This is not a poem

The news talks about

an Air India passenger

who urinated on an

elderly woman, and Twitter

is on fire, one propagandist

who churns out jingoistic

movies, replete with majoritarian

fanaticism, asks, what if it

was a Khan? Wouldn’t the

law be different? But this isn’t

about him or the woman

who had to endure sickening

humiliation while she waited

for a new seat for hours.

This is about the crazed

passenger, 34, and

a vice-president

of a multinational company.

Hold on, I don’t even think

this is about him, but more about

the idea of a 34-year-old man

in such a position of power.

I’ll camouflage the fact that this

is really about me, also 34, by

not boring you with the usual

mawkish, self-pity laced rant

about the differences in stature

between a poet writing

lugubrious odes transporting you

straight to funerals without roses

and someone with power over

such losers, power to snap his

fingers and alter the trajectory

of their lives. Both our lives occupy

the same place in time and space

because we’re both

passengers, one on an endless

chase for meaning that he justifies

with superfluous language because

he needs to say more to defend

doing less, the other

where he should be. But what

about beauty? Some might ask.

What about it? It isn’t worth living

or dying for beauty unless your

concept of it revolves around God.

If it is some abstract notion of

your mind, some subjective judgement

that you herald, you’re only

living for yourself. The great poets

were greater narcissists, masking

their soul’s search for admiration

with a Bauta of melancholy.

A golden false face of innocence.

Even Keats probably trashed in

agony when he apostrophised

Autumn. Oh seasons of fists

and manic fruitlessness indeed!

The romanticism that accompanies

art and depression (from which most

art ensues) is a cesspool that will

blind you to the world outside.

In its murky depths, you’ll sink

and sink, lamenting and

faux-prophesying, arguing

that you’re searching for

something within that will

make the trumpets sound,

the moon sing her ethereal

aria, the clowns cease their

trolling, and the kings bring

petals to wash your feet.

But there is nothing, no

seraphic purpose that guards

you with wings, and sets you

apart from the crowd.

No cherubic calling that

heightens your aesthetic sense,

gives you a bluish halo,

and Elven ears,

making you an otherworldly

messenger of love

or comfort. Bright star, I’ll never be

steadfast as thou art, and my

lover complains it hurts

when I lie on her breast. The world

will wake up one day without you,

and what you’ve endured and who

you are will drift in mishandled

recollections of those who

knew you best, or misunderstood

writings you’ve left behind

conveying the breeze susurrating,

but interpreted as an ode to

you masturbating, or better

yet depicting sweet psithurism

but understood as an

explosive orgasm.

33 responses to “This is not a poem”

  1. Love the style, but can’t help bridle at the message. Surely there must be something more to life, beauty and art? I get what the narrator is saying about having high and maybe unreal expectations of one’s purpose, but to obliterate purpose entirely seems a tad extreme. Aspirations are an important part of being human. This poem seems like nihilism and despair to me, or am I misreading it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the narrator is an extremely nihilistic, despairing, bitter guy. I guess there’s a part of me that’s uber-realistic and is absolutely fed up of life. And then there’s another part that’s romantic, and another that hopes in a grounded way. I expressed the darkest bit of me writing this. I was standing outside a food stall and I wondered where I was going in life. I guess we all have thoughts like that. Then I wondered if any of this is worth it. Then I came back to my room and wondered about a 34 year old guy becoming a CEO of a company. I always thought 50 is when you become a big shot lol. And yesterday when I asked a relative if he smokes, he said only cigars and not cigarettes. So all this made me question things. This isn’t an obliteration of purpose tbh. It’s frustration mixed with a droll amusement. I look at my classmates driving sports cars and wonder with a lopsided grin whether they’re really living at all. So I thought I’d turn the tables and wonder if I am living at all. Tbh both art and money don’t seem too promising. Having said that, there is contentment in doing something small, and taking care of loved ones.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very few people gain fulfilment. I think that finding contentment in doing small things is already a leap forward. We are all Divided inside, but don’t let the despair win. Better to be angry than to give up. I’d given up on myself these past few years (you know what happened), but something is making me want to live again now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I get you. Often I simply want to fade into obscurity, but what purpose will that serve? Two or three days of complete solitude might be good but after that you want to create. I guess it’s all that pent up anger. I have a wish to survive, but living is a different topic altogether. I don’t think I’ve ever truly lived since I was a kid playing football on the streets.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. What do you think It means to truly live? I have been asking myself that question for some time now. I don’t have an answer.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The only thing that first comes to mind is to be fully satisfied at your station in life. I don’t think I am. I don’t feel anything usually because I’m very introverted, but when I’m in the company of people, it gets to me. The usual question of what you are doing with life pierces through sadly. I think I should get some courage and tell people I’m nobody lol

