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Neil Hilborn - "OCD" (Rustbelt 2013)
August 12, 2013 4:40 PM   Subscribe

"How can it be a mistake when I don't have to wash my hands after I touch her?" Neil Hilborn performs his piece "OCD" at the 2013 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam.
posted by hippybear (11 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Funny how the first line I found online wasn't from the poet's perspective, but his lover:

"She’d lay in bed and watch me turn the lights off and on, off and on… she’s close her eyes and imagine days and nights were passing in front of her."

Thanks for posting this!
posted by grimjeer at 5:05 PM on August 12, 2013


When he said he left the door unlocked, I teared up. This is profoundly touching.
posted by figment of my conation at 6:30 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


My facebook friends were all gaga over this but I found it kind of disturbing. It seems like he is placing responsibility for his happiness on her shoulders.
posted by sparklemotion at 6:34 PM on August 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, cool! I went to school with Neil. He was a few years above me, so I didn't know him well, but he was definitely a familiar figure on campus and always a delight to hear at poetry slams. Glad to see him getting recognition around the Internet -- he's supremely talented.
posted by jeudi at 7:32 PM on August 12, 2013


It seems like he is placing responsibility for his happiness on her shoulders.

I take it more as he is astounded that he has met someone who doesn't mind all his quirks and who doesn't set off the same set of responses as most other people, and was celebrating that, and is disturbed that the relationship has ended because he's not found others like that in his life.

It IS possible to find solace in another person without making them responsible for you having found solace.
posted by hippybear at 9:13 PM on August 12, 2013


Except for where it gets really stalkerish:

"I can't go out and find someone new because I always think of her"
...
"Now I just think about who else is kissing her"

If she turned up on AskMe, someone would be pointing her to The Gift of Fear.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:38 AM on August 13, 2013


It's no more stalkerish than a million similar poems. "The things you do now you're with him or her" is a common theme and it's a popular one too. This is partly familiarity and partly Catharsis.

The description of OCD doesn't feel real to me, but I'm not a sufferer. Maybe someone with OCD can say more on this.
posted by zoo at 12:04 PM on August 13, 2013


hippybear: It seems like he is placing responsibility for his happiness on her shoulders.

I take it more as he is astounded that he has met someone who doesn't mind all his quirks and who doesn't set off the same set of responses as most other people, and was celebrating that, and is disturbed that the relationship has ended because he's not found others like that in his life.

It IS possible to find solace in another person without making them responsible for you having found solace.
Nonetheless, after breakup that's what most of us do: "I'd be so happy if only you'd come back/quit doing X/do Y."

He's placing responsibility for his happiness on her shoulders.

Because that's what we do during heartbreak: we become childish and unreasonable.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:13 PM on August 13, 2013


The penetration level this has achieved of the general internet is kinda mindblowing. I can't open up a single website of any type without it popping up somewhere. I'm not surprised at all to see it here, but i'm kinda amazed how far and fast this spread when there's a lot of other stuff like it out there that never gets noticed this way.

But, Jeeze though. I think reading this as some kind of "he's placing all responsibility on her" or "he's creepy" is a bit much. The line between just wishing you had someone back and "creepy" always seems almost intentionally vague to the point that a lot of times it feels almost impossible to determine where it lies. Disturbing becomes sweet depending on the context, and how the other party involved receives it.(and yes, i'm aware thats almost stock off the rack a line that creepy entitled "nice guys" use, but it can be pretty damn true)

It might just be that i'm "a bit aspergersy" as jessamyn once described her dad, and the first actual relationship i had left me feeling quite a bit like this so it really hits home for me. It just sounds like it comes from a place of absolute heartbreak and innocence. Not childishness, or being unreasonable, or anything gross like that. But just complete "but....why!" innocence without any real entitlement or crappiness. The quickness with which it was looked at in the worst light possible just rubs me the wrong way.

Regardless though, he's done some other entertaining stuff.
posted by emptythought at 11:55 PM on August 13, 2013


I missed this when it was posted and I was going to post it myself.

I also thought it was stalkerish, until the last line. Which is brilliant: it changes everything that went before it; it carries so much meaning - he's changing because of her; she's more important than his tics; he wants to leave an opening for her to return. It's just brilliant.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:21 AM on August 14, 2013


I really liked it, although there are two sides I was battling with as I was watching it. On the one hand, I did think halfway through that dating this guy must be exhausting, and that his reaction to her leaving seemed a bit obsessive. But on the other hand, it was told in such an earnest way that, despite the obsessiveness, I think it excellently conveys how he feels, particularly the immense vulnerability that he puts himself in at the end for the desperate hope that things can return to how they were.
posted by vckeating at 10:46 AM on August 15, 2013


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