I Am Alone: A Narrative Poem

Don't judge me too harshly

This hub is listed under poetry, but that is probably being too generous. Hear me out, okay? I consider myself a writer, but I must confess I admire and envy poets. When I make a stab at poetry, what I see when I’m done usually includes awkward rhymes and/or odd cadences. I may have the heart of a poet, but I didn’t get the talent. Despite my poetic shortcomings, I find myself unable to resist manipulating words in a more personal way than the AP Stylebook recommends. I want to know the same joy in writing that I feel in creating a drawing or painting. I want to say more than, “I wrote this.” I want to be able to say, “This is what I am.” To that end, one afternoon I sat down to write a true poem. I’m uncertain if I captured my soul or essence in these humble words, but I tried. What came out was this narrative:

The Poet

The early days.
The early days.
Gaining wisdom
Gaining wisdom
A young know-it-all
A young know-it-all
An entrepreneur with a paint brush
An entrepreneur with a paint brush
Gazing past the horizon toward...
Gazing past the horizon toward...
And now?
And now?

I Am Alone

I am alone.

Safe. Dark. Cozy. Quiet

Not good enough. Reality. Socialization in progress.

Education. Catholicism

Friends. Enemies.

Artwork. Magic markers. Escape. Release.

Best friends. Girls.


An altered horoscope. Carvings in a tree. Sleepwalking.

The Seven Destinations. The end of innocence.

The Bible. Revelations. "...and behold a Pale Horse...."

Tough guys. Gangs. Rainbow Brothers. Alpha. And others.....

Demon-Fire. DSSO.

Life gets more weird. (Is that possible?)

The Red House. The Gray Man. The Great Dream Time. The eleven envelopes.

Caterpillar. The statue in the cemetery.

Socialization derailed.

My first car. My first (real) job. University of Kansas.

A condemned building. The world shrinks. Four against the world.

Desperate chances. Risks. An idea. Ends justify the means?

Failure. Despair. Dust. Emptiness.

Time passes.

City league basketball teams. A joy. A release.

New faces. A mutual attraction. So intelligent, so understanding. Very attractive.

It works. For awhile. There's this other guy, though.....

I am alone.

I have my art. It is still an escape. A release.

New situations. New experiences. Old faces and new ones.

Other mysteries. A piano. A presence in the house. The other personality emerges.

A trip to the bus depot. An ending or a beginning?

My new house. What? A lock of my hair? The Powers of the Universe

A message from the future.

A separate reality. What happened? I miss the safe dark.

A second chance. No better. Like the first. Again.


How can this be? And, why me? Must it always be this way?

Perhaps not. Some companionship.

Three lonely people bond together.

Dinner at Mr. Steak. NOT getting thrown out. Birthday balloons. Late night talks.

A storm heralds this one's coming. Remember the anniversaries. Too big to face alone.

A fragment of my soul.....

Time passes. New situations. So much fear.

A young boy. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. He calls me Mike.

Mike? What a mockery. Love. Love mixed with emptiness. Dust.

A perception shifts. Just in time to be too late.

Six hours a week. What do you mean?

Face reality.

A long, dangerous night. A deadly night. The ugly side of reality.

It tempts me. It draws me in. It leers back at me from my mirror.

A new day dawns. I have faced my demons and survived.

Time passes.

KU Theatre. Melting Pot. The Plaza. Houston's. City league basketball titles.

There are some good times. But the truth haunts me always.

How can I prove myself in advance?

Success is my only hope.

Good ideas. But no momentum.

New faces. Too many new faces.

I lose the balance.

Ambulance. Doctors. Rest. Sleepless nights. Empty days.

But safe. Safe. Dark. Cozy.

New perspective. Same old fears.

Other news. Disastrous news.

How much time left? That’s all?

Be strong. Everyone needs your strength now. But what about me?

Sadness. Melancholy. Pain. Tears.

Life goes on anyway. Why does it have to do that?

Worlds of Fun. Parks. The swimming pool. It helps.

A sudden jolt. Unexpected death. Disaster. No good-byes.

Emptiness. Dust. The end of the Realized Masters.

Eulogy. A summing up. The mysterious woman at the cemetery.

A paradox. How can this be? It was meant to be different.

New beginnings. Problems don't go away, but a fresh start helps.

