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Verses From a Troubled Mind

John is a freelance writer, ghost-writer, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

A Much Needed Introduction

It has taken me quite some thought as to how to adequately introduce these two poems. They are not the usual light-hearted pieces that I usually write to inspire, entertain, or promote some message I feel is important.

In fact, I have to admit, they are downright dark and depressing in content. That said, they do touch on topics like domestic violence and mental health that are not widely discussed, but that many people may be able to relate to. I think they do both have positive endings.

Most of my recent writing has centred on the Poems From the Porch series and poetry I have written for other people. I just needed to do something a bit different before I publish the next in that series. These two poems were, in fact, also written at the request of other people, but outside the HubPages community.

Analyse Me! eventuated from a friend jokingly telling me that her life has been so eventful she should write a book about it. I said I thought I could do it in a poem, so she dared me to, not believing it possible. I don't think she'd mind me saying that she was 'blown away" with the result. It was originally intended to be kept private but she felt it may be helpful to someone else in a similar situation so gave me permission to publish it (with a little censoring.)

Our Mind is a Battlefield is the result of someone else asking if I could write a poem on based on the subject "Our Mind, our Own Worst Enemy" and in the style of Charles Bukowski. If anyone is familiar with Bukowski you will know his style is not exactly easy to duplicate. That is if he even has a style, his poetry is very much freestyle verse. Anyway, I researched his life and read a lot of his poems, and this is what I came up with.

Image by Prettysleepy2 from Pixabay

Image by Prettysleepy2 from Pixabay

Analyse This! (If I Could Change My Life)

Tell me Mr Psycho man,

Analyse my fucking life.

Tell me what has caused this,

All my pain and strife?

You blame it on my childhood,

You’ve really no idea.

It’s just your “go to” reason,

Your thinking’s all too clear.

Your analysis is from the books

By psycho’s Freud and Jung

Whose troubled childhoods tainted this,

That song’s already sung.

At school I was a terror,

That’s something I admit.

I couldn’t help the things I did,

I’m an ADHD kid.

I shoved a girl through a glass door,

She really was a bitch.

I’d do the same now with the chance,

I never give an inch.

My family were supportive,

They gave me all they could.

Never once was I abused,

But no one understood.

I found a guy who turned me on,

Too young to figure why.

Maybe the bad guys do attract,

But to find the good I tried.

I admit I also had my faults,

And sometimes provoked his ire.

We often fought like cat and dog,

Our relationship had fire.

But as is quite often the case

His head was warped by drugs.

It turned him from a rugged male

Into a cowardly thug.

I crushed his Adam’s apple once,

He stabbed me with a knife.

The relationship came crashing down

When he almost took my life.

They locked him up for dealing drugs,

Not what he did to me.

He still admits no fault at all,

And now the creep is free.

My mother was my closest friend,

Her death ripped me apart.

It doesn’t matter where I go,

I take her in my heart.

My father grieves in his own way,

A man of so few words.

He carries on as best he can

Just sifting gold from turds.

My sister’s husband’s full of shit,

That’s why I have their kid.

I care for her just like my own,

From this job I never hid.

I care for people, that’s my job,

I get no thanks or praise.

Except from my clients themselves,

Their smiles just make my days.

Some days I hate the cards I’m dealt,

This life I’d like to snuff,

But those I care about win out.

I fight it ‘cause I’m tough.

“I Love You” aren’t words I use,

They lead to too much grief.

For those you really care about,

Death steals them like a thief.

I know my life’s important

To those who really know,

But my scars remind me constantly

Of the pain I can’t outgrow.

There are some people out there,

Like the one who wrote this verse,

Who sees me as a shining star

In their small universe.

So tell me, tell me, Mr Shrink

What do you suggest I do,

Spend time with the ones who care,

Or give my cash to you?

