This Is Us for Better or for Worse
Surrounded by people I am alone.
Alone I crave the company of one, or many . . .
Please don’t see me, don’t approach me, don’t . . .
Ignore me, never ignore me, I beg you, acknowledge my existence.
This is us!
I am white, I am black, I am brown, I am yellow, yellow? Is there such a thing as a yellow human, or truly black, and white, I think not, more like creamy latte approaching light brown, heavy on the cream, thank you very much, what the hell, it is so damned confusing at times.
But there is no confusion on the issues, right? Love it or leave it, my country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, upon this shore we welcome the teeming masses, just not from there or there or there or there or there, damn it all to hell, we need to re-write that section, amend it yes, that’s it, amendment, out with the old, in with the new, all-inclusive except . . .
Republican or Democrat, which are you, what, Liberal, Conservative? Ultra-Liberal, Ultra-Conservative, Independent? Seriously? Get off the fence and choose, you have to choose, it’s the good guys vs the bad guys and the bad guys are anyone who doesn’t agree with us, get it, pretty simple, really, our way at all costs, even if those costs are unity and tranquility.
Silliness . . . with a price!
Sadness and Anger
Did you know my tears make the same sound upon impacting the earth as yours? It’s true, I’ve seen it, heard it, the toughest man on the planet, crying, weeping like a little baby . . . just like a baby, in fact . . . over the loss of his baby, the loss of a home to fire, conflagration, burn, baby, burn, the cleansing debridement, out with the old, in with the new, where is the sense of it all? Urban, suburban, rural, moving further from the center, in search of a little elbow room, and yet stroll the streets of Moscow or take it casual in Eugene, it’s all the same, people, dammit all to hell, people, mothers, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, living, breathing, annoyingly predictable unpredictable homo sapiens, fluffing their plumage or hiding in the shadows, people, people who need people, are the luckiest . . . you’ve got to be out of your mind, lucky, get serious, needing people means pain, here we go back to debridement, strip off the top layer and let it breathe, try not to hear the screams.
I am angry! Cut off in traffic, interrupted in conversation, not respected by the boss or the wife or the husband, certainly not by the kids, feeling a wee bit like the invisible man, or a mushroom yes that’s it a mushroom, always in the dark and shit on daily, surely you understand, at work, while playing, or sitting in the closet hoping to one day break free, the anger builds, builds, a crescendo of frustrations to the climax, oh blessed climax, in Paris and Copenhagen, Minneapolis or Rio, we all feel it at times, but how we handle that angst, that blossoming caldron, there’s the rub, eh, to vent or not to vent, that is the question, whether tis nobler to suffer quietly or explode with a car bomb and take other sufferers with us.
Fear and Isolation
I fear, shh, not a word, never show fear, never voice it, but fear I do and fear I always shall, fearful of life itself if the truth be known, fearful that somehow, once again, I’ll screw it all up again, make a colossal mistake, take the wrong damned path again, and end up where I am destined to reside, in a cesspool of my own mistakes, barely above water, lost in that sea of confusion and feeling all too familiar the inadequacies I was born with. And what if I infect another with it, a child god forbid, or desperately cling to a partner, a spouse, and drag them down with me, roll the dice, boxcars or craps, hoping against hope that those little ivories will just once signal victory in a game beginning with birth and ending as worm food, fear so paralyzing at times as to seem unfair, some cosmic joke, so . . .
I shut you out, and you, and you, build up the walls, dig that moat, fill it up, close the drawbridge, safely tucked inside, out of touch, out of harm’s way, but oh so lonely, back to lonely, one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do, alone on a three dog night, cold seeping in behind those walls, desperately wishing for companionship or just some damned contact, can’t get warm now, can’t get warm, can’t get warm.
And isolation leads to segregation, me versus you, us versus them, misunderstanding runs rampant, no way to understand, to find common ground, when in truth the common ground is undeniable, as obvious as the damned nose on your face, nobody knows what the nose, knows, so speak, beak, but no one is listening, so sad, so sad, so sad!
Inadequate and Insignificant
I am inadequate, sure feels that way, incapable of reaching potentials, incapable of being all that I can be. Mommy and Daddy tell us from birth that we can be whatever we want to be, we just have to want it badly enough, but that’s just so much horseshit and anyone with half a brain recognizes that fact, the odds stacked against some, no friggin’ way it happens, toss away the unrealistic dreams, shelve thoughts of greatness, and just accept that fact that Darwin had it right all along and the top dogs will always feast on the bottom-feeders, so it seems and so we believe, and that leads us to . . .
I am insignificant, grand scheme of things, one in seven billion, one tiny speck of molecules swimming in a vast ocean of other molecules, unseen, unheard . . .
So we go about our lives, fluff that plumage once again, put on a show, try the latest makeup, get a face lift, buy expensive clothes, get a boob job, drive flashy cars, watch The Shark Tank and dream of opportunities wasted, that could have been me if only, run up the credit debt, live beyond our means, always chasing a dream which has been out of our grasp since birth, unable to comprehend that it is all so meaningless, the appearance, the image, the absolute insanity of it all, bigger home, bigger dick, bigger ego . . . bigger idiot!
A glimmer appears . . .
Coffee with friends, quiet moments of actual connection with a trusted one, festivities and gaiety and celebrations, baptisms and marriages, births and engagements, the theater, our pets, oh yes, our pets, hobbies, church, a good book by a warm fire, swimming in the lake on a hot summer day, ice-skating, snowball fights, building a snowman, playing board games, playing cards, tossing the ball around with your son, or daughter, the clouds part and the brilliant sunshine of life shines through . . .
Then one day, perhaps, if we are lucky, for some on the death bed, for others early enough to change, the realization arrives that what is truly important has been ours from day one, the ability to love, the ability to reach out and truly feel, the ability to express empathy and compassion, the ability to tap into our finer angels and get it, really get it, can you dig it, baby, can you possibly fathom the simplistic truth of it all?
This is us! This is who we are, mankind, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. To deny it is folly. To accept it is salvation from the ghosts who haunt us, ghosts of our own creation. The Boogey Man exists in each of us, his power derived via our permission, or we can kick that asswipe to the curb, hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more . . .
This is us!
Seven billion photocopies of the same being.
This was inspired by a recent jaunt around Facebook. All of humanity is on display on Facebook, if you look closely enough. There is joy, fear, anger, much anger, feelings of inadequacy, it is all there, bald and naked and risky in a detached sort of way.
It occurred to me, on that day, that there are a lot of unhappy, frustrated, fearful, and yes, hateful, people in the world, and those people are spending great amounts of time blaming others for their angst . . . the ex-husband, the mother, the illness, the Republicans, the Liberals, Trump, Obama, it’s all someone else’s fault . . . and I find that amazing.
So this coffee shop open-mike prose diatribe was born.
I hope you at least take a moment to reflect on its message.
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)