This is a poem about every person.
The weight of existence presses in on me.
I can push it out with music for a while, but not forever.
To live is to be heavy with humanity.
A baby is born.
My friend’s grandmother dies.
My brother goes to college.
My father goes to work.
A startup business fails.
A blip pings on a radar.
A leaf falls to the ground in my backyard.
Keep moving or die; adapt or go extinct.
You do have a choice. To live is to avoid death by changing.
I applaud the founders of organizations and the inventors of gadgets:
they keep us moving. They keep us from thinking of death.
They build empires so they can crumble. It’s very diverting.
I’ve never cared to build an empire.
It’s much simpler to water grass and watch it die.
The subway churns past the homeless men sleeping in the shadows.
The policeman will come and wake them and make them find new shadows.
This makes him a good policeman.
This makes them bad people.
I wonder where the other shadows are.
I have smelled the perfume of death in New York:
Puffs of secondhand cigarettes from coffee lips,
A brisk chill blowing the stench of metal stained with the urine of schizophrenics.
My friend looks out at the city safely from the 54th floor,
and I ride an elevator down into the world.
A man in the Columbus Circle tunnel is hungry and lonely.
I don’t want to be here anymore.
When I make eye contact with the woman sitting next to me,
I invite her out of the background and into my reality.
A man says “Bless you” when I sneeze.
We are doing very dangerous things here.
To live is to be heavy with existence.
Humanity hangs on you and follows you.
Babies are born. Grandmothers die. That man is still hungry right now.
Don’t think about it too much, or you will suffocate.
Play a game on your phone, get a job, save up, grow old.
It is much easier than thinking about this poem.
That is all.