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Our Mind is a Battlefield

our mind is a battlefield: it attacks us and make us doubt ourselves

it belittles us and tells us we're inferior

and others can see our insecurity

feeling in turn superior

while we just feel worthless

and broken


hoping that someone may praise us and lift us up

but it doesn't happen

at home our family expect too much from us

admonishing us with scoldings and beatings

but we take it all

never begging for mercy

just seeking understanding


maybe one day they'll see the turmoil and confusion

that we go through daily

or maybe they'll never really understand

it's really up to us and us alone

no one else can help defeat this enemy

that masquerades as our mind

our conscious

guilty or not

take control, pull out the big guns

and blast the shit out of it

make it hoist the white flag

in surrender

© 2019 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 09, 2020:

Thank you sowspeaks. I do find writing carthartic, but these were specifically written for other people so I hope they also found it so.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on September 09, 2020:

Hi John, that was intense dark stuff but it has its place. I wonder if penning these poems was a cathartic experience for you . Well expressed!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 24, 2019:

They sure did stretch me, Chris. It was worth it though. Thanks for reading.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 24, 2019:

These poems stretched you, John. I'm glad you wrote them. The depth of meaning and emotion is impressive.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 21, 2019:

Thanks for reading, Denise. Yes, hers is quite a powerful story and she is a strong woman to have been through all she has and be where she is.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 21, 2019:

Wow, Analyse Me really struck a chord with me. We have no say over the hand we are dealt and some are just heroes for getting through a day of it.



Nikki Khan from London on November 19, 2019:

Always my pleasure John, so well deserved, you are.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 19, 2019:

Thank you, Nikki. I am very honoured.

Nikki Khan from London on November 19, 2019:

John have shared it as best excerpt of this week, on my website.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 18, 2019:

Thank you for your insightful comment on each of these poems, Nithya.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 18, 2019:

The first one portrays the struggle of an individual in life, a powerful piece with emotions running riot. The second one is all about the mind that can wreak havoc if we do not take control. Both excellent!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 17, 2019:

It is funny how easy the words just flowed when I was writing that poem, Brenda. I hardly had to stop and think. It just needed to be written.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 17, 2019:

I really love "Analyse This". It flows so naturally and tells a vivid story that one can relate too.

This stanza is so often true....

"I Love You” aren’t words I use,

They lead to too much grief.

For those you really care about,

Death steals them like a thief."

And then the ending, "Spend time with the ones who care,

Or give my cash to you?"

Exactly how some people feel and want to say when facing this ordeal.

Great writings.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 16, 2019:

Good to see you Linda, and I appreciate your generous comment. I know you are one who has been through a lot of adversity in life so you know only too well the power that words can have and writing it all down on paper/computer whatever. The person I wrote the first poem for is so impressed by the release this has given her that she is trying to think of other instances in her life that need writing about. Thank you for your well wishes.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on November 16, 2019:

Incredible poetry John. What a cool thing to write these poems for people in your life. Doesn't matter it's about struggle as it is a gift to them and educates on topics we don't always talk about. Pain, and mental health issues are a part of so many lives and to read about can educate and comfort. I know I get so much healing and comfort writing dark poetry aka the hardships I'm going through. Thanks much for sharing and all the best to your friends, that may find some peace in the storms.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 16, 2019:

Lori, I wish your friend well and pray her life improves. I love that quote "Don't go down that road or you'll get mugged." It's funny how you can get so emotionally involved with the pain of others (not suffering it yourself) and be inspired to write about it as though you went through it. Many of the best writers in history have been inspired by their pain or torment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 16, 2019:

Peggy, thank you for your kind comment. Yes, I am close friends with these people, and I am sure that shows in the poetry. When you have an emotional bond of some sort it seems to be reflected in the power or depth of the words. The first one tells me that just seeing her life written down as a poem has helped give her a different perspective.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 16, 2019:

Thank you Ruby, I always appreciate your kind words and glad you loved these poems. I started the Poems From the Porch series to actually see if I could write poetry about any subject and so far I have been able to. If I receive a request that I can't do I will freely admit it. These two poems had that little extra 'something" however.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 16, 2019:

Thank you for reading this Mr Happy. Yes, I agree with you in that what each of us classes as "dark" depends on what we have been through in life personally. We should never take life for granted and just be happy to wake up each morning. Cheers.

Lori Colbo from United States on November 16, 2019:

I think the best writing comes from pain. It teaches and grows us. I can see you put your heart and soul into these.

As far as the battlefield of the mind, I have a friend who is in recovery. She has had some terrible terrible things happen to her in the last four or five years. One day she was venting with her sponsor. Her sponsor wisely and hilariously gave her this advice: Don't go down that road or you'll get mugged. I keep that one close by.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 16, 2019:

Your creativity was unleashed in these two atypical (for you) poems. You are obviously good friends to both of these people who asked you to write these powerful poems. I hope that both of them find peace and love in this world. They are lucky to have you for support.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on November 16, 2019:

This is amazingly different for you, but it's realistic. I know people who feel misunderstood and just want to give up at times. Like I've always believed, you have the gift to write about any subject, and you are the best! Loved them all, especially the first one.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on November 16, 2019:

"He still admits no fault at all,

And now the creep is free." - I like your play with words here. I was at a fairly fast-paced reading and the flow of words is really nice and smooth.

