How have the conditions of our daily lives changed over the last year? There’s no question quarantine, social isolation, a global pandemic, and political and social unrest significantly alter our daily routines — but these events and situations have highlighted our adaptability and fragility simultaneously. The realization that we control very little of our own lives has come to the forefront for most in the past year; in turn, this realization has spurred the need for action. How do we maintain a sense of control in the midst of overwhelming evidence that we are at the whims of greater forces?
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?
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?
How do we maintain our humanity in the face of worldwide panic? How do we stay close despite distance? How do we build bridges across island universes?
Are there pre-existing conditions to our lives? Do we come into a world that’s already holding us back? How do we escape the restrictions set for our individual personhoods?