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You’re not nobody. In the grand scheme, if you believe in something like that, the values that humanity hold dear mean nothing. I do not think we are wired to feel satisfied with our lives that comes through decades of effort and training, a few epiphanies and gradual enlightenment.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I think I believe that I’m nobody in the sense that a part of me doesn’t want to be known. But there is another part that wants to be somebody. As far as values are concerned, I believe I can hold onto values better if I’m nobody. If I’m somebody then I’ll probably lose a hold of myself. I agree with the satisfaction part though.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I get you now. It is possible to be somebody you are okay with and still hold on to your values. Power has not corrupted everyone absolutely, so there’s a precedent, even if they are in the minority. The real question is what do you think you’ll gain by being ‘somebody?’ There are many things that are useful to us, power, wealth and fame are not bad things as long as you do not worship them. They can accomplish good. You don’t have to feel the need to fulfill society’s expectations I think we can both agree that society is screwed up, the way it is now, decaying more by the day. You don’t have to be a great reformer, unless you have the skill set. Just do what you can and what makes you happy. If it is truly by writing confessional poetry Or nihilistic parodies then go for it, but don’t stagnate and stop thinking, and don’t lose your Will .


    2. I think there was also a post structuralist element to it in the sense that we have no idea what Keats went through when he wrote his odes. I won’t go to the extremes and say the author is dead, and read something against the grain or decipher what isn’t said, but there’s a small notion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know very little about Keats, but most artists seem to have gone to hell and back.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I agree. The artist’s life is the hardest. Excruciating and full of madness and woe. Keats suffered I’m sure. So did everyone else.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I bet if you look at the poets on WordPress you’ll find that they’re either old and experienced, or broken. Maybe the artist’s brain is wired in a certain way where art becomes the only release from this hellish reality.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s true of quite a few people. I fully agree, but I don’t like those who aren’t on meds saying they suffer from a clinical condition. It’s romanticising what some of us would love to get rid off completely.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That’s just plain dishonesty. They’re either fooling themselves or trying to fool the world, Neither of which make them likable. I do not know how one can romanticise a health condition. Spreading awareness is a different matter.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Haven’t you read the pink elephant in the room posts on Facebook which garner a thousand likes or the I’m like Kurt Cobain or something weirdness? I don’t think Kurt Cobain wanted to be Kurt Cobain.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I really haven’t. I only used facebook when we were in uni.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. It’s full of this sort of thing. The people who lead popular lives and are the life of the party suddenly dropping a post about crippling depression and getting a ton of hearts. If you talk to them, you’ll find out that it’s relationship based or something that’s not clinical. And they’ll make it a point to avoid you if you share your problems which is why I use art lol

        Liked by 1 person

      9. They can fuck off. Why bother with them if they can’t empathize with your condition. Obvious narcissists. They aren’t worth the trouble. Don’t give them another thought. You don’t have to go out of your way to love them. If you can really help them in a meaningful way then that’s a different matter, but you have to know what you’re doing first. Better to leave that to professionals. Psychologists and counselors need to make a living.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Lol. I chuckled at the psychologists have to make a living bit. I think it’s the fact that we’re living in this Information Age that fuels narcissism and eliminates empathy or sympathy. Everyone wants to brand themselves, and I guess attaching yourself vaguely to something like depression without sounding too dark is marketing yourself too. Another thing I hate are these mental wellness posts. Instagram is full of these bubbles of information where someone talks about getting help. I’ve met a few of these people though and they’re nasty in real life.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Why do you think mental illness has been glamourised in this age? Is it because of the fame of Cobain, Van Gogh and the like?