New people, new faces. Coincidentally, some old faces also.

Stabilization. Things get better.

Holidays. Birthdays in Kansas City. Road trips.

Moody Blues. The front row? Cool.

The inevitable finally occurs. Final moments. A chance for good-byes.

I stay strong. But the dreams are there. The dreams that whisper to me.

The dreams provide clues. There is no lock without a key.

Time passes.

Opportunities loom. Or do they? It is what I thought I wanted.

But Topeka? Does it have to be Topeka?

It isn’t right. Problems. Emails on Tuesdays.

A young woman arrives to help. She is help and comfort and laughter.

The problems persist.

A chance to come back. What am I getting myself into, though?

I have to look forward. I reluctantly accept.

Another mistake. I should have known. Every day is misery. Every hour.

Lies. Deceit. Manipulation. Unbridled arrogance.

What? Why? Because you can? That’s it?

The future is a mystery, for the first time in decades.

It will not be easy. I wake up in a panic. Often.

I am comforted. There are nice moments. Road trips. Opportunities.

I have my art. I still create.

I draw. I write. I clean my house. I pay my bills. Barely.

I improve myself. I read. Eat better. Exercise. Yoga.

I look to the future. Do I have enough left?

I am nervous. I am afraid.

I'm still on my feet, though. Still surviving.

Still loving.

I am alone.

More by this Author

Comments 92 comments

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

You a self effacing in your endeavor here I think. This poem has a life of its own in it's narrative quality. I enjoyed going along with it, well done, I'd say write more.


ralwus 7 years ago

I would say it is a tad long and not too many people would go the whole way. I did, it gave me insight to you which I liked. Read more poets and poems that you like. The more you write, the better you will get I am certain. Not everyone is good at rhyming, CrisA can and will tell you that and he is an excellent poet here. Don't be discouraged as other have come before you looking for the same and have become quite good at it after reading our wonderful arena of poets here on HP. Kudos, CC

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

Hi Mike, I liked it! I read from start to finish and I think you accomplished your goal of explaining who you are.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

I think it flowed as poetry should. Very reflective. Not bad at all.

BeccaHubbardWoods profile image

BeccaHubbardWoods 7 years ago from Outside your window...

Biography in poetry. The trials and tribulations you faced were right there with me when I read it. You did a great job and I wish you only the best in the world. Thanks for sharing. : )

Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

Really good mike, I think it was well thought out and well wrote. Thank you, you should write more poetry.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ben, I appreciate your comments very much. For several reasons I was a little apprehensive about posting this. Thanks for your support.

Ralwus, I agree with your assessment that it is long--in fact, I whittled away over half the original work! It was very much stream of consciousness, and difficult to know what to cut for the sake of the reader's interest/sanity. Thanks for indulging me and reading it through.

Jen, thanks for reading and for your support. It is greatly appreciated, and I'm thankful you read through it in its entirety.

Springboard, your opinions are appreciated greatly and I'm grateful for your expressing them here.

Becca, thank you very much. I value your opinion and I'm glad you got from it so much of what I had intended. I was encouraged in no small part by the work you have posted--the honesty and depth of feeling in your own poetry encouraged me to post this. Thanks again.

Truth, I appreciate your comments and support. I really hope to give poetry another shot or two in the future.

Folks, usually I catch comments in time to respond individually to each. Your collective comments, so soon after I posted this, was a pleasant surprise. Thanks to all of you who commented so quickly and with such kind and positive words.

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 7 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Hello Mike! Hey...I know you! (dating site) from a long while ago...I recognized you in your picture! :)

Just wanted to say hello and tell you that if you are a backwards reader, PLEASE! make a point in reading "A PICTURE TELLS A THOUSAND WORDS" first. It will make you start from the beginning. Mind blowing! God is mind blowing!

You have very intense and thought provoking writing! A writer! Awesome!

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

I will read the post you are recommending, Ghost Whisperer, and thank you for the compliments about my writing. Do you know me from the old Yahoo 360 site?

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 7 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

It was a dating site...plentyfish or yahoo? Maybe 4-5 years ago?

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

He Mike, Thanks for sharing about your life, and you're not alone, never will be, you can always share with me many of us here, with me too.