In the 12th stanza I like the way You rhymed "apart" with "heart".

“I Love You” aren’t words I use,

They lead to too much grief.

For those you really care about,

Death steals them like a thief." - Yup. I do agree with this. Been to more funerals than I care to count lol

Alrighty, that was fun. Sorry, I got to run out to the grocery store but I did not find this terribly dark. I live between ghettos. Life is hard out here. I give thanks when I wake-up just for making it another day.

I do find that if we realize that Death is always just next to us, ready to touch us at any moment, we might appreciate Life a little more and do some things differently. We're never guaranteed to see tomorrow. Some may say this is morbid talk but I just find it realistic talk, haha!!

Anyway, You have a good weekend - all the very best!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 16, 2019:

Oh Ann, your comment blows me away. To think I was reluctant to publish that first poem but so glad I did now. It seems so many people can relate to it in some way. Cheers.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 16, 2019:

These poems are amazing, John! You've excelled yourself, especially with the first one. The angst, the determination and the damage come starkly through. Love the last line!

You have gone beyond your usual style and it's worked really well; a well-crafted and stunning hub.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Hi Kamkar, thank you for reading and commenting. The first poem is very special and i think inspirational that you can overcome adversity.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Thank you, Shawindi. I am glad you enjoyed these poems.

Kamkar sanjukta on November 15, 2019:

The first poem has just touched me deeply. Hurdles, family, love, responsibilities and to go in with life.

Shawindi Silva from Sri lanka on November 15, 2019:

Great !!!!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Thank you! Thank you! Flourish, much appreciated.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 15, 2019:

You are truly taking it to the next level with these. Applause, applause!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Audrey, thank you for reading these poems and i am glad you can appreciate them and can especially relate to the second “Our Mind is a Battlefield.” Your practice of being in the moment and not worrying about outcomes or the future I am sure will have positive results.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Firstly, Shauna, thank you for the courage to share your experiences here, but even more so being strong enough to overcome them and become the person you are. The situation with your son must be particularly difficult to deal with. I can certainly see how you can relate to the first poem especially. What i hoped by sharing it was that it would be read by people who had been through similar experiences so they would know they weren’t alone. You are awesome, don’t ever forget that.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 15, 2019:

Life's reality leaps within the words you've chosen for these poems that so many of us can appreciate, John. I know, speaking for myself, that my mind is indeed a battlefield and as you've said, "it's really up to us to defeat the enemy."

One exercise that helps me is to practice being in the moment. It's a huge challenge for me because my mind is all over the place and I'm a sensitive little puppy. But learning how to "just be" does bring me supreme peace.

Thanks, John

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 15, 2019:

John, these are two powerful poems, to which I can relate for different reasons.

In the first I relate to the violent tendencies of someone who is ADHD. My 27 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in grade school. He saw a psychiatrist, was on medication (actually guinea-pigged to see what would work), saw a behavioral specialist (he was also diagnosed with conduct disorder. Most ADHD kids have a secondary disorder) and to this day has a volatile temper. I can't tell you how may holes are in my walls, doors, and my heart. I'm chastised constantly and usually blind-sided when it happens. I actually called the cops twice on my son before he was 15 years old because of his ADHD-induced violence to my home.

Life's a bitch, but I love him and try to keep the peace. At my age I wonder when the hell it will stop. When the hell will I be able to enjoy my twilight years. It's amazing that I can still work effectively at my job. Well, not really. I'm appreciated there. Not to say my son doesn't appreciate me, but when he goes into his rages, it's all because of me. Because of how I raised him (alone, with no child support from his father). Nevermind the fact that I was hands-on with his school and doctors. Nevermind the fact that I've supported him emotionally and financially (to this day), not only after I divorced his father, but after he died when my son was only fifteen.

But none of that matters when he wants to blame life on someone other than himself.

