BY ERIK RITTENBERRY
My face is beginning to show
the battle scars of time. My heart
seems to care less for things
I once held as relevant. As the years
unravel, things make less sense.
The hangovers last a few days now
instead of a few hours. Beautiful
dreams once lucid are now blurred.
The idea of God weakens with every
atrocious deed I see in the world.
Politics is a hopeless endeavor
just like our obscene habit
of obedience. The debt bubble
we’ve swallowed as “prosperity”
is on the verge. The wars have
grown tiresome, nobody cares
about them anymore.
Everybody is trying to sell
a lifestyle; they want you live
like them; they want you to buy
their life-changing product
or get behind their great cause;
they have the secret, they say,
just follow them.
The church wants confessions but I think
we’re all out. The witless hipsters ride
vintage bikes on Brooklyn sidewalks
to coffee shops that were once
brothels and asylums.
Overmedicated & indebted men
find it difficult to have conversations
beyond their jobs or college football.
Women do yoga on weekends and gossip
on long walks about husbands
who’ve lost that intestinal fortitude.
The 88-year-old man, with his retirement
and dignity wasted away by inflation, bags
groceries at the corner supermarket
to pay for his myriad of medications.
The dogs have grown bored of their masters.
The cats gave up on us long ago. The sparrows
flutter higher in the sky than they used to.
The books of Whitman, Emerson
and Thoreau sit dusty on bookshelves
as the television scorches and burns.
Where’s the promise of victory?
We’re being led somewhere
by the outside far away
from the treasure inside.
As the tribes’ march in lockstep
to their ordered destination,
I lie in the meadow
just beyond the bloody streams
surrounded by golden daffodils,
and as the rain rinses me of oblivion
I’m lifted from the hollow abyss
into the universal radiance
where the five senses