        This all seems really odd to me. If people think mental illness is cool, then there’s definitely something wrong with them. It seems to be the start of a whole new entry in DSM. If they’re just doing it for attention it’s narcissism. ‘Marketing’ would be people who are selling Cobain t-shirts or getting paid in fame or fortune by spreading awareness, which is not a bad thing. It Makes this world easier to live in for everyone. I would not call what you talked about as ‘marketing’. That seems closer to narcissism. Or maybe even a scam.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. I think with each age, humans become more self-absorbed and they turn inwards rather than looking out at the world. When I was younger, we went out, played, met people, etc, etc. Even video gaming was a group event. But today’s youth can’t tell the difference between the real and digital world. So, I guess that’s why you have these people catering to their extremely shallow lives by posting something that talks about mental health awareness, etc, etc, and the youth buying it because this digital age is one of melancholy and madness. I think if you spent some time on Instagram, you’ll understand what I’m saying better. It’s a mad, self-absorbed world where everyone is a writer or a philosopher or psychologist lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I would not hold it against them if that is what they are genuinely trying to be… writer, philosopher, psychologist. I would get pissed if they weren’t trying, and were just faking everything. There have always been snake oil salesmen in every age. It’s just easier to sell stuff now. I need to use Instagram more. I don’t really get what they’re doing exactly.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. I think some of what I said might be tainted by personal experience but it’s like this, you meet people who give a rat’s arse about mental health problems in real life, and treat sufferers with contempt, and then you see them posting something about depression to sound like they care. The bigger problem you’re talking about is the pop-psychology part. A lot of quotes reeking of toxic positivity, and lacking in foundation. It’s presented as psychology but often has an accusatory tone. I don’t mind some quotes about love, etc and even retweet them, and I’m okay with people talking about depression if they suffer from it, but for some reason when a non-sufferer peddles his fighting depression quotes, I become sceptical. And I know so many like that. As far as trying to be someone, if they’re doing it for the attention and admiration, what’s the point. It becomes a vice masquerading as a virtue. These are my observations. Maybe I’m bitter because no one gave a damn even when I tried reaching out. I know I’m far from prefect and make mistakes all the time, but still a hand of empathy would have been nice. But it’s in the past now. It’s made me realise that the few who still talk to me and accept me are the only ones that matter. And I’ve even learned to live in solitude.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Hypocrisy can really get on one’s nerves. I get that, especially when it’s about something that has been tormenting you for so long. Even if you are bitter, you’re directing it in the right general area. I don’t see a problem with that. I feel you now. I didn’t quite understand earlier.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I forgot to mention that this is also a call to people who romanticise depression but don’t really suffer from it, and people who write love poems and then targeted poetry to search themselves and find that their efforts are really vainglorious. This isn’t against the genuine few who’ve had to endure hell (you and me included) if you look at it differently. It’s against all the pop-philosophising that goes on online. Weird psycho babble that actually has a vein of spite or insecurity running through it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, I did not think of it that way. They are broken too, in a way. They just aren’t self-aware. That’s the way I see it. It’s different, of course. They don’t have to deal with messed up neurotransmitters , but theirs is a sickness too. Remember the This is Water speech. Everyone worships something. They have made themselves into idols, which is also a kind of hell. Lol, I’m preaching now. I’m really bad at that. You have read far more on things like this than me, so you should know what I’m trying to say.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah I get you. You make perfect sense. They do worship themselves. I think we all do to a certain extent, but they go to the extremes. But on an empathetic note, I’ll agree that just because it isn’t clinical doesn’t mean it isn’t despair. Maybe they’ve led shitty lives, and are really broken because they don’t have anything to hold onto but themselves. I mean once a few people betray you, I think you’ll stop trusting people completely (if you’re very sensitive). I also think that the people in their lives didn’t live up to their expectations. It’s a tragedy really. I think the best way is to show them kindness and love. We’ll find that some of them are capable of great love.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s a good way to think about it. There might be better ways. It’s good to ponder over things when they really bother you. That’s what I think the purpose of the Lady is for me, giving me new perspectives. The journey of understanding never stops . We are all so complex. But yeah, some people are just assholes. You can walk in their shoes, and stop yourself from despising them, but actually loving them is really really difficult.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. True loving some mad people is impossible unless you’re extremely drunk and sentimental lol. Life is a journey of knowledge, but maybe there is more than understanding and discovery?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Understanding includes empathy and other things. The core values I think would be Love and wisdom. You can find them more easily by better understanding beauty and truth. That’s my opinion at least. There are probably more things I haven’t listed.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah understanding beauty and truth in a way that isn’t self-indulgent is the key, methinks. Often we look at beauty through what we’ve created. I do at least. I think that ends up in us worshipping ourselves. But if we gaze at beauty for what it is (in someone else’s work, life, values, etc) and love them for their truths, it really helps.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Beauty, truth and goodness are intricately linked. If you find one you can find the others, even in your own work. That’s not worship, if it’s done in the spirit of inquiry. The subjective truths you find in your own work can lead to greater and more universal discoveries.

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About Me

Ordinary Person is a guy who likes to write. He writes fiction, essays, poems and other stuff.


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