Poetry

Poetry of Philosophy

Life cycle 

 

No one chooses to be born. 

As you grow up you will realise everyone is sad and maladjusted. 

It will take you years to identify and unlearn prejudices you soaked up from your parents and peers. 

The older you get the more you will see most adults barely mature past adolescence. 

Nothing is free and the costs will keep rising.   

You will be made to participate in systems that are arbitrary and unfair.    

Benevolence will be exploited and destroyed by greed.

Stupidity and passivity are rewarded, critical thinking is discouraged. 

You will witness human cruelty beyond your comprehension. 

People will oppose progress if it inconveniences them. 

It’s much easier to consume and copy than create, and people will always choose what’s easier.  

The meaning of life is to keep buying merchandise.  

If you work hard enough, you may replace your depression with exhaustion.  

You will fail at almost everything you’ll try to do. 

Every human interaction can and will be monetised.  

You will experience brutal injustice, but you won’t be able to do anything about it.

People don’t care about the truth.  

No one wants you to be yourself, they want you to be like them because that’s more comfortable.

You will never feel truly understood.

Any worthwhile relationship will require energy and skill, but no one wants to put in the work.

No one bothers to learn how to be alone, so everyone remains lonely.

You will only ever know slim fragments of reality and you’ll understand even less.

The more you revisit a memory, the more it distorts into fiction.

If you don’t meet society’s expectations of you, you will be considered ‘difficult’, possibly ‘dangerous’.   

The people you love most will hurt you the most. 

Life will not treat you better if you’re a good person. 

Everything you’ll ever care about will end.

No one is special and nothing you do matters.  

You will die and be forgotten. 

 

 

21C human (2) 

 

Did the human body really evolve 

over hundreds of thousands of years 

for me to sit in a sterile cubicle, inputting data 

mined from millions into a computer 

that tracks my keystrokes and eye movements?  

Only to be told if I cannot focus on my screen 

for nine hours a day, two-hundred-and-forty-two days a year

and want to run away, I’m the one who’s mentally unwell

and must self-medicate with chemicals 

that cost ten times what they cost to make 

 

So I can feel ‘honoured’ to be called a ‘productive’ 

member of a society propped up by medieval institutions

now run by some self-serving, lesser-of-two-evils 

aging patriarch, who doesn’t know the rate of rent? 

And while the planet burns, it is my fault, I’m told, 

for using energy to light and heat my shared apartment

(although I have no choice)

while being urged to procreate 

and watch my debts accumulate 

so that the gift of life can be passed on  

 

 

The False Messiah 

 

Keep your eyes on the horizon, 

the False Messiah, he will come.

For generations we’ve been taught 

to mark ourselves against each other 

on an ever-altering, arbitrary scale 

of production and purchasing power. 

But when work no longer pays 

and we cannot buy our homes  

our whole culture of possession 

will crumble into the unknown. 

 

We lose our sense of involvement and belonging, 

while the top percent, the other camp,

continues to believe, assuring, 

what their forebearers 

used to murmur down the ranks.

When we feel we cannot make a difference, 

when our efforts cannot bring about a change 

but the system will go on, continuous, 

the air turns ripe for a False Messiah 

to ascend and rearrange 

our loss of faith in us, to a blinding faith in him. 

 

First, he’ll point out the obvious with haste 

–  there’s enough food to feed the hungry, 

but instead, we let it go to waste. 

And how we’re getting taxed to death 

(yet our money lines some private pockets)

while the rich launch themselves to space in rockets 

as the planet’s dying, our politicians are not trying 

to do anything beyond their term in office 

passing the old buck along, 

pleading innocence in chorus. 

 

Oh, the False Messiah, 

he is poised to capture our imagination

help us regain that feeling of participation, 

of feeling needed, feeling just, feeling united

with full trust in his tempting visions 

of a civil war based on established lines 

of demarcation and divisions.  

 

I fear that in our hopeless state, 

our tired senses will abate, 

we’ll be swept up without inquiry  

just to be freed from present misery. 

The hunger to belong 

will lead the left-behind

to abandon their old selves, 

to become themselves aligned 

with his promise of a great and glorious future 

we want it now, we want it sooner. 

