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What is this Thing Called Living when you can't Stand the Noise Anymore?

Larry Rankin, an experiened writer, enjoys creative writing in all forms, from literary to mainstream.


Read this article because it makes me a bit of money. Write this article because that is the sort of noise I’m supposed to be into. No. Well then, spend a bit of time with your wife. No, that kind of noise is doing nothing for me either at the moment. Stop writing this article. They won’t get it, you know. Simplicity died with Samuel Beckett. Nothing to be done. Baby stirs, and I’m at it. No joy in this noise since the world stopped, but you got to do something. Dead and/or neglected babies will not be tolerated. You can stop everything else, but baby must have a juice, food, a clean diaper, all the shit babies need sans the shit. Play a video game. Why? It’s what you do. I can’t stand the noise. Watch the ball game. It doesn’t matter which one. You are supposed to love that noise. No. All noise, and if Samuel Beckett had been a true master of his craft he should have never written a word, or at least dropped that second “t”. A fleeting memory about how Beckett drove Andre the Giant to school every morning because he couldn’t fit on the bus, a favor owed the big man’s parents. The unlikely couple would talk about cricket. How absurd. I used to love that kind of shit. Noise, and not the good kind. It all hurts or just doesn’t impress. A nap while baby watches The Lorax for the fifteen thousandth time. I love naps. No, too much noise. Too many ways for your brain to ambush you when you’re unconscious. Stare at a wall. Miss Gilman would be proud. But none of those trapped faces seem half as trapped as me. No one gives a shit about yellow wallpaper or hidden meaning. It’s just noise. Recollections of Jeff Foxworthy talking about being too drunk to fish. Vodka in the freezer. Awe, sweet release of alcoholism. One shot, two, then what? That isn’t where I want to be. Just noise. I’ve psyched myself out before I’ve even started. I try to amuse myself. What the hell kind of redneck am I, then? Well, it might be funny to someone.


I know exactly what this is. I’ve been through it before with my brother and father. I know I’m just supposed to keep my head down and act like everything is normal until it is. One would think that when you know exactly what you’re up against, it would be easier. It’s not. Mom, I miss you. You may well be in a better place, but I miss you right here and now. I need that joyful noise.

Some memory about happy, carefree monkeys with removed frontal lobes intrudes. The genesis of the lobotomy. It used to be hard for me to understand that so many of the patients participated willfully.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.



Bella Allred on October 24, 2017:

Wow, I finished reading to find a tear on my cheek that I didn't know I was crying. This is very powerful and I understand the emptiness you feel, I hope that you continue to write and are able to find catharsis in the rich expanse of words.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on February 04, 2017:

Flourish: just a process. Thanks for caring. I always appreciate it. But as dramatic as I can seem, it's just my process. Psychologically I'm actually quite strong. I know the difference from feeling a thing in my mind's eye and the pragmatic process of self preservation. There are others who would say far less about how they feel that are in far more peril than me.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 03, 2017:

Checking back, dear Larry. Hoping you are doing better.

ValKaras on July 18, 2016:

Larry - There are times in life when we just have to mobilize that reserve of strength in us that we didn't know existed, and pull ourselves up by bootstraps. I know, I know, these are only worn out phrases, but at times when someone first came up with them, they just might have made a difference, maybe inspired, encouraged, supported or something.

More than anything, sad moments are testing our love for our own life, sometimes showing us our real capacity to "move on", to allow the time to do the healing. When my mother passed away many years back, a voice in me asked me "how are you going to feel about this one year from now"? I hated that voice with passion, because I wanted to suffer some more because my mother deserved it, go philosophical about life, about losses, about the meaning of life or a lack of it.

But that voice wouldn't shut up. It insisted on my healing, ignoring my sad smartness - until I started paying attention.

Well, I had no boots on at the time to "pull myself up by straps", but healing seemed to have started, because my sad heart decided to slowly turn that loss into a dear memory and gratefulness for all those time that was given to me to spend with my mother. Because my first cousin lost his as a little boy, just like so many other kids must have in this world.

So, soon after, like that voice had suggested, I started feeling about it "as I would feel one year after".

No, I am not heartless, Larry, my friend - so, I am truly sorry for your loss, and if I was near right now, I would have sad it with a big, bear-hug.

