Poetry from William Hartwick

Book cover for William Hartwick's The Invisible Backpack: A Life of Courage. Image is of a young white boy with brown curly hair climbing stairs outdoors. He's only visible from the back.
Why Me?

I have Tourette’s syndrome and bipolar disorder yes blessed with them both
And once I was even arrested under oath
One is neurological no one can explain
The other is caused by the unnecessary pain
Normal basic an average are words of dismay
I’m here to share with you there is another way
No need to judge another for how they make you feel
Take a look in the mirror and see what is real
Love is truly the answer thank you God above
Even Sigmund Freud said hard work and love
As we open up our backpacks and take one thing out
You can always put it back in if you have a doubt
Life is not easy no manual given at birth
Yet 8 billion humans exist together on earth
There is no one like you nor anyone like me
Put one foot in front of the other and soon you shall see
That God above has never let us down
It’s time to hold hands again my friends in each and every town


It happened at birth a coma for
me, for others I'm not sure
The fact of the matter is, there is no cure
It comes in many avenues, from physical to the mind
There is no defining it, no particular kind
Some have it for a lifetime, some right away
If we don't deal with, forever it will stay
Exposure to so many has really made me ache
Accepting my own trauma has really made me wake
The pain is deeper than I ever thought it could be 
As I open my heart to others they can clearly see
How much I am hurting over this recent tragic loss
Not only losing my wife but
dealing with a horrible boss
What I am realizing is that I am not alone
Coming together with complete strangers
and seeing how they have grown
Gives me inspiration way beyond belief
Never did I imagine there could be so much relief
I thought I was alone suffering this awful pain
Thinking I was crazy, literally going insane
Listening to their stories as they
share their lives with me
Has surely made me realize that I can plainly see

That trauma is a creature that comes in many ways
I am thankful for this experience
and cherish all my days
As I wake each morning wondering
what the day will bring
And listen to birds outside my window sing
I can't help but think and hope that
each day brings a smile
To everyone's lives that's here on
earth for only a little while
I pray to God each night as I lay my head down to rest
That ALL our trauma lives will turn out for the best
My trauma is forever, but my heart is now stronger
For human bond and love of life will last even longer

Tourette's and Bipolar Disorder, Yes, Both

Hey, Darin and Marcy, I finally found
out I have Tourette's, holy shit! 
"You can have them all little sons of
bitches and get away with it!"
In Tau Kappa Epsilon, my fraternal 
name was "Twitch."
A term of endearment, a nickname I will never ditch
Living thirty-five years of my life, 
always wondering why
I would go from complete laughter
to a sudden tearful cry
Teased my entire childhood mainly by those we "trust"
Adults were the worst of all; high
school was a fucking bust
Called a son of a bitch by Dale Thomas
and literally kicked out of class
And Jeff Nynehouse, "I can't handle you
on the bus," what a fucking ass
My label given to me has long been misled
Even those who have this "gift" have been misled
Medication was prescribed; what a fiasco that became
It is not okay for medical professionals
to cause "US" to go insane

The only neurological disorder known
to those prescribing drugs
Sorry, Dr. Narus, LOVE is the answer;
please start prescribing "hugs"
"I want some of what you're on, 
can I have some SHIT?"
"I have Tourette's, you want some of IT?"
My final straw came when I was
arrested and thrown in jail
"DUI other than alcohol," just try and make bail
Before you judge those of us who suffer from this pain
Think to yourself, "What do I have to gain?" 
We all have a disability; just take a look in the mirror
"Can I walk on water?" or do I just have a fear? 
How to accept others, no matter the
twitch, the glasses, or the creed
Thank God for those who can understand
why I choose to smoke weed
It is the only true relief I have
ever had other than LOVE
"Footprints in the Sand," my friends;
thank you, God above
So often people walk away or simply want to ignore
Maybe Tourette's will go away, we won't
have to deal with "THEM" anymore
To all of you that have this "gift,"
the one that makes me, ME
Don't ever let them put you in the 
"box," live and be free

I am proud of my life each and every day
Of course, there are times I think, make IT go away" 
So when you are passing judgment
or "choosing" to discriminate
You are one of "THEM," you are causing the HATE!

This poem is from William Hartwick’s book The Invisible Backpack. which is available for order.

The Invisible Backpack is a labor of love created from a life-long struggle to come to terms with who the author is and accept himself as he was meant to be. We are all born with an invisible backpack on our backs. It is where we put all the hurts of life. When we are young and courageously climbing the stairs of life, it is extremely light, and we really don’t know it’s there. As we get older, it gets heavier with whatever pain, grief, or trauma we experience. Unfortunately, we resist taking these feelings out of our backpacks and let go of them. Some of us hold onto them so tightly, we forget to make room for the things that lighten our load…forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance, and love. For if we can put these items in our backpacks, it will cancel out all of the negative things we’ve been holding onto, and our life journeys will become much lighter.

One thought on “Poetry from William Hartwick

  1. What a courageous poet! I like the poems’ sense of hope in the face of such adversity. “Put one foot in front of the other and soon you shall see that God above has never let us down.” I also look to God in difficult times, when it seems like no one will understand me.

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