Existentialism for Dummies

Even some of what is tied down is not permanent.
Erosion and raccoons see to that.
Some things change
but take so long to do so that watching them
would cost you changes in yourself.

Some are only noticed
when you look away
and look back,
your sister after five years,
the old neighborhood with new traffic lights
and street lamps on Hamilton boulevard.
Does anyone walk on Hamilton boulevard?
Are they trying to keep people longer
or prevent more from coming in?

Medical students can’t hang out with their friends
without noticing what’s wrong with them,
english majors without correcting
them every time they do somethin’ good.

Now that your way has failed
they want to show you the other way,
the Frosty path of complete abstinence from everything fun,
from Rummy Bears and the welts of late night horseshoes,
from confirmation that, yes, they do put the handcuffs on too
from the tattoo across your chest with your last name misspelled.

Change is made up of elements no one wants to look at,
complete surrender and the acceptance that you are not ruined,
you just got on the wrong bike,
you need the curb to get on and off
and you keep tripping on it.

Honesty is the first principle
of the first step of your new path.
Ten pages for your resentments alone.
Where they disagree is pride.

Leave a comment


  1. there are tiny details in this poem that are stunningly good.

  2. Meg, we just published another one of Aaron’s poems over at Sea Giraffe if you would like to read! It seems that Dr. Hurley and Sea Giraffe have similar tastes. We share a bunch of contributors now.


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