Dianna Mendez on June 09, 2016:

I am sorry about your mom passing away. I do care about life... just have to ponder on how I can help others through the hurts.

Larry Rankin (author) from Oklahoma on June 05, 2016:

I chose not to put quotes around the Frost stanza or the Beckett Waiting for Godot quote, "Nothing to be done," because I give my readers credit for being well read. Also, in poetry quotes often aren't placed. Just look at a writer like TS Elliot who makes liberal use of reference.

You will notice that when these works become anthologized, there are often footnotes denoting the allusions to the work of others.

I am not under the delusion that these quotes are mine. With my simplistic writing style in this poem, it would have very much cheapened the effect.

Another example, look at McCourt's "Angela's Ashes," where he employs a simplistic style and doesn't even use quotes for dialogue.

Fighting plagiarisms is very important to me, especially with all the nonsense going on since the advent of the Internet. That said, a little knowledge is dangerous, and I get annoyed with folks that "think" they know what they're talking about when even something like quoting is not without nuance, especially in the realm of creative writing.

As to the styling of the poem, I am a sucker for old rhymed stanza stuff, but I chose to go with the more prevalent, modern stanza form here.

As for the mixing of a rhymed verse with modern prose, again, this is a common poetic device in modern writing.

Deb Hirt on June 03, 2016:

Glad that you were able to reply. We were always be okay, but sometimes it takes a little time to heal. Best wishes to you.

Larry Rankin on May 31, 2016:

Just want to say I appreciate everyone's feedback. I think we've all been to that place where we're numb and can't feel anymore at some point or another.

Wrote this in stream of conscience form. Wanting to show the way my mind is desperately gasping for some bit of happiness, like a fish gasping to breathe outside the water.

I got my family. I will be ok. Thanks for the kind words.

Shannon Henry from Texas on May 29, 2016:

This is powerful. A dark place to be. Perhaps that's why we care. Caring provides hope and eventually finds the light as much as it brings pain.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 28, 2016:

Larry, I echo what other people have said. Please, please seek help from someone if you need to. I know that you're going through a difficult time right now. I hope that writing this poem helped you, but if it didn't, write some more! Your words are important for us to read and - I suspect - for you to write. I'm sending you virtual hugs. They may not be as good as the real thing but are sent with warm wishes and much concern.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on May 28, 2016:

Your nihilism blows me away and makes me wish I was a nihilist too so I could write brilliant lines about Beckett taking Andre the Giant to school. I wish I could give you some psychological feel good pap to ease your pain. I think you have already somewhat eased your pain by writing this, because there is nothing like writing for catharsis, I have discovered. Lord knows we need a secret place to descend, or ascend to when we just can't turn the volume down on the noise. Your writing will get you through it, because that is who you are. Prayers, positive vibrations, or whatever you want to call them from the son of rednecks in CA to a genuine one in OK who certainly doesn't fit any of the stereotypes.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 28, 2016:

Larry, I am distressed that your writing is a cry for help. We love you and want you to be happy and well. Please, please talk to someone. I've been where you are. I give you the biggest of hugs.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 28, 2016:

@maven101 So the almost five hundred words of gut-wrenching prose poetry above the Robert Frost quotation weren't visible to you?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2016:

Why do we care? I don't have an answer for you, but I'm glad you are writing again, so I guess I do care....so there you go.

Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on May 28, 2016:

The only poetry I read was the unaccredited "The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep" by Robert Frost...

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 28, 2016:

The world just goes on around us in a screaming rush and doesn't even notice if we join in shrieking, ourselves. People we love turn into elements and molecules that are no longer anyone and we're supposed to get over it in a day or so. We're just allowed a fake sad smile for a few days and people run from its silent grief anyway. Any more and they stay away or start butting in with suggestions that we aren't well if we aren't done being gutted by loss in the amount of time they're comfortable with.

My world is always noisy, too, and in my case they call it autism; I call it being human.

Anyway, absolutely soundless, intangible platonic internet hugs to you.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on May 28, 2016:

Very interesting read. The poem is with deep meaning. I am sorry for your mother lying on the bed.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 28, 2016:

Good to read another hub by you Larry. I don't really know what to say in regard to this one, but it was well written and effective. Did your Mom pass away? If so please accept my deep condolences.

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