 

The False Messiah will make believers of us all

with guarantees of total, instant change, the fall. 

Join, join the revolution, load your guns.

Keep your eyes on the horizon

the False Messiah, here he comes. 

 

 

Tradition 

 

If a truth’s inconvenient for an authority 

They’ll repeat a lie enough times 

Until it becomes a part of reality 

So they can justify toeing their lines  

 

If people are taught the lie to be true

The lie becomes a part of their customs 

To question it is considered taboo 

When it’s a part of their wider culture

 

The lie gets passed on to the next generation 

As a ‘tradition’ – is what they will say   

So bend the knee without hesitation  

Though truth and tradition aren’t always the same 

 

It takes years to unlearn what we’ve been taught 

By our elders, who didn’t know better, 

Taught by their elders, who never thought 

If what they’re doing is moral or clever 

 

People don’t like to be challenged, in case 

It becomes their duty to re-examine   

If all they’ve been doing, all these decades 

Was supporting a dubious canon 

 

Must we go on without witting agreement, 

Overlooking the simplest questions – 

Is it the right thing, or simply convenient 

To continue on with our traditions? 

 

 

The shopping cart 

 

A while ago I read about the so-called 

‘litmus test for individual self-governance’

A simple question’s asked: 

Do you return the shopping cart? 

Ever since I’ve been engrossed 

watching customers in parking lots

 

While you have nothing to gain 

from returning the shopping cart, 

we all agree taking it back 

is the right and easy thing to do 

(except in forgivable emergencies)

 

It is also not illegal to forsake 

your shopping cart, nor will anyone 

punish you for not returning it

 

Your actions will not be 

applauded, or reprimanded

 

So will you do the right thing 

without pressure or reward?   

 

Elsewhere I read society 

is on track to collapse 

in twenty years 

 

 

Images, images everywhere 

 

All these images, images everywhere 

These clever ads, they manufacture glamour 

They promise us the lust of others  

If their desired mentality prevails 

 

Do you imagine yourself being adored

If only you’d process some thing

That steals your current self-satisfaction 

You may buy back for the price it’s offering? 

 

These images work up our anxiety

Whispering ‘the sum of everything is money’ 

If you have nothing, are you nothing? 

If you buy this, will you be loved? 

 

It’s never been about the objects 

It’s others’ coveting you buy 

This culture is unnatural

From prompts to want, it multiplies 

 

Late-stage capitalism has

Left us in the contradiction – 

Of what we are

And what we’d like to be

 

We live in daydreams fuelled by noxious envy 

Mitigating mindless working hours 

With fantasies of acquisition  

Our working self envies the dreamt consuming one

 

Imaginary activity replaces passivity 

All these images, images everywhere 

These clever ads, replace democracy 

With theatrical materialism 

 

 

Age of Despair

 

I have nothing to trust in. I feel truly hopeless.  

 

I have no faith in our politicians, 

I don’t believe what most of them say

They either do not understand all our problems, 

or are trying their best to ignore them away

 

What is the point of all our advances

in science, technology, knowledge, resources,

engineered to improve our way of life,

when we don’t use them to uplift the deprived?  

 

Where’s the resistance to this lack of will? 

Are we distracted by screens and cheap thrills?

Aware, yet passively, we are sliding to hell

Who has the courage to step up and rebel? 

 

You’re right, there’s no clear path to revolution, 

no obvious enemies, weapons, solutions

The war of ideas quietly raging, asserts 

we must re-learn how each of us 

thinks, eats, and works

 

We’ve been failed by our dominant culture 

that celebrates openly things often vulgar 

– distraction, imitation, greed, waste, excess,  

not intelligence, truth, or personal depth

 

We are born free, then must pay to exist

And the hands that have trapped us, 

we’re scrambling to kiss

We’re too content decorating our cages

with trophies we make, then worship as sacred

 

We are not free, until there’s freedom for all, 

a laborious task that we choose to ignore

We tuck our depression away to the side

during small talk while decaying inside 

 

We must become authors of our own lives 

before the ground around us floods, burns, and dies

It’s the age of despair, but we can break out

Let me shake you, shake you, 

before my time runs out