And dont be afraid anymore, lif eis just like it is,,,but always full of hope,

Congrats you are also a great poet, ballad poetry, You are courageous too, talking on what happened to your life and sharing it speaks a volume,Maita

manlypoetryman profile image

manlypoetryman 7 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

Isn't it funny what words we would use to weave together our life? Very unique presentation...I like it. Life and Art can be so similar...yet here you picked the moments from your life that formed this whole poem...on your life moments...that stood out. Very cool and...Well done...I got'ta say !

maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

Not all relationships turn to " dust "...Deep passions can and does burn others near you sometimes...we must all live our lives on our terms, giving of ourselves with passion and truth...I think when we present an image not of our own we are really denying who we are, and that can be devastating...I would consider this an expressive stream of consciousness lament that speaks to a personal confession...Thanks for sharing, Larry

ralwus 7 years ago

I did enjoy it Mike, really.

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 7 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

I have sat trying to read this about 5 times. I have never been one interested in poetry so it isn't your work.(please no offense okay?)

From what I read, you have had terrible struggles such as myself, physical, mental and also spiritual due to tradgedy, betrayal and losses.

Please, if you know anything important in this world Mike..know that God does exist and that every event in your life, good and bad has designed you the EXACT WAY that God intended you to be designed. There are no mistakes!

God does not make mistakes!

Much love to you and I will say a prayer for you!

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 7 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Oh, and Mike...you are never alone! You have God!

You also have me, please feel free to write me privately if you need to. No one should ever be sick and feel so alone.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ralwus, thanks--I appreciate the kind words and realize your earlier critique was in the spirit of being constructive.

Prettydarkhorse, your encouragement and support are greatly appreciated. Your understanding makes it much easier to put something like this out there to be seen by everyone.

Manlypoetryman, thanks for your comments. Life and art do indeed seem very similar, and in that regard I couldn't be more pleased. Art gives us a chance to make life look the way we wish it to--and vice versa, I guess. When we draw from inside ourselves to create, good things happen.

Maven101, of course you are correct in asserting that not all relationships turn to dust. Some do, however, and we regret and mourn our loss and hopefully move on. As we live our lives, which affects us more--the good times or the bad? Are they the same in the end? I dunno. This was very much a stream of consciousness piece, and I responded to a specific event in my life with those words.... They are not representative of my life views--just my views of that moment and that event.

Ghost Whisper, I have appreciated so much your interest and comments, and I am humbled by your support and encouragement. It is sometimes difficult to remember that walking alone is not the same as being alone. That's an especially difficult one for me to remember. There have been difficult times in the past and I'm sure there remains a storm or two on the horizon, but you are correct--no one is truly alone. Your comments mean a great deal to me, and I thank you.

Again, my thanks to you all.

Izzy Anne profile image

Izzy Anne 7 years ago

Only the best poets can write stream of consciousness poems and they never do.

Poetry is essentially thinking through words, reaching the essence of an idea through continually working with words until the words become smooth and polished. Poets continually rewrite their work. My advice would be for you to take one idea from that long unreadable list and really think about it and then write down words until the words start playing amongst themselves.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thank you for your comments, Izzy. Obviously, I am not a true poet, I just wanted to try something unique (for me) with words and see what happens. In the course of doing this, the emotion behind the writing to over to some degree, and the words just spilled out. I will consider your suggestions--there are aspects of what I wrote that could lend itself to something more traditional, and it would be rewarding to write something perhaps more accessible to the reader.

Thanks again for your comments.

Madison22 profile image

Madison22 7 years ago from NYC

I'm no expert but with talent like that, I sure am glad you are on your feet and still surviving. "new perspective. same old fears." Powerful stuff, all of it. Thanks for sharing!

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Madison22, I appreciate your comments and kind words about my offering here. They are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your input.

M Sarki 7 years ago

I believe this example of your work and the responses from your loving and admiring choir represent what is wrong with the teaching of poetry, at least in America. There is no nice and gentle way to tell you the truth about this piece of writing you have unfortunately, for me, labeled a poem. I am sorry.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

M Sarki, thanks for your comments. I have confessed to being unskilled as a poet, and I am sorry my offering has apparently disappointed you so very much.

Regardless of what you think of my "poem," I'm not certain the comments of the readers included here represent what is wrong with the teaching of poetry. Their comments offered encouragement, and I am appreciative. They saw the feeling and spirit behind the words, not just how the words were arranged.

