Wild Cactus Dancer

Rick Belden writes about the fully-consuming love that binds two people together—and how it ends.

wild cactus dancer
fiery blue-eyed imp
queen of the temper tantrum
treehouse nature girl.

stubborn and impatient
breasts like perfect teardrops
voracious wounded heart
swinging from man to man.

my love for you was animal fierce
and gravity absolute
heart love
brain love
beast love
soul love
you had me all the way
my life was bound to yours
every cell in my body
ate and drank and wept and slept with you
you swept through me like a blizzard
I wanted no one else.

I knew you before I knew you
we gave birth to one another
we howled together on hillsides in the dark
we flowed out of volcanoes hand in hand
burning everything in our path
merging and cooling
into lakes of glassy black diamonds.

I would’ve stood in the sun for you
until I burst into flames
I would’ve stood in the wind for you
until I was blown to pieces
but it wasn’t enough.

someone put a little black hole in your heart
I thought I could fill it up
I tried but I couldn’t
you needed more than I could give you
you could never believe that I loved you
no matter what I said
no matter what I did
you never knew
how completely
I adored you.

—Photo gnoble760/Flickr

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About Rick Belden

Rick Belden is the author of Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood. His book is widely used in the United States and internationally by therapists, counselors, and men’s groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men’s issues, and as a resource for men who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful family systems. His second book, Scapegoat’s Cross: Poems about Finding and Reclaiming the Lost Man Within, is currently awaiting publication. He lives in Austin, Texas.

More information, including excerpts from Rick’s books, is available at his website. His first book, "Iron Man Family Outing," is available here. You can follow Rick Belden on Facebook.

Comments

  1. Joanna Schroeder says:

    This is gorgeous, Rick. Thanks so much for this.

  2. Julie Gillis says:

    As a fellow Austinite, I say thank you for that beautiful piece of work!

  3. As a cactus lover and collector, i like the beautiful picture of Carnegia gigantea :)

  4. What do they say, Rick – better to have loved and lost…
    I always enjoy your stuff – and I wonder how many men have fallen, teardrops and all, only to discover a black hole, a void which cannot be filled by any man at this point in her life. Thanks for sharing your anger. I share your pain.
    J

  5. Kelsey Wright says:

    That was really pretty Rick. I read your stuff in the morning and this one I could actually relate to. Keep it up. Can’t wait to see you again :)

  6. Shelley Imholte says:

    Bravo Rick~Love can certainly be prickly! Appreciate your flow, the inner workings of your mind, and the vulnerability openly displayed. Cheers to the holes that penetrate us for I believe this is in fact one of the ways we become more whole~

    Sanguinely~

    Shelley

  7. your poetry never ceases to blow me away. i keep Iron Man Family Outing next to my chair and read it between clients. the poems always capture the deepest sense of anguish, longing, and desire that are so difficult to express let alone to feel. this poem is no exception.
    i will always be a huge fan of your work, Rick!

  8. David Jewell says:

    fantastic truth telling. relentless and so real.
    i know the feeling, i think thousands if not millions
    of men know the feeling. a mystery. a force of nature.
    bravo rick for having the courage to say it true and clear.

  9. Dear Rick,
    I loved this. I thought it really picked up too – how I came off to a slightly slow start, but was fully engaged by the middle of the poem.

    This verse impacts me most:

    I knew you before I knew you
    we gave birth to one another
    we howled together on hillsides in the dark
    we flowed out of volcanoes hand in hand
    burning everything in our path
    merging and cooling
    into lakes of glassy black diamonds.

    I felt it in my body. I love how you weave the story of two lovers into the soil that feeds us. That nourishes me profoundly.

    Well done. Keep it coming :-)

    Much love,
    Eivind

  10. Amazing words. I really value the depth of experience and emotion that Rick’s work offers.

  11. Rick,
    I almost wish I could say that I DIDN’T relate to this poem! I’ve known it to be very exhilarating, chasing after the wounded one who’s forever running, faster and faster lest her life catch up to her…me giving in to the temptation to play her savior lest MY life catch up with me. You set it up so well, so I could feel that enticement even though I knew from the start of the poem the spin-out that must inevitably follow.

  12. So many great comments. Thank you all for taking the time to read and post your responses to this poem and to the experience it encapsulates and expresses.

  13. Jeff Nepute says:

    the verse that stuck out most to me was:

    someone put a little black hole in your heart
    I thought I could fill it up
    I tried but I couldn’t

    It brings me back to a previous relationship, where I so badly wanted to be trusted, but never could be enough. It brought tears to my eyes on the last lines, “you never knew how completely
    I adored you.” I’m always amazed at how much you can speak about stories that are so very much my own as well.

  14. Those who’d like to watch my video reading of this poem on YouTube can do so by clicking on my name above this comment.

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