The Dead, Dead World (A Tough Spot)

Well, I got burned recently … and this poem (from my currently defunct but hopefully eventually alive incomplete poetry project Believe the Impossible, a project containing speculative poetry, with plenty of magic) captures my mind set of it. The dead, dead world … so much darkness. There is so much beauty, but filter that beauty through all of the pain and suffering and misery, and … well, we realize it’s much more complicated than that. It’s complicated because people are indeed complicated, and a lot can happen in any moment. Life just keeps happening, and it always will. There is no time for a break, no time to rest. No time to try and figure it all out … and as a thinker I need that.

Enjoy the poem. It comes from delusion (and some defamiliarization), but I think it paints an accurate picture of the darker side of human nature and our world. I do wish life was about butterflies and rainbows, but … it’s a lot more complicated than that.

We’ll see …

The Dead, Dead World

I walked into a Walgreens,
built on a graveyard,
the interior still and ghost quiet,
except for the shriek of
the checker when I walked up to her.

“Whoa,” I said. “Didn’t mean to
scare you. You sounded like a banshee
for a moment.”

I could tell she didn’t like me,
a little more hopeless animosity for
the corpse we all occupy, called Earth.
The stillness passed between us,

until she finally said, “Hi.”

Afterwards, we talked, of many things,
dead topics of dire importance to
the world for sensation appeal.
We talked of violence, people who would
kill someone for a few cents.
We talked about deception, loneliness,
death, mixed in with the weather
to keep things cool.

“It forms this huge, dysfunctional mess,”
I said. “A melting pot of all that’s
wrong with us. A reflection of how hopeless
it really is.”

There was still nothing between us
except for stillness, her blank,
disconnected gaze pinned on the ground.

“I mean, do we really care
about anyone?” I asked. “Is love
even possible?”

I looked on the floor, it stained with
black shoe marks that looked like
fingerprints of death, empty as
the future of humanity.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” she asked.
I said I didn’t know.
“You should. We’re all just haunts of
this sad, sad world.”

I saw her point—are we really none other than
contributions in this deceased function called life?
It’s all pointless when the final destination
is the casket.

I walked out with
a cigarette in my mouth
to kill time.

Passed a playground.
Though night sprawled over me
like a sinner’s eyes, I saw a
few kids ghosting the swing sets.
They looked happy.
But I knew soon they’d lose
their innocence to the dark future
ahead of them. I knew even they
had Satan in their veins.

A homeless man came up to me,
put a knife to my throat. Told
me to give him everything I had.

I did, wondering how many people
had ignored this zombie,
a vagrancy of nothingness,
so like the rest of us—

then he slit my hope.

I had wished I was wrong about
living in death, but the
environment doesn’t lie, a sinister
throat full of hostile blood.

Are we all lost in nothing?


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