Thank you for your comments.

mewlhouse 7 years ago

It is frightening for even a skilled and serious poet to put a poem into the public trust. Your courage is not being questioned. The argument, I believe, is whether or not recreational poetry has a place in a professional forum such as this. I personally think it belongs in a workshop or classroom. Your already high standard as a "top-notch" hubber lends its own self to a higher standard of poetry, don't you think? Otherwise, poorly schooled, or unschooled, persons of poesy might think this poem of yours an example of something of a higher standard than it really is. It just doesn't seem fair to all serious poets attempting to make of poetry something to be respected as a higher art, more important and higher than a vast majority of teachers have made it, especially in the public schools. Even the poet who gave the inaugural poem for Barack Obama was of no help to further the high art of fine poetry. Her poem was terrible. There is so much to learn about writing. Just seems sort of disrespectful to me. I know it sounds like I am picking on you, but you could be of great help to the cause. Thanks for allowing me to comment. I know you are a great writer and I am not looking for an argument. I just felt I needed to say something to a man at the top of the heap. If you are interested in hearing any more from me, I recently wrote some articles here on Hub Pages on writing poetry, one failure of a certain poet to take advantage of some good luck, and one on why I hate poetry. Perhaps you'll agree with me, and perhaps you won't. I am OK either way. Cheers.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

mewlhouse, thanks for your comments.

I do appreciate what you're saying, but I'm not certain I agree with you. I should begin by asserting that no disrespect to the creative endeavors of true poets or the craft of poetry was ever implied or intended.

The issue for you appears to have evolved into questioning if what I wrote is appropriate for HubPages. I respectfully maintain that it is. HubPages is filled with writers, artists, poets, technicians, salespersons, photographers and craftspersons seeking a venue for encouragement, support and yes, criticism. Some even hope to make money here, but many do not. Some are professional and others, to use your own distinction, "recreational." We are all on different levels, but hopefully are allowed the freedom to create and explore. I daresay HubPages offers a venue for creativity at all levels--not just for the best of the best. I don't believe I've sullied HubPages through this effort.

Having said this, I understand your perspective. Perhaps you did not find what you expected to see when you clicked on this page. In the sense that you felt misled by my use of the term poetry, I humbly apologize.

Thank you again for your comments and input. Despite my opposing views to some of the points you made, they really are appreciated. Your criticism is constructive amd I will consider what you have said here.

rml 7 years ago

I thought this was nicely done. Thanks.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

rml, thank you for the kind words. They are much appreciated.

seasoning 7 years ago

i read this before, but i read it again, and i like it more and more. nice one

vannarith profile image

vannarith 7 years ago

Hey mice, i would knw what u mean in this hub, cuz i read from top to bottom seeing you trying to explain who you are .

Ok, i hope you would give me one score for commenting you here. http://www.3dwallpaperdownload.blogspot.com/

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Seasoning, I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for reading and thinking about what I wrote.

Vannarith, I will check out your link. Thanks for your comments.

Zac828 profile image

Zac828 7 years ago from England

This is poetry, it is thoughtful, reflective and has meaning, so it doesn't follow the rules but then what are rules for? I liked it, it was open and honest and gave me emotion, that should be the goal.Keep writing, well done.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Zac828, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your opinion a great deal, and I am gratified that you were able to respond to my work on an emotional level.

I do have another piece in the works, and the encouragement and support of folks that have left comments here are huge for me.

Thanks again.

lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 6 years ago from Virginia

I liked it, but having said that, I wouldn't worry too much what others think. It's nice to have positive feedback, but - write for yourself. Write what's true to you.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

lovelypaper, I appreciate your comments. You are correct, we have to write for ourselves, first and foremost. I will confess, however, that I have appreciated the encouragement of the many folks who responded here, including you.

Thanks for reading.

Denizee 6 years ago

This SO works, because of the unique style of structure - nothing is left to the imagination which makes it even better.

Expression of moods, thoughts, randomly placed in free verse style is appealing to this reader. Thanks for sharing. I'm a new fan.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Denizee, thank you very much for your comments. I wondered if the structure might be hated by readers, but decided to just put it out there and see. I was glad to discover that most people were comfortable with it.

Thanks again.

