Something That Felt Like Nothing

You could have empathy for everything

if you just let yourself open to the pain

then suddenly something that felt like nothing

(not even nothing feels like nothing)

feels like something

and everything you thought about aluminum siding comes crashing down in a tornado

that rips through the Mid West of your mind

and the bells of death knells crash and clang like migraines

and like Allah destroyed an entire town with sound

your mind is about to burst because your heart is about to burst

like a tire over a bed of nails

and suddenly the steering wheel is steering you

and the road is above you

and you’re spinning like a funnel cloud

cause one butterfly fell to the ground

somewhere between Kathmandu and Timbuktu

and now I’m wishing I was less sensitive

that I could shut it all off by shutting it all out

and I do


by giving it these words I control it

and this cyclone is at my finger tips

and under my thumb

I capture it by defining it

and set to spin karma any way I please

you sneeze

I don’t say bless you

cause I’m not superstitious

though you think it’s just good manners

I’m sorry, but I think your soul is stronger than a sneeze and is in no danger of being lost

in a breeze or in your tissue

call me insensitive, great

maybe that’s I want to be

it’s the only way to see this world

trust me, I’ve tried the other side

and it’s a lot of pain and suffering and sympathy and who needs that?

Not me

I pretend to be

though I need not feel every sparrow that falls from every tree

doesn’t mean I don’t feel badly about it.


12 thoughts on “Something That Felt Like Nothing

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Thank you for saying so! I am glad there is another person out there who understands that every sneeze doesn’t deserve a Last Rites. And, you do get poetry. Literally you got my poem from this site and only you know how much you got metaphorically. I hope it was good for you, too.

  1. Steven Myers

    holy jubilee balloon with its air let out
    gushing in dragon fly directions.
    this is remarkable.
    a forest fire spreading all across the globe
    gathering all the misery and emotions along the way
    and squeezing it slowly into an old fountain pen drip of ink
    your compassion and writing here is prolific.

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I gotta say, “holy jubilee balloon with its air let out” is one hell of an opening. That you gave it here is flattering, thank you. Or, maybe, in the eyes of Ichiro’s father, curse you. Maybe next time you should say I should turn around and bat on my wrong side just so I can be one step closer to first. I saw Ichiro go 4 for 5 in a game, all on the simplest taps up the middle and speed down the line, four out of five times beating the throw by a single step.

      1. Steven Myers

        i would do like ichiro’s father.
        but i’m not much of a teacher,
        i don’t really know how to sting someone
        but if it happens
        i hope it brings them to the factory floor
        where everyone is simply trying to endure.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        You’re more of a teacher than you know. All writers are teachers, even if they’re not trying to be. The greater the writer, the greater the teacher. I think you’re writing is pretty great, but, I don’t want to swell your head like taking a Cy Young fast ball to the unprotected turn of the century melon. I got hit in the crown once playing first base in t-ball, knocking me out for a second or two. I never stopped loving baseball, I just lost a bit of innocence in its game.

  2. granbee

    Listen, if The Creator is aware of every sparrow that falls, what makes us think we are too good to notice and care? You are totally in the right, as far as I am concerned, my writer-buddy Peter! And you did a darned pretty good job of versifying about your justifiable sensitivity.

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Rose! I don’t think I am too good to care about every sparrow that falls. Actually, it’s probably the opposite. I could care less about my apathy.

  3. Joana Guiro

    Trying to hide confusion and the unknown by pretending to be in control, but you’re still sensitive though
    Maybe the best thing i’ve read in here

  4. Betty Hayes Albright

    Peter – I was just thinking of this very subject today. (Synchronicity again…) I tend to be an “empath” and feel the pain of everyone around me – physically. We humans sometimes need to put up a “light screen” to protect ourselves, or we’d be no good to anyone.
    You’ve said it so well!!

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Betty! It is synchronicity that gets our hearts to transplant the hearts of others. An operation like this needs anesthetic. For the poet, it is poetry.


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