Poet Max Wallis muses on the rise of male loneliness

Poet Max Wallis muses on the rise of male loneliness | Soho House

For World Mental Health Day, we asked the creative to offer his take on the feeling that continuously haunts men across generations

Monday 10 October 2022    By Anastasiia Fedorova

Exploring human emotions in all their complexity has always been important for poet Max Wallis. Based in London and Staffordshire, Wallis is a Soho House member and director of Chatham Creative – with poetry being his favoured medium of creative expression. 
The lack of intimacy and connection people experience in contemporary society is something he’s been invested in for a while – especially when it comes to feelings of loneliness among men. In 2017, Wallis created an installation ‘I Love You, Man’, which combined his poetry with 15 screens depicting men of different ages and ethnicities repeating the declaration of love. 
Wallis seeks to dismantle the stigma around men portraying emotion and highlight the fact that loneliness remains an issue which persistently permeates our society. ‘There are two types of loneliness ­– loneliness when you’re physically alone, or loneliness when you’re surrounded by people who can’t understand you, and it’s important to tackle both of these,’ he says. 
The poem below, written especially by Wallis for Soho House, is for everyone who might be combatting loneliness this World Mental Health Day. 

'If you find yourself’
By Max Wallis


blackout drunk
holding your lover 
at arm’s length
if you find yourself carrying cans
a blue bag that rattles 
the morning walk.
If you find yourself poor
waiting for the wind to change
and for self-worth to come back.
If you find yourself
talking to a stranger at a party
telling them How did we get here?
If you find yourself alone
holding on to smoke
trapped inside your own head.
If you find yourself at a party
at 5am
wondering How did I get here?
How did I let it come to this?
If you find yourself wishing
that you hadn’t collapsed so inwardly 
so as to snuff out yourself
so as to become someone
If you find yourself hiding from mirrors
more and more each day
because mirrors might tell your secret.
If you find yourself in too deep
with dream merchants and oilsmen 
and then again, another time when you swore you wouldn’t
Know you are not the only one.
For information, advice and support on mental health, visit mind.org.uk


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