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Poem: A Collector's Hope

A former family therapist, Mark is an author, humorist, poet, and short-story writer who enjoys a good comedy.

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The Sadness of a Hoarder's Life

Collecting stamps or baseball cards as a hobby is one thing, but when a person gathers and hoards as a compulsion, that's when it becomes a significant concern.

During my days as a therapist, I had several clients who had issues with hoarding. Not only was there fear and anxiety attached to hoarding but much sadness. No matter how many things a hoarder had accumulated or surrounded himself, a dark cloud of sorrow seemed to hover over him or her.

The hoarder's thought was, "If only that were mine, my life would be so much better." There is a hope that one day, they will have collected enough things or that the next item they picked up would fill that emptiness. Of course, a hoarder never becomes satisfied or fulfilled.

Trauma is a bitter pill to swallow. The hoarder's life lingers in a painful past and often hurts the ones they love the most. In this poem, the hoarder ends up losing everything. The more he tries to hold onto things, and the tighter his grip, the more his life slips away.

Poem: A Collector's Hope

My friend died

with empty pockets

and an odd smile

with a collector’s hope

of a prosperous afterlife.


He held onto random things

that he saved from fire sales

and factory closeouts;

stowed away his safekeeping

in a storage bin with all his misfired plans,

oil pans, and stacks of Popular Mechanics.


He slept in a late model Ford

after his wife changed the locks

on the front door.

He packed his car with memories

that reminded him of her.


He wanted to hold on to his wife,

tuck her away with the rest

of his belongings, but his lawyer

told him to stop trying to harbor

something already lost and gone.


So he stood idly by as the woman

who once stole his heart

and cooked his tenderloin just right,

run away with the neighborhood butcher.


My friend left a hoarder’s legacy,

a connoisseur of fine trash,

while his wife had an endless supply of prime rib

and a lifetime of ground chuck.

A Collector's Hope

© 2019 Mark Tulin

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