A common human experience is feeling our differences outweigh our similarities, amounting to the formation of groups we feel we can identify with. The formation of socio-political groups based on religion, race, social background, or class (i.e. identity politics) has become a primary feature of the modern culture wars in the United States as a method for rectifying historical wrongs and engaging with social justice — but is this way of thinking helping? “Lafayette #2” grapples with these cultural qualms and what it means to hold a particular identity amidst societal upheaval.
The following poems address the failure of the current US administration to respond to the pandemic, as well as its systematic denial of science and sidestepping of the Constitution and Rule of Law. The lies, abandonment of responsibility, and stoking of divisiveness have caused and continue to cause fear, chaos, hatred, violence, and death.
How important are reflective, contemplative, and calming experiences for individual growth? Is the modern world priming us to need more of these moments or less? Is self-doubt required for personal development?
The following poem addresses the human condition as something we seek to make meaning of: we all seek to tell our story, find a way to mark our existence, and transcend time past the limits of our lifetimes. It engages the often futile feelings we have, our blindness to our existence, and our angst generated by feelings of erasure. The poet believes that the drive to tell our story, to be remembered for that which has shaped us, and to mark our existence, transcends the biological need to procreate, superseding it.
How do we heal from trauma? Can we truly learn from traumatic events or are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes, mindlessly, until death? To deal with trauma, what defenses do we put up, and how do we keep those defenses from blocking our growth?
It has been known victims of extreme physical, emotional, or sexual abuse grow up to take on the role of abuser — can this psychological cycle be applied to the United States’ turmoil? Both US political parties have become increasingly polarized, to the point at which there is no bridging the gap. How are we to stop this cycle of chaos if communication is off-limits?
How do ideals interfere with our ability to perceive reality? Is a jaded person just an optimist who encountered reality? This poem touches on the experience of reacting to things outside one’s control to the point at which it breaks one down.
If desire is the backbone of human nature and desire often leads to loss, how can we break the psychological cycle of failure while simultaneously finding meaning in a meaningless world? The following collection of haikus remind us of our innate human drive and the traps we fall into, repeating them mindlessly over time.
The question of whether or not we can truly understand others (let alone ourselves) is one that might not be grappled with on a daily basis, but is often in the back of our minds, influencing the decisions we make. Where do we find truth and how do we come to terms with the scars formed from searching for answers?
The piece deals primarily with the absence of home, solitude, silence, secrecy, the passage of time, individual memory, and the willingness to admit and wrestle with contradictions, anger, destruction, and creation. How do we deal with contradictions in ourselves? Do we know they’re there? How does prolonged silence, uninterrupted aloneness, or living without a home affect the individual mind? How resilient are we against the human traumas we put ourselves through?