false premise

collectively, we
encourage ourselves (against
all the evidence)
stupidly to believe that
happiness is our birthright

It’s funny how I tend to blame ‘everyone’ for what I see as my own deterioration in attitude over the last twenty years since becoming reintegrated into society. As a homeless person, the evidence was right there in front of my nose, every moment of every day, that I had no right at all to anything in this life. Now, I ‘possess’ all kinds of different things — material, abstract, social, psychological — which I never used to have, and I possess them in such a way that I take them for granted. Whose fault is it, that I take them for granted? Mine. Does it matter? Yes.

I feel quite passionate about this, even while having no solution. My poem could hardly state the problem any more clearly, despite its ‘clunky’ effect. All these thoughts from a single seed of a dream last night which brought together two different potential disasters which I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer in my life — spina bifida and the Jewish Holocaust. I dreamed of a friend who has been in a wheelchair all his life. And of some communal showers. These horrors are integral to this life. The menu of horror is infinite and is even, in a certain sense, ‘normal’ — we all risk horror by being alive. A fragment from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness came to me while I was writing the poem. So far as I recall they are the dying words of the protagonist: ‘”The horror! The horror!”‘

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