This Competitive American Life

This Competitive American Life

My toothpaste claims that it will keep my breath fresher for seven-times longer
Seven-times longer than what? I ask
But the toothpaste does not answer me
It is all wrapped up in it’s shiny packaging

My deodorant boasts that it will keep me powder-fresh all day and all night
Which I feel that I need, because I consume much caffeine in order to push through my human fatigue while I work like a machine around the clock
I work with people who would take offense at my natural odor, so I cringe as I smear the aluminum on my armpits
‘Forgive me, body’ I pray in a powder-soft whisper

All that caffeine makes me sweat where my antiperspirant doesn’t reach
To soak up my stress-enhanced face grease, I bought special makeup that promises to reduce shine
It doesn’t do much, so I re-apply it all the time

My hands are ragged from over-use
So I bought cream that promises to sooth
Repairing damaged skin more effectively than any other

Better than all the rest
That’s what these products brag on their packaging
Even my paper towels state that they are twice as strong as any other
Flexing their pumped-up muscles in the cupboard

But with all the latest and greatest that money can buy
Why do I feel like I’m not winning this Competitive American Life?
Perhaps because I don’t want to play the game
I want to live in harmony with myself and with the Earth

Hang on, body, I’ll get us to a place where we no longer use over-achieving, over-processed products laden with harsh chemicals

It brings me peace to know that
I could step off this Merry-Go-Round
At any time
And realize
That I am already where
I was trying to get to eventually
On the slowest fast train
Man ever made

Enough Already

Enough Already

Practically speaking,
I’m not too keen on the idea of bringing another life into this world
I feel rather inconvenienced by my own life, you see
And don’t want to impose that cumbersome bother onto someone else

I haven’t had a very pleasant time at this living thing,
Having spent most of my life tightly wedged between crippling anxiety and suffocating depression, both untreated and hidden just below the surface of my seemingly functional exterior
I try to live to the best of my abilities,
But I’m not sure that everyone else tries to live to the best of theirs

There is so much suffering inflicted on ourselves by ourselves, fellow humans
I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced more than enough of the stuff
Through long years of fear
Between bouts of violence, rape, exploitation and abuse

Far be it from me to add to the mess by producing another person who would inevitably both be hurt and hurt others during their lifetime
They would feel so much pain, rage and shame
Why not skip the whole thing?

How would I find the time or the energy to make a baby?
How would I pay for my baby’s needs, when I can barely afford my own minimal living expenses?
How could I teach a baby to live well, when I fumble so crudely with the art?

Though babies are cute
And sacred as can be
Each baby is a blank slate of unadulterated potential
That quickly gets covered in other people’s graffiti

Babies grow up and learn qualities such as greed, jealousy, selfishness and dishonesty
Adults have been known to destroy uncounted lives in the pursuit of their own insatiable appetites
Just look at the news today
It seems that those who live selfishly are both numerous and vastly destructive

This world was never safe, but it has grown particularly savage lately
Our Earth is not fit to raise a child in
Where is the clean air, clean water, clean soil?
Where is there a place without oppression and senseless violence?

To my inner harm-doer, and to yours, I humbly suggest:

The next time you feel overwhelmed by desire,
Sit still, unclench your body and your mind, breathe deep
Relax into the sensation of unrest and let it go
Feel supported by life
Comfort your own inner baby
And stop the chain of pain
Enough already