So my good friend Rachel over at Illuminated Literation and I got to talking about poetry after she posted one of hers (which is great, I should say) and the topic of vulnerability came up when it comes to posting such things. I had mentioned I had a couple of mine published and she requested that I post them. Well, Rachel, here you go!
We’ll go in reverse chronological order here and start with one I wrote in March 2014 that was published that summer in Famous Poets of the Heartland (Me? Famous? Surely you jest). A little bit of background: I wrote this poem on my birthday that year. At this time in my life I was in a very resentful, bitter and angry place. Everything seemed to go wrong. Couldn’t get a job for anything and my then girlfriend and I had broken up only days prior. As such, the only thing I ever wished for was to have never existed. If I were to be honest, given what I’ve endured in my life (most notably having my dreams crushed due to an autism diagnosis – I can’t have my dream job because of it) most days I’d still rather have never existed. Thus is the philosophy called “antinatalism” – the philosophy that asserts it is inherently bad to come into existence and hence the title.
Actually, in a way I still really dislike birthdays and don’t celebrate mine. Hell, I don’t even publicly share it on Facebook. The only one of my close friends who knows what day my birthday is my good friend Jada who is the artist behind three of my four current tattoos as I got stage 1 of my Pisces tattoo done on my birthday. All I wanted for my birthday this past year was the sweet sting of the tattoo needles reminding me that I am still alive and suffering. Nonetheless, I’ve learned to grin and bear the occasional birthday greeting from coworkers and family, even though it pains me to hear the words “happy birthday.”
Well enough rambling, here is the poem:
That day which lives forever in infamy
Has once again come
The cursed day I was brought into existence
Arrives beating like a drum.
I try my hardest to forget about it
That wretched, awful day
For I’d have never been put here
If only I had my way.
As hard as I try not to think about it
Upon it I can’t help but dwell
My timeline overflows with reminders
All of them wishing me well.
I didn’t ask to be born
No, it wasn’t my choice
I screamed in protest that day
But it was as though I had no voice.
As this cursed day arrives
I can’t help but wish I had a gun
But I guess I might as well live
At least part of it has been fun.
As the last line suggests, I’ve learned to accept the fact that I exist and that I should just run with it. After all, if I were to commit suicide I would leave a lot of devastation behind and I couldn’t do that to those who mean the most to me.
Now, rewind another 9 years back from the time this was published. The month/year is April 2005. I was a senior in high school and oh boy was I in a bad spot. You see, I dreaded going to school every day. I was bullied something fierce in school for my autistic-like tendencies, my overall geeky love of math and technology and due to allergy-induced post-nasal drip and constant throat clearing (seriously, my peers all had to make a loud, mocking throat-clearing noise every time they walked past me in the office just to make fun of me). Not to mention it was at this time I was supposed to start my flight training to set in motion my planned career path of an airline pilot and this is when I was ultimately rejected due to the autism diagnosis. Talk about a shot to the gut (yes, as mentioned before, I STILL hurt over it).
As high school was absolutely terrible, again, I just wanted to die so badly and would constantly ask myself “Why?” So one day after school, I went home and I penned this whole thing in about two minutes (not even joking). I was so full of questions that never were answered and they all just kind of came out at once. Why this and why that? As such the title just kind of stuck. This poem appears in the Spring 2005 edition of Celebrate! Poets Speak Out.
Well, here you go:
Why do I go on living, what’s in it for me?
I am so unloved, so what can I be?
Why do I carry on, for I have nothing still.
My life is an empty hole which I just can’t seem to fill.
Why do I love those who don’t love me back?
No one even cares, but what is it that I lack?
Why was I given this life of torture and of pain?
My heart constantly hurts, for I have nothing to gain.
Why am I not dead, wouldn’t that be great?
For this life is a living hell; it is something I truly hate.
Why does my heart break; why hasn’t it ever healed?
For others’ hearts don’t break for mine and my pain is revealed.
Why do I not give in to my life’s never-ending curse?
For my life is a nightmare and an empty purse.
Why do I continue living this life of never-ending pain?
Because I know one day in Heaven I’ll have everything to gain.
Anyway, when reading the final stanza please keep in mind I was not quite at the point in my life that I had lost my religious faith and I was still rather religious at this stage of my life. I’ve sometimes thought about trying to re-work this last stanza but I ultimately decided to keep it as is. Even though I might not believe in a literal Heaven in terms of an afterlife, I still believe we live on after our physical lives are done, namely in the memories of those who were closest to us. This is my modern interpretation of Heaven so I think it still fits.
Anyway, there you go. I know, I know; my writing is really dark and depressing. It’s just my style. I’ve tried writing happy stuff and it just sucks for whatever reason. My best works come from my deep-seated pain. I guess in that light it’s kind of fitting that I’ve turned into a tattoo addict, after all tattoos are beautiful works of art that come as a result of pain.
I hope you all enjoyed.