Moulik Mistry profile image

Moulik Mistry 6 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

Very interesting way of expressing yourself - very unique in style...

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Moulik, thank you for reading. I appreciate your interest and your comments. I was nervous that the style would not appeal to readers, I'm glad you were okay with it.

Thanks again.

loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 6 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

wow....i read a portion of your history in your words. and in reference to rhyming poems i am no good at although i do consider myself a poet as such and so should you.if you have ever read anything by poe you will find that he too writes long poems just look at the raven....

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

loveofnight, I appreciate your reading my work and offering feedback. As I worked on this, I struggled a great deal with its length, but ultimately left it at its length because it said what I wanted it to. I'm not certain I would call myself a poet yet, but I am working to get there.

Thanks very much for your comments, they are much appreciated.


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Dear Mike,

Happy Easter

I love you!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thank you, Ghosty. I love you, too. Happy Easter.


shrijana 6 years ago

nice poem.. i like it

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

shrijana, thanks for reading. I'm glad you liked my words.


urbanbutterfly09 profile image

urbanbutterfly09 6 years ago from urbanbutterfly09@gmail.com

I have never tried my hand at narrative poetry.....but you have done it beautifully....great poem!

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

urbanbuterfly, thanks very much for reading. In retrospect I think what I wrote might have been a bit too long, but I am pleased that you stuck with it and liked it enough to comment. Thank you very much.


cyntialove 6 years ago

Nice To Meet You,

My name is Miss cyntia koneh, As I whisper my prayer tonight and went into search for a nice friend at hubpages.com that is(internet) I came across your contact,My mind and my heart told me to contact you for friendship, A friend who truly understand his or her friend and share their feelings together. please kindly accept my request, I believe that distance or age can never be a barrier but let's love connect us because love is a bridge that connected far distance to be close to each other, I will send my pictures to you immediately i receive your reply at my email address


yours In Love,



Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

I liked it, it was a good attempt, looking forward to your next one, it can only be better! :) aloha sa`ge

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

cyntialove, thank you for you kind comments. They are greatly appreciated.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sa'ge, thanks for reading. I actually started to write a little bit for another narrative poem--shorter and more focused. When I get it done, I will post it here. Thanks so much for reading, I appreciate your feedback very much.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

I enjoyed your 'poem' very much. I am amazed -- or was amazed -- I've since had time to get used to the idea -- that you were SO open with your life. I certainly have a sense of who you are now. Your poetry conveys (in places) raw-ly human feelings and so in those places in your poem, it is exquisitely illustrative.

I am enjoying, more than enjoying, more like devouring, the textbook of many universities entitled Western Wind, An Introduction to Poetry. (I'm not attending school this year, but I ordered the book to just read it.) It teaches in the very first 20 pages that what you have written is, indeed, poetry. Verse is not necessarily poetry. To quote a part of the intro I like very much although to economize, I'm leaving several sentences out:

"Poetry like so much we are closest to and know best is not easy to define. We can begin by saying what it is not. Poetry is not the same as verse.....Poetry may be in verse. Many poets, for example, have been attracted to the shape of the sonnet....Although verse is arbitrary, poetry is not. Everything in poetry is an expression of what is natural: It is the way it is because we are the way we are." (p. xxxiv. Authors John Nims and David Mason)

I've only written a few poems in my life so far, but I stumbled upon the necessity of poetry in my life by finding that sometimes only a poem could be written, times, for example, of riveting emotion when prose couldn't express what I needed to express through and to myself.

Thank you for sharing your poem.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Pamela, thank you so very much for your comments. Your thoughtful and articulate response was a joy to read, and I will look for the book you referenced here. It sounds quite good.

Artists create poems, music or paintings in the hopes that someone will respond to their work with the depth of thought you have offered today. I am grateful. This was indeed my life, distilled down to a few words. My words are my hopes, fears and dreams packaged and put forth for the world to see. I debated for weeks whether to even post this narrative, but comments like yours make me glad I did.