The second poem I don't really relate to. I've been thru hell. Not only with what I exposed above, but I've been raped three times in my life. The first was a gang rape by boys I went to high school with. I wasn't worth their time while in school because I was smart. But once I moved out right after graduation, all of a sudden I was game. And not a nice game. The second was a date rape. I'd gone out with a guy who was schizophrenic, but didn't know it. I don't even want to go into that one. It was terrifying, The third one was someone who broke into my home while I was sleeping. I woke to a body on top of me, a washcloth over my face, a knife to my throat and the words "don't move or I'll kill you". I didn't know what the hell to do. When he was done with me, he walked me into my bedroom closet, locked the door, and put a chair up under the doorknob to keep me in. He then left. I'm highly claustrophobic and it was a very small closet. My phobia gave me strength and I busted my way out of the closet. I grabbed a pair of jeans that I hadn't worn in a long time and a quarter dropped out of the pocket, which was a godsend because I discovered that my Seiko watch and all my cash had also been stolen by the son of a bitch. I scampered out of the house, got in my car, found the nearest pay phone, and headed to my boyfriend's house. Obviously, this was before cell phones.

I was never able to step foot back in that house again. What's worse, is the cops thought they knew who raped me because there was another rape not far from my cottage. But because I didn't see his face, although I will NEVER forget that voice, no charges were made.

Given all that, I've overcome. I smile. I laugh. I make others laugh. I still look at life through rose-colored glasses. I refuse to let life get me down. I choose to celebrate me.

I'm pretty awesome. So are the people for whom you wrote these poems. Let them know that.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Alicia, I appreciate that comment so much. That poem was very special to the person involved and I am glad they asked me to share it.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 15, 2019:

I was especially impressed by the first poem. It takes us right into the person's life, the problems that they've experienced and are experiencing, and their love for certain people. It's a powerful poem, John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Ps, you are right, and I certainly took my mind to another place to experience and write these words. Thank you for reading.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 15, 2019:

Sometimes to express the intensity of a situation or feeling it is necessary to go to another place. These poems are decidedly words that express how some from my past have felt. Thank you for sharing these with us. Angels are headed your way this afternoon. ps

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Yes, Clive, but which one? Cheers.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

What a wonderful comment, Shannon. I am glad you found these poems thought provoking but offering hope.thank you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

MsDora, your comments always confirm that what I write is worthwhile and can make a difference in someone’s life. If it helps just one it is a success. Because of the subject matter I felt these poems needed positive endings.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Thank Charley. I knew you’d be able to relate, if anyone. Yes, I much prefer Carl Rogers too. Robert Ellis just escapes my memory for now.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on November 15, 2019:

thats one messed up mind.

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 15, 2019:

Your intro gives warning to darker subject matter this time, but poetry like that can still stop a person in their tracks. It's so visceral. But the fact that it does elicit so much emotion speaks volumes about your talent.Thought-provoking, too. I love that they both end on a hopeful note, though, because I feel like there are often glimmers of hope even in the darkest despair. You've once again lived up to the expectations of your requests.

Now I should go continue my venture back through the porch seriees. No doubt those answers to requests are just as admirable.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 15, 2019:

Dark subject matter, yes, but presented in excellent poetry. After so many negative details in the first one, you end on the positive note that somebody cares. Beautiful!

In the second one, you make it known that despite the destructive vibes in the mind, we are responsible for controlling it; not allowing it to control us. Empowering!

Your poetry teaches life even from deathly circumstances. Thanks!

Charlie Halliday from Scotland on November 15, 2019:

Great work John. As you know I can relate to the subject of a troubled mind. Like your comment on Freud and Jung. I am more a Carl Rogers and Albert Ellis type of guy

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Paula it is always a pleasure to receive a comment from you.we do experience a wide range or realties during our lifetime but often try not to dwell on the less appealing aspects. I feel we need to face them and write about them too. Thank you for your confirmation. I am glad you enjoyed them.

Suzie from Carson City on November 15, 2019:

Bravo, Jodah! Two quite profound, emotionally-charged poems. Human nature realities, so many of us experience throughout a lifetime. I love them both as they spoke the truth and moved me to contemplation.

I believe your friends must be so pleased and grateful at the results of their suggestions. These poems may be a slight change from your usual style but certainly just as masterful.

You never, ever disappoint, my Aussie friend. Peace, Paula

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Thank you for your input into these poems, manatita. Glad you liked the first one specially,Blessings.

manatita44 from london on November 15, 2019:

Scary woman! Still, nothing wrong with the first poem. In fact it's brilliant! You should read mines on Despair. let's just say I'm good at images, even on the dark side.

