Anatomy of loneliness . . .

03 Apr

At any time I am out and about and anywhere near a Half-price Book store, I park and enter and browse and usually find something I cannot do without—oops, I ended that sentence with a preposition. It should read “. . . something without which I cannot do.” Such was the case recently when I found a copy of McGuffey’s  First Eclectic Reader, a revised edition copyrighted 1907 and 1920 by H. H. Vall—yes, my copy is of the $5 variety, not one of the $1,000-plus revisions. My imagination is not strong enough to speculate on how much an original first issue might be worth.

I paid the princely Kingly price of $5 plus tax for my copy, primarily because its browned pages sheltered a newspaper clipping, torn and tattered and darkened by the years and held together with Scotch tape. The clipping also showed a brief statement labeled Lone Star Steel Company Drops. The statement dates the clipping at sometime during 1949 or 1950—probably in early 1950. The author, Nat Lamb or perhaps Nathan Lamb would now, if still living, be somewhere on the north side of eighty years in longevity. Dallas has more than its fair share of Lambs, both Nat and Nathan, and I could not pin one of them down as to age, gender or occupation.

As an aside, I have heard and seen the term fair share used in conversations and on radio, television and  in print so often that I now cringe when it appears, whether through sight or sound. Enough, I say—enough, enough, ENOUGH!

The complete article follows:


Loneliness is a babbling hunch-back soul, lost on the way to tomorrow, groping its way through the misery of unending space, forever looking back . . . seeing nothing.

This is the anatomy of loneliness . . . the deformed bones of its being, the wasted flesh of its twisted body . . . this is the shape of loneliness.

A wispy scent of forgotten fragrance, jerking the mind back to memories of a dead first love . . . the uneasy stirrings of gardenia leaves, discarded, dropping onto the ash heap of a burned out love . . .

Soft murmured phrases, whispering through the corridors of time, breathing the glory of an undying love in days long dead . . . raising the gray and misty ghost of a forgotten romance.

The haunting lilt of music swirling through the night . . . a tune played on a harp with half the strings missing, a melody heard in a dim-lit cafe over wine glasses on a checkered table . . . music of the past, intruding unwanted into the present.

The half-remembered warmth of a caress, mingled with a vision of time-withered flesh, creased and wrinkled with the passage of years . . . the creeping death of marching time. . . the slaughter of youth and the mangled dreams strewn over the years . . .

The crackling pages of a lavender-scented letter, yellow with age . . . faded ink blurred with tears except for a signed name under the words “Yours forever.”

Loneliness is the day after forever . . . the waking moments after a dream . . . memories forgotten until the midnight hour.

Loneliness is the throbbing moan of a half-heard train whistle wandering through the night to nowhere . . . a wild ride on a runaway nightmare with no beginning and no ending . . . the muted throbbing of an aching heart.

It is a compound fracture of the mind . . .a creeping paralysis of the soul . . . a gust of cold wind over the emotions . . . this is the anatomy of loneliness . . .

Pity the poor heart.

Postscript: In my first reading this post I considered it a sophomoric attempt at humor, or perhaps a tongue-in-cheek satirical analysis of loneliness. It reminded me of the time a college professor noted that my writing was somewhat turgid. It that is indeed a fault, I cannot continue claiming that I am sans faults in every respect. I confess my guilt to the accusation of turgidity—in fact, I embrace the fault, if in fact it be a fault.

Just one more serious afterthought: With subsequent readings I realized that the article on loneliness mirrored many of my own thoughts and feelings, and even now after those readings I still find mirrored emotions that parallel the author’s thoughts, and if that means I am sophomoric, or of a satirical bent, so be it.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized


5 responses to “Anatomy of loneliness . . .

  1. Larry

    April 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I believe that language falls short in our attempts to communicate feelings. One way to try and overcome this, is to use as many words as you can think of to try and convey what you are feeling, hoping that somewhere in that sea of words that there is one word or phrase that makes a connection with the reader. I don’t think the King of Texas wants his readers to just know the story, he wants them to understand and feel the story. I like to try and understand what you write. Keep sticking to it.

    And by the way, please don’t grade my grammar and punctuation. I’m just trying to communicate.