Thank you so very much!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

It was joyful reading Pammela K W's response because I thought that those who were harsh regarding your poetry did not understand your intent as a man and as an artist. I did not think your words too long. Condensing your life and experiences into so few crystallized words really gave us a sense of your life as it has progressed so far and your hopes and dreams for the future. A big thumbs up and best of wishes for the best of what life has to offer in the days ahead.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Peggy, thank you for both your kind words and your understanding. I appreciate that you saw what I was trying to do, and what it meant for me to undertake this bit of writing. And, I was quite pleased and touched by Pamela's response a few weeks ago. Her validation of my efforts was very meaningful to me, and I was appreciative of her insightful comments.

Thanks so much for reading...and for understanding.


Just A Voice 6 years ago


It was very good.

Of course, I didn' understand all the true meanings behind it, because it's like a private joke...only those who were there understand the moment. But you did very well in conveying the feeling behind the words, and I felt like you brought me on a private journey with you.

I enjoyed it very much and feel like you let us in your life, just a little.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Voice, thanks for your kind words and your insights. I will confess the meaning is obscured by the words, but those who know me well would consider me revealed to the world through what I have chosen to say here. I will confess I was not brave enough to be more direct in describing what you have accurately described as a journey....but I am pleased that you enjoyed it, anyway.

Thanks again.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

You DO have a camera in my house!

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Micky, I'm glad you could relate to the words here. It was pretty personal and I wasn't sure how it would turn out, or how folks would respond. I've been pleased to see so many encouraging words. BTW, I use the mirrors all over the place--mum's the word, okay?

Thanks, my friend.


sarmack profile image

sarmack 6 years ago from Washington

That was quite the compilation of a life in one poem! And your way of writing poetry reminds me of things from my childhood! It is unique and honest. Thank you for sharing on my hub, such a nice comment, so that I could find you here. I look forward to reading more of your work... and perhaps, becoming empowered to be an independent contractor, as well!

oh... just wanted you to Know that you are never alone...

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sarmack, thank you for visiting and for your kind comments. Responding to your last comment first--thank you for saying that. Loneliness and isolation has historically been a theme in my writing, and I often feel alone, even when I am not.

I was so very hesitant to hit the "publish" button on this one, in some ways it felt a bit too personal (and it was certainly long, as one or two folks pointed out...). I was reluctant to write in such a revealing manner, even if many of the words and thoughts are cryptic.

I am grateful that you stopped to read my work, and I thank you once again for your comments.


generalbrat profile image

generalbrat 6 years ago from california,usa

intelligent a++++

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Generalbrat, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

Wow Mike! I really want to thank you for feeling safe here on hubpages to let go the way you did. For me, this was one of the most beautiful poems I have ever had the honor of reading. Your journey here is like all of us and that's why it is so powerful. Life is Scary, life is hard, life can be great, life can be fun...but it is ever changing and we all go though it together whether we realize this or not. Thank you so much for this Mike and I look forward to seeing more of this poetry from you as it is a gift to read. UP BEAUTIFUL AWESOME USEFUL

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Minnetonka Twin, thanks for your kind words. To be honest, I was fairly terrified of hitting the "publish" button and revealing myself to the world in this manner. I confess I am sometimes still uncertain about it, but I am humbled and gratified by comments such as yours. Thank you so very much for your kindness, and I can't express how pleased I am that my words have struck a chord with readers. Thanks again--I am truly appreciative.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

...this is a bold, brave and daring piece.

I remember Woody Allen had a scene in his film Manhattan when he sat down on the couch and named his favorite places, things and people for ALL to hear - and that scene reminds me of your writing here.

We are all alone Mike - we are all individuals in a society of individuals - or let one of our greatest philosophers of the new age, Cher, tell you in a song:

"We all sleep alone.!"

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Epigramman, thanks for reading. I had forgotten the scene from Manhattan until you mentioned it, and it makes me want to see the movie again.

We are indeed all alone, and when things get down to the nitty-gritty, we have to look inside ourselves and see what's there. That was in part what I was trying to do here--look inside and see if I liked what I found there. I will admit I have been humbled by the kindness from folks who have commented here--even when realizing we are alone, it feels less so to read so many gracious comments.

I greatly appreciate your kind words, and hope you will stop back again sometime.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 6 years ago

Hey Mike , are you really a painter, because your art shows in this poetry too....

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

ahorseback, thanks for your kind words. I really am a painter, but I appreciate your comments about my writing. Thanks for stopping by.


