by Donovan James

Artwork, “Mists” by Louise Francke

All these roads

Only to realize,

We’re all addicted to something.

Trading binge drinking for mainlining

Social connection, sex

For intellectual masturbation,

Anything to avoid,

The immutable



Enlightenment is just another construct,

For orphaned animals to feel in control,

Tribes huddled around

The ever changing fire of concepts,

Sifting embers of solace

From this older sibling of Original Sin

And redemption,

The nephew of evolution,

The latest revision

To cave drawn scrawls,

Projected onto

The stars and heavens.


The Ganges soothes

Mosquito ravaged toes,

And cows meander through heat stricken

Streets, gliding towards

An effortless zen,

While envious humans maintain

The pretense of civilization.


Somewhere, monkey’s squawk

Over rotting bananas, dogs

Nip at fleas and foreigners,

And electron’s elope

With different atoms,

While the spark of neurons reflects

A perpetually fractal universe,


The dregs of the Himalayas

Chime in a distant roar,

They’ve seen this all before,


The ape ponders,

Do distant stars wonder,


“Who have I ever been?”

For I am a pile of mud made into man,

A collection of quarks under the illusion

Of sovereignty,

For a few revolutions,

Of this womb of rock and air around

The god of Fusion,


Who will I ever be?

But a disintegrated mess of energy,

All actions erased

By the river of time,

Enthralled in the grand diversion

Of culture,

Monkeys filling god holes

With status, trinkets, sex,

Or “enlightenment”,

An idea as flimsy as free will,

–an end,

To the struggle, to the journey, to existence,

Experience trimmed by the requirement of language:

I can only say one word at a time,


But the night goes on, and

The Ego snorts self absorption,

Exclaiming importance,

While Perception waltzes with grace,

Don’s the name “Consciousness,”


“It makes no difference.”


There are no grand truths

Only tiny lessons

An endless snowfall

Lapped up by humans

Who careen thirsty tongues upward


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