    • thekingoftexas

      April 4, 2012 at 9:25 am

      Larry, your comment seemed to suggest that my postings are excessive in length, too “wordy,” so to speak. I instinctively responded in kind by pointing out the misplaced periods. Many writers routinely err on the placement of commas and periods. They apparently feel that placing the period outside the quotation mark degrades the effectiveness of the quotation.

      Many of the comments on my literary efforts are replete with common errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, capitalization, spacing and paragraphing. Some bloggers routinely correct the errors in such comments. Your cousin Cindy exemplifies that practice. She honestly feels that the process is a teachable moment, and that she is doing the writer a favor by correcting the errors. She does not consider her efforts to be either grading or degrading the writing or the writer. Nor do I, but I do not deign to correct another’s writing—ignore it perhaps, or perhaps call attention to it, but not correct it.

      Please accept my heartfelt apology for “grading” your punctuation. I don’t remember grading your grammar but if I did, at any time on any comment, I apologize for that also.

      A parable with my concealed promise to never grade your grammar and punctuation:

      A minister was invited to have Sunday dinner with a family after services were over. The lady of the house knew that her little boy sometimes used forbidden words, several of which had only four syllables, so she ordered him to stay on the porch and not say a word, not one, while the preacher was there.

      When the preacher arrived the kid was sitting on the porch watching his dog, old Rex, scoot across the wooden porch floor on his butt trying to scratch an itch as dogs often do, and the kid said, “Rex, I ain’t gonna say one bad word while the preacher is here, not one word, not even if you get a splinter up your ass a foot long.”

      Be well, and please continue communicating,


      • Larry

        April 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm

        No need for apologies, but I accept them anyway. I’ll put them on the shelf to be used when or if a real apology is needed.


  2. DeAnn

    May 17, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Hi Mike,

    So glad I checked on you this morning … I must remember how your post invariable elicit a “laugh out loud” … such a great way to start the quiet part of my day!

    “That man may know he dwells not on his own.” Milton, from Paradise Lost

    There are so many provocative quotes on lonely/lonliness … I like Steinbeck on this topic and also Milton … Maya Angelou. I’ve thought that there is an empty place in our soul that we, to some degree, try to fill with … all kinds of “things” … and I have concluded that that is the place in our vessel intended to “hold” our maker.

    Lonely … alone … interesting to think about.

    Glad to find you well, and so “Kingful”!


    • thekingoftexas

      June 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Hi, DeAnn,

      Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment. Please forgive me for lagging behind on my reply to your comments. I have been out of pocket for quite awhile. As the young people would say, “I mean, like, you know, blah, blah, blah”, I had so much on my mind that every time I reached for something in my mind all the other thoughts started clamoring for attention and at the end of the day I did nothing.” I wish I could have a penny for each time our politicians and TV personalities use that expression at the end of the day. I cringe, curse and crucify the speaker—I crucify mentally, but I cringe and curse aloud.

      And why not? I’m home alone except for Dessi, my little pet frog that I found in the yard. He sits on a rock in a small glass bowl under a spotlighted area below a kitchen cabinet—no water in the bowl because Dessi is dessicated from staying too long in our Texas sun. His head is raised and tilted to one side—he seems to be watching me as I go about my kitchen duties. Of course he is severely restricted because his eyes are just open holes and one can see the rock on which he is perched. He is complete with all his skin, legs, feet, fingers, etc., but he has no stomach and therefore no innards—not a trace of anything. My three daughters are constantly urging me to get a pet, a cat perhaps, or a dog, but I have a pet frog. He doesn’t need a litter box, he doesn’t need to be taken for daily walks, he doesn’t shed and doesn’t bark. He just sits on his rock and his eye sockets seem to follow every move I make, but that’s probably my imagination. Then again, who knows?

      I agree with you completely on your thoughts concerning that empty place in our soul. That’s profound—wish I had said that, but I promise to give proper attribution when and if I use it in conversation or in writing—-really, I promise!

      Thanks for the comment. I’m off to reply to the other comment, the one you made on the Newsweek issue. Take care, and be well.

      PeeEss: I’m sending this via e-mail just in case you don’t get around to my blog.


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