Kavita Trivedi profile image

Kavita Trivedi 6 years ago from London

I like the story in this. I too think it is a bit long but I enjoyed the flow of this and the vividness of the imagery

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Kavita, thanks for reading. You're correct--this is long, but every word had meaning for me. It had to be this way. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your taking the time to read my work. Take care.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

Hello Mike: I am newly following you and decided to begin at my point of greatest interest,poetry. I have read many of your comments in the forums and as comments to hubs but just found you following others and others following you. My hubtivity is 'stream of consciousness'.

I often read all of the comments as part of my introduction to a newly found writer. There is always some fluff, but there is always some candor and honesty in a personal hub such as yours. You have many true friends in these Pages of Hub. I would like to be one.

Ralwus points out that your poem is too long. I love and admire Ralwus, but he would have said the same thing to Virgil and Cicero. Ralwus and Eppigramman produce, admire and enjoy brevity. That is their preference. Homer would not have penned The Odyssey and written this epic poem if poetry demanded brevity.

Your narrative poem is autobiographical and seeks to encapsulate your life into a nutshell. This cannot be accomplished by anyone. You selected and set for yourself an impossible task. You admittedly deleted one half of your original poem to cater to the tastes of your audience. You self-edited your work for the purpose of seeking approval or avoiding reproach or for some other purpose. It is therefore not a complete expression.

You have taken the first step which is admirable and I applaud. You must applaud yourself. Your profile indicates that you are creative and an artist. An artist begins with a sketch or drawing, an image. An artist cannot paint the entire universe for all eternity upon a small canvass.

I would humbly suggest that you take any one of your paintings, a landscape or seascape, and convert the visual image to words. When doing so, put yourself in that place and describe the unseen aspects as well; the sounds, the smells, the tactile (breeze, temperature,etc),the taste, the feelings and emotions, the past,present and future of the place, the memories, the moment. I will try to do likewise now that I have suggested it for you.

You have embarked on a journey with this first poem and exposed your inner self to the world. You have made yourself vulnerable and knowable to all. Congratulations and fare thee well. Cheers.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sligobay, thanks so much for your insightful comments. I respect the time it has taken you to both read through the many comments of others and articulate your opinions of my work. I thank you so much for doing both.

I appreciated Ralwus' opinion about the length of this piece. As you noticed, I admitted chopping this work in half to allow for an easier read. In the sense of trying to sum up my life in 1100 words (or whatever it is) instead of 2200, you are correct--I failed. As a summary, this becomes quite incomplete. It also lacks an "update," having been written some nine months ago. As far as the latter point, I am comfortable with this piece representing my life as it was up to that point. I will confess, however, that I've been tempted to reconstruct this poem to its original size, even if only for my own benefit. Is the final outcome (relative to my original goal) still an impossible task? I guess it is, but even with hindsight I'm not certain if that is good or bad. I would like to have something that represents my essence that has been created with words, as this poem was meant to be. Perhaps I should feel blessed that my life has been sufficiently complex that it cannot be done. Do you remember a poem called "The Unknown Citizen" by W. H. Auden? The Unknown Citizen's depicted a man whose life could actually be summarized, and it was sad and empty. I am appreciative that I'm not in that company.

I may very well take your recommendation and attempt to put a painting into words. If it can be done in a suitable fashion I will create a hub for it. Thank you for the splendid suggestion.

Thanks again for stopping by, I am appreciative. Take care.


Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

This is interestingly written. There are endless ways people relate their lives and their feelings through poetry, and this is how you did it. Gives the piece a very unique feel.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Doug, thanks for the kind words. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this overlong piece of work, and I confess I'm pleased when someone likes it. I appreciate your stopping by very much. Thanks again.


LaurieDawn profile image

LaurieDawn 6 years ago

Greetings Mike,

I believe poetry should speak of the poet, and yours told a story. Yours, beautifully done. I think that is to me what poetry is about, our words, our thoughts, our pains and our glory.

It was an inspiring poem.



Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Laurie, thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words about my poetry--as I've said elsewhere on this page, I am always self-conscious about my abilities as a poet. Thank you for the kind words and the affirmations.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I really liked this poem. Feel like I know you through it. Don't worry about rhyming just put down what's in your heart and soul just like did here.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks, Susan. I appreciate your reading my overlong poem and offering your encouragement. Thank you very much for stopping by.


