last trip to the doll house

The holidays can leave us desperate for human connection.

the most wonderful time of the year
or so that cheerful guy in the annoying song
keeps telling me
time to huddle up with the wife and kids
mom and dad
brothers and sisters
the whole family
but what if there is no wife and kids
what if the family is busted
like a holiday plate
someone dropped on the floor.
I got what I wanted for christmas one year
I got to spend the day with myself
I didn’t have to lie to anyone
or pretend everything was fine when it wasn’t
but the evening was restless
and bored
and lonely
so I went out in search of some heat
a connection
even a fake one would do.

the connections were fake
but the tequila was real
and so was the hot blur that came with it
and so was the desire to end the night in the illusion of intimacy
if only for a few moments
even if I had to give up a piece of myself to make it happen.

I hadn’t paid for sex in years
I didn’t know where to go anymore
I drove around for a couple of hours but
all the old places I remembered from wilder days
were long gone or locked up tight
the last place on my list was a joint called the doll house
and when I got there I discovered
that the doll house had been eaten by a fire
so I ended my search and my christmas
sitting alone in a parking lot at 4 AM
staring into the blackened shell
of a burned-out doll house.

I took the hint
I got the message
and I was relieved
I knew this was my last trip to the doll house
end of the list
end of the line
no more hookers for me.


Copyright © 2009 by Rick Belden.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported

More by Rick Belden: Pleasureland

Image credit: SmartBoyDesigns/Flickr

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.


  1. Thanks, Frank. I appreciate your comment.

  2. How very powerful, but so sad. Very moving.

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