So It Goes

Your vision haunts my tortured mind,
a dizzying hall of mirrors inside
I close my eyes and turn away
As I glance back, you fade to gray

Your mocking voice echoes in the dark,
searing words that wound and scar
I close my eyes and drift away
My dream of love was all in vain

So it goes when illusion reigns
Chasing ghosts and stranger things
Time reveals the web of lies,
shattered hearts and lovers’ sighs

What profits a man to lose his soul
on wasted nights and fire grown cold?
Rather walk alone thru pouring rain
with virgin heart that’s known no pain.

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On Happiness & Desire

Lately, I’ve been asking myself if I’m happy, and if not, why? What does that even mean? There is no simple answer.

And it’s a convoluted minefield. Because once I’ve “decided” that I’m unhappy or depressed (by sticking that label on myself), I further think & act along those lines and it’s mostly a constant downward spiral from there – unless I realize what’s going on & try to stop it.

It seems like the general definition of happiness consists in being satisfied with (or at least accepting of..) the state of the 4 areas of life:

1. Mental – knowledge, intellectual stimulation

2. Physical – health & fitness, living situation, possessions (clothes, transportation, miscellaneous)

3. Spiritual – existential perspective/meaning

4. Social – family, significant other (if desired), friends, other relationships

(5*) Occupational – job, skills, income

(#5 is more a combination of the others than its own category, but has such a strong impact on our lives that I decided to separate it out.)

Whenever I decide that I’m not happy, it’s usually because I’m not satisfied with where I am in one or more of these ares. But who sets the ‘boundaries’, outside of which I’m dissatisfied? Who writes the rules on happiness?

I’ve decided that the first question that needs to be asked when I notice ANY desire or discontent or ‘want’ is: Who’s writing the definition? In today’s culture, that often turns out to be one of two groups of people – advertisers or so-called experts.

The first are mostly just trying to sell you something and get your money, so they make up things to stimulate desire. One book has termed them “desire merchants”. Magazines & televisions have to constantly come up with ways to entice you to consume their products, so they get advertising dollars. To suck you in, they exploit ‘beautiful’ people with ‘beautiful’ possessions doing ‘exciting’ things. It’s close to the same with movies, with the exception that they just want your money directly, instead of getting it from advertisers. With books, the situation is a little more murky. The authors may believe they have something useful to say (at least in the beginning). But if they’ve devoted themselves to writing, then they too need you to buy their product to support themselves.

The second group, “the experts”, often turn out to just be telling us what studies have found to be the cultural norm. It doesn’t mean what exists is RIGHT, merely that it’s what most people are doing.

So it seems that most of what I may think I want/need/should have/be comes from people who are:
1. trying to sell me something or …
2. trying to make me believe that because it’s how the majority is living their lives, I should be emulating the majority. (…like if they all jump off a cliff…..)

They’re all telling me I SHOULD be unhappy with who/what/where I am, constantly striving for something better – and of course, who is writing the definition of “better”? (Round and round we go, where it stops we already know. Six feet under – walls of dirt and a bed of clay ; once we dreamed we were kings, but it was only for a day…)

More and more, I’m thinking we need to hop off this merry-go-round. We ARE what/where/who we are, we’re the sum total of what has happened to us before this moment. Except to the “desire merchants”, it’s not good or bad, it just is.

Perhaps the two most pernicious words in the English (or any) language are “I want”. If we could only stop *wanting* to be other than what/who/where we are and be content just BEING – well, maybe it wouldn’t solve all our problems, but I bet it would help a hell of a lot.

Don’t Ask

Don’t ask me how I’m doing
Don’t ask about my day
Life’s for living, not thinking
In the end I’ll be okay

Don’t ask about tomorrow
The future doesn’t exist
It’s a creation of poets and fools
Right now is all there is

Don’t ask about the past
I’ll say just look at us here
We’re the sum of all that’s been
Masterpieces under construction

Reflected back in the mirror.

Spring Rains 2

Rain taps on the window
of another chilly evening
But it cannot wash away the internal demons
that threaten to consume me

Loneliness, depression, futility
vie for my attention
Like impetuous children
who refuse to slumber

Oh, that these “children” would
leave home and forget their place of birth!
They are bastards who curse
the very thought of their ancestors

Alcohol numbs festering wounds,
but it’s a band-aid on cancer
Even death holds no promise of respite,
being merely a door into eternity.

Spring Rain

A gray curtain of falling rain feeds the thirsty trees,
greening leaf by leaf in the early spring afternoon

The ground is littered with dogwood blossoms
as the suckling buds are pelted by the storm

Oblivious to the deluge and with no umbrella in hand,
Squirrels play tag in the yard, scampering to and fro

Occasional rolls of thunder interrupt the hypnotic melody
of raindrops on the tin porch roof

I’m lulled into a peaceful sense of timeless beauty,
these same droplets likely having nurtured the heroes of old

Winter into spring, the constant dance of the seasons
Perhaps not so much death and rebirth, as cycles of living evolution

Snapshot

I’d love to take a snapshot
of the newness of the day –
that moment I first open my eyes
before thinking gets in the way

Morning holds such promise!
The dawn is on fire with hope,
like a rocket ship poised to blast off
to challenge the vast unknown

But alas, my brain insists on booting up
The chaos and trouble soon begin
Shadows are cast and plans are dashed
as countless memories rush back in

Where is the button to pause my life,
to stop the endless replays?
If I couldn’t remember my yesterday,
would it change how I feel about today?

Paralyzed

In the silence of the morning,
while the sun is still in hiding,
I lie in sleepless torpor
and reflect on my tomorrows

I grew up always dreaming
full of life and full of schemes
Somewhere along the journey
they dried up, withered, and died.

I lie here in the darkness,
feeling empty, numb, and heartless
The little voice echoes in my head –
I’ve squandered all my chances

As my journey nears its twilight,
I’m stopped by the side of the road
Afraid to drive forward or even turn back,
paralyzed by the unknown

Far off in the distance
(or in the corners of my mind)
The cosmic clock is a pounding thunder
as my seconds tick, tick, tick away