IndiHeray profile image

IndiHeray 6 years ago from Somewhere Asia

Hey Mr. Mike,

At first I read it, I didn't get it because its my first time to read this kind of poem from I guess a Brilliant writer or Artist (or maybe because of my age I'm still 15 years old shhhh...), and I realized you were using the basic way of making a poem, but it may be basic but the content was beautiful, I also write poems, and its natural that at first you'll feel like self-conscious, I felt the same way too, the first time i wrote a poem, but i never stop making poems until i became comfortable whenever i write poems.

P.S. all you have to do is read lots of poems. Different styles and don't stop writing poems. They're the best technique ever! AND BTW I REAAAAALLLY LOVE YOUR POEM.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

IndieHeray, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words about my poem. I hope sometime to read some of yours soon. Thanks again for your kindness and encouragement.


Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 6 years ago from West Coast

WHOA! Dude! This is different. Different is GOOD!. Beyond that, your symbology has personal meaning to me. How in touch with where some of what you write is coming from are you? Seems to me it's the FIRE. (Baptism, not Lake of) Don't worry about length, Shakepeare's plays were really long, and Homer's works were usually presented in poetic form. A lot get's lost in the translation.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Druid Dude, thanks for your kind words. The words here were from deep within and heartfelt, and I appreciate your kind comments. I know some will see this as ponderous and melodramatic, but it was important for me to write. Thanks for reading and understanding what it means. Take care.


polarbear153 profile image

polarbear153 6 years ago from CA

I like this free style of yours and how you pulled just a word or a phrase out for so many memories and turning points in your life.

It does leave me wanting to know more about each subject that is only named and not explained. If you wanted to be more disclosing, you could to any of the subjects lacking of any explanation or connection to anything else.

But if you don't want to do that, it is interesting with its mystery.

Momma Mia profile image

Momma Mia 6 years ago from North Carolina

You def have soul!! Very good expressing yourself !!

Makes a mind wander.......mmmmmmmmmmm Nice

Happy New Year Mike

as always



Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Polarbear, thanks for reading. I have written other hubs about a few of the events alluded to here, and will likely write more at other times. Some of these events are still too emotionally charged for me to say too much about, but someday I will likely revisit these moments.

Thanks for reading and for your comments.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Mia, thanks for your kind words. I am always happy to find that you have stopped by and left a comment or two. I am appreciative.

Happy New Year to you, as well. I hope 2011 is all you wish it to be.


hubpageswriter 6 years ago

This poetry has a mind of its own, you certainly did very well here. I like your introductory part; very humbling and non-discriminating at all. I've read lots of poetry and there are those satire types which I respect because of its genre, but there are a few amongst those which can be categorized as pure insults, ridiculing other poets too. A good poet wouldn't insult other poems, or poets is what I think. Sorry for being carried away there, great poetry here by the way. I really think you did well here, well done Mike.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hubpageswriter, thanks for your comments. I agree with you completely. I have little patience for anyone seeking to ridicule other poets, or creators of any type. Anyone who creates is putting a piece of themselves out there for the world to see, and while no one will be liked by everyone, to have their work mocked and ridiculed by anyone is insulting and should not have to be tolerated. Thanks for stopping by. Take care.


duffsmom profile image

duffsmom 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

This gives real insight into the man and makes me feel as if I know you. Well done. Wow and my favorite line of the entire work which is brilliant is; ";Just in time to be too late" Fantastic turn of a phrase--please keep writing

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Duffsmom, thanks for reading and for your kind words. It was not easy to write some of this, even when I only alluded to things. Thanks again for your comments. I am truly appreciative.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 19 months ago from Florida

Well, I'll say this; I used to do the same thing and want to put my poetry in a category, but I could never figure out which one to list it under. Then a friend just told me one day I needed to throw that thought out the door and just write with out categorizing. Art is not a category, and poetry is our own art form. I'm sure most do not consider me a poet, but I don't care. I hope some will like my work and I know I enjoy writing. As for your poem, I totally identified with it. I didn't need to know the category, I just read it and felt the words. I think most of us in this life today could so totally identify with this poem. Great work!

kurtreifschneider profile image

kurtreifschneider 17 months ago from Loveland Colorado

Love your thoughts before the poem, I too think of myself the same way.... I enjoyed the poem also..

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