Neil Hilborn – “OCD” (Rustbelt 2013)

This video has been circulating for almost a week now. Poet Neil Hilborn talks about meeting and losing his girlfriend.  I found some of the comments around the web about his poem very interesting.  For example, that Neil was trying to change himself for his girlfriend.  There’s the common relationship rule that someone should love you exactly as you are.  I think that’s a bit simplistic.  I don’t think he was trying to “change” himself – I think he was doing whatever he could to keep the door open for her return.  What heartbroken and desperate person hasn’t done the same?  To suggest that someone with OCD could “change themselves” at will anyway kind of misses the point…

 

 

OCD Lyrics (From Poetry Genius)

The first time I saw her…
Everything in my head went quiet.
All the tics, all the constantly refreshing images just disappeared.
When you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you don’t really get quiet moments.
Even in bed, I’m thinking:
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.

But when I saw her, the only thing I could think about was the hairpin curve of her lips..
Or the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek.

I knew I had to talk to her.
I asked her out six times in thirty seconds.
She said yes after the third one, but none of them felt right, so I had to keep going.
On our first date, I spent more time organizing my meal by color than I did eating it, or fucking talking to her…
But she loved it.
She loved that I had to kiss her goodbye sixteen times or twenty-four times or if it was Wednesday.
She loved that it took me forever to walk home because there are lots of cracks on our sidewalk.
When we moved in together, she said she felt safe, like no one would ever rob us because I definitely locked the door eighteen times.
I’d always watch her mouth when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked
when she talked;

when she said she loved me, her mouth would curl up at the edges.
At night, she’d lay in bed and watch me turn all the lights off.. And on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off.
She’d close her eyes and imagine that the days and nights were passing in front of her.
Some mornings I’d start kissing her goodbye but she’d just leave cause I was
just making her late for work

When I stopped in front of a crack in the sidewalk, she just kept walking…
When she said she loved me her mouth was a straight line.

She told me that I was taking up too much of her time.
Last week she started sleeping at her mother’s place.
She told me that she shouldn’t have let me get so attached to her; that this whole thing was a mistake, but…
How can it be a mistake that I don’t have to wash my hands after I touched her?
Love is not a mistake, and it’s killing me that she can run away from this and I just can’t.
I can’t – I can’t go out and find someone new because I always think of her.
Usually, when I obsess over things, I see germs sneaking into my skin.
I see myself crushed by an endless succession of cars…
And she was the first beautiful thing I ever got stuck on.
I want to wake up every morning thinking about the way she holds her steering wheel..
How she turns shower knobs like she’s opening a safe.
How she blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out…
Now, I just think about who else is kissing her.
I can’t breathe because he only kisses her once — he doesn’t care if it’s perfect!
I want her back so bad…
I leave the door unlocked.
I leave the lights on.

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