing to beat! I just read your re-post of Hell’s Concierge and was blown away by how it too is so simple and straight forward and honest, but how the honesty is the writer with himself, first, and then the reader. And what a difference that is!