Now Guruji teaches that despair helps us and again I always say that adversity is the candle of the Divine.

You seem to have described most of us in the second poem and again, it's not bad at all. Expectations are a killer but not easy to let go. two great pieces, but the first reads exceptionally well and tells a good story

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Hi Liz, thank you for saying that. I appreciate that kind of comment.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 15, 2019:

Deep and thought provoking poetry, which touches on current and relevant topics. These are well-written, challenging and evocative.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Than you for the positive comment, Nikki. Yes, she has been through a lot but is a fighter. A lot of people have mental issues and we don’t even know it. Have a great weekend.

Nikki Khan from London on November 15, 2019:

Good job Jodah. We really need to address dark aspects of our lives too. I really feel sorry for her. Drug-addicts not only ruin themselves, but also risk their families to get buried deep into the dark well.

There are many people who are indeed, have some kind of mental issue but are scared to mention it, to others.

We should consider helping those too.

Carry on good work.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

I am glad you could relate Bill. Haha yes I must admit I feel better now. You have a great weekend too.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 15, 2019:

I am intimately familiar with the darkness of life, so these two poems were right up my alley...and well-done...and thought-provoking. And now that you got that out of your system, have a great weekend!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Yes, Devika, exactly. Direct without sugar coating things.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 15, 2019:

Sometimes one needs to say whats on their minds. In a positive way and a negative way a direct way of releasing thoughts from one to another.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Eric, as always I appreciate your comment. You always bring more value to my work through your replies. Yes, I agree we need to share the ugly stuff as well, not just the pretty.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Tiyasha, what a wonderful comment. I am blown away with how much you can connect to these poems. Poetry does have a way of bridging gaps even between cultures. Glad you liked my dig at Freud and Jung too. Much appreciated.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 15, 2019:

Maybe to someone who has never experienced such stuff it is dark. I get that. But it seems to me like cancer patients. Sharing our dark stuff helps us feel like we are not alone and lonliness seems our greatest killer. ( the S word )

Now on the style of writing -- way cool. I really liked both. I read them twice, the second for style. You are a great teacher by example. Muchas Gracias from 4 miles from our 'Border Wall'.

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on November 15, 2019:

I was glued to both and could relate so much to both of them.

There are so many individual experiences that make us so very different from one another. And from that arises the inability to be understood. But there are many like me who can connect with you and each other through these poems.

The complexity of the mind is so perfectly explained in so few simple words, it was mind-blowing.

And I love the humorous take at the clichéd Freud Jung reference by shrinks.

Great job John. You truly are a versatile author.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Haha thanks Eric. Maybe that’s all I need to write in future..a catchy title.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 15, 2019:

Have not read it yet. But the title is worthy alone.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Lorna, your comment is greatly valued coming from someone involved in this actual field with on the ground experience. I am so glad you were successful in preventing that 14 year old from committing suicide. Thank you.

Lorna Lamon on November 15, 2019:

Two very psychologically balanced poems with a real sense of the stark reality of what many people live with. I think it's good to step out of your comfort zone John and these poems are a reflection of doing just that. It also serves to remind us that life is not always a bed of roses and mental health is a very real issue. Just yesterday I was part of a team trying to stop a 14 yr old committing suicide, thankfully he didn't but the look on his face I will carry with me for a long time. I was very impressed by both poems John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Pamela, I always appreciate your well thought out comments, and your support whatever a I write. Yes, the first poem was sad in a number of ways. Much appreciated.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 15, 2019:

These poems were certainly a change of pace. I really think both poems are very good. I think you probably did justice to the requests of these two people.

I thought the first poem was kind of sad, yet I understand sometimes getting treated better while working than at home.

As to the battle of the mind, I do not go there. I remember having some doubts when I was young, but that time is long gone.

You never fail to entertain John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 15, 2019:

Sally, it is great to get a comment from you. I am glad that the title was out there enough to draw you in. It isn’t my normal poetry fare but sometimes we need to write outside our comfort zone and visit the darker side to say things that need to be said.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on November 15, 2019:

The title drew me in and I was not disappointed. The words speak to me as I am sure it will to others. You sure took the bull by the horns, did not mince words but told it simply as it is. Well done John, a great piece of writing.

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