Insanity Sparkled by Banal Trivialities

I declare up
front that this is an essay. Essays appealed to me
during one part of my life when other things were important to me. It’s been weeks
since I wrote a poem and months
since I wrote a good one, and my last
effort at a series secretly unveiled my current world where nothing is important to me.

I thought I couldn’t write
poetry because my depression was in
remission. When the depression becomes most disturbing, the evil
fingers of all of the nerves crawling through me seem
to force me to write. And then after I’ve written, I feel


Is this god’s design for this worthless mortal?

It’s an odd cycle:
feel relief,
hate the writing,
quit writing,
enter remission causing inordinate amounts confidence in my Superman powers in creation of recovery,

inadvertently encounter some minor and inconsequential
but despicable piece of human behavior,

crash hard,
suffer and here
we are back
to the beginning.

One time remission lasted three weeks, and my joy
was overflowing as I thought, “This is why
people might want to live.” I thought, “I knew
this shit would leave me someday! Everybody
gets better some day! All of my recovery
work is paying off! I’m human!” 

And right when I start questioning what kind of god it was
that has pushed me into unfathomable joy,


(I have a question for you: do you know what I describe when I say Crash? Let’s pause on Crash.)

Then I feel like a victim, the idiot in a con
game, where the trickster is able
to repeatedly make me feel as though I am progressing, when
really, the spiral only goes right back
to the sick depths of insanity. It
never goes up for
long, and right when it stretches
my credulity, it strikes out
for the bottom,
for the basement,
a shadowy world
always deeper
than the last one.

So I’ve just had another crash, and I’ve been coaching myself to ignore it. Just think
of the others, any others, even the mean others, and try
to help the others. There will be no pain.

So I zip myself into the trivial. This includes my day
job. It includes raking the leaves, watching the Chiefs lose and thinking
this might bond me with some community out there, and seeing all of the terrible
muckraking of Facebook, or the grandest triviality ever fashioned
by man, Twitter,
but even those Trivialites, who enjoy those
snowflake machines, think I am a worthless
clown looking for my own gravesite.

Then I think, “Why I’ll write like my
heroes did. I’ll write grandly,” but these tiny
insects bite at my brain cells and tell me I’d have more
success flying to India and becoming

a heroin addict.

I’ve been the sickest of addicts before, and I won’t go
back there, so it is death or fool
myself into doing the greatest triviality of all, writing trashy
poems and getting lucky every
hundred or so, and seeing my humanity in a
poem and feeling as though
creating this crap is worth something.

, , , ,

  1. #1 by blueangelwolf on December 2, 2013 - 2:22 pm

    Well I for one would miss your “crap” if you didn’t write and post it,,,,,seriously!

    • #2 by Carl on December 16, 2013 - 8:55 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I’m lucky to have you read it, and I enjoy your work .

  2. #3 by Kay Camden on December 2, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    If only you knew how refreshing it is for me to read your posts and realize, wow, there actually *are* honest people out there. Unless this post is fiction–and a I really hope it’s not, but at the same time I wish it was.

    • #4 by Carl on December 16, 2013 - 8:56 pm

      It’s funny, but I forget to lie! Thanks for reading, Kay!

  3. #5 by Wil on December 3, 2013 - 4:31 pm

    oh , creating is so worth something, and I can relate to each and every ounce of this. I can only write poetry when in the midst of despair. My sick mind misses the writing when I am not able to do it almost to the point of wanting to be depressed again. Keep writing. It is always good to read!

    • #6 by Carl on December 16, 2013 - 8:57 pm

      Thank you for reading. It’s nice to know when folks can identify.

  4. #7 by clinock on December 4, 2013 - 2:31 am

    Carl, I am pausing on ‘crash’ because you have offered that space like in a painting that is so full of colour, shapes, forms, faces and feelings that one needs an emptiness for the spirit to appear in. Getting lost in your existential maze I grasp onto ‘crash’ because I know ‘crash’ and use it as a door to your muli-leveled confessions. Whatever you think about your writings they are accepted in all of their beautiful gritty honesty. The cycle of hate and love in the act of art is eternal and you are no exception to this. You share and we all understand and relate to fragments of your sharing…this is what it means to be a poet…to evoke connections between all of our sufferings…you do this Carl with integrity and nakedness…thank you for it my friend…

    • #8 by Carl on December 16, 2013 - 8:59 pm

      John, your comment means the world to me. I am so lucky to hear from you. It encourages me.

  5. #9 by Shawn on December 16, 2013 - 9:57 am

    Comments left here to hint to you of your worth (the small part of you written out that encourages and inspires) to beg you to see it, that the words you produce (and therefore you) have value. But there is nothing romantic in despair and no way to imagine or remember joy. Still there is solidarity and sincerity and praise of this work. I thank you for it.

    • #10 by Carl on December 16, 2013 - 9:00 pm

      Shawn, Thank you for your comment. I am lucky for the solidarity and praise.

  6. #11 by amberafrica on December 28, 2013 - 11:40 am

    So honest and telling of you deep and beautiful soul!

    • #12 by Carl on February 25, 2014 - 1:16 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. It means the world, and it am sorry for the tardy response.

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