Is anxiety a measure of regret?
Or of things unaddressed?
We live adrift
In ape avatars sharing reality,
Blurting out utterances from meat holes,
That are somehow supposed to convey
Enlightenment,
Consciousness, the Suchness and the Void,
Of all the things that exist behind our eyes,
That we call “me.”

Spirituality is the spectrum of reality,
That exists behind every conscious creature.
Long tentacles extending behind our eyes,
Constituted of the mess we call
Consciousness,
Memories,
Insecurities and hopes,
The inexpressible Suchness and the Void.
Long invisible tentacles tinted,
In colors outside our observable world,

Our lovers are not
Tranquil thighs,
Or symmetric smiles signaling
Potential ape mates,
But these tentacles composed of emotions,
Future reactions, of mistakes and wisdom.

Is anxiety a measure of regret?
Or a word we give to panic,
Sneaking out
From accepting “realistic expectations,”
Repressing failures to a low resonance,
That’s never quite,
Silent enough,
For what our lives
Have become.

Or is anxiety the symptom of sorrow
Seeping up from silent fates,
Their tentacles composed of
Our inaction, the CEO’s greed, their suffering,
Their ape bodies thrashing against
Loss,
Grasping for a humane branch of survival,
Held,
Out of reach,
At the profit line’s leisure.

Suffering is a segment of
Our shared reality,
It’s symptoms bleed into our tentacles,
Churning nebulous voices into a moshing mob,
As we try,
Desperately
To drown spiritualistic diseases
With materialistic fetishes,
And when all that fails,

We tell ourselves
That this is just how,
It has,
To be:

“The world is a circus!
A horrifying madhouse!
Where it’s perfectly sane,
To devote most resources
Towards annihilating fellow apes.”

So perhaps,
Anxiety is a measure of defeat.
The loss of those ideals you once believed,
The ghost of love chained
To the machine for eternity.
While the gargantuan arm of civilization
Crushes life and life and life.

But they’ll crawl up on quiet nights,
Swarming over your consciousness,
Whispering
What you’ve always known:

That it simply
Does not
Have to be,
This way.

This is from the poetry collection, Saudade, which can be purchased here.

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Donovan James is a writer, musician, cat enthusiast and psychonaut. He is still an idealist, despite a ravaging cynicism. He believes that the money and effort allocated to war and fear should be used to feed, shelter, and educate the poor, no human being excluded. His work has appeared in Commonline Journal, and Monkey With A Hat On theater productions. His book of poetry, Saudade, can be purchased here.