Lost and Not Found (a poem)

I. Alienation

I’ve lost track of time too many times
What am I doing here?
No one was there to answer
The streets were so empty
And there I was again, lost

Lost and not found – the story of our lives
Trying to find purpose amid the ruins
Of late-stage American capitalism
And cycles of market collapses

So, I kept wandering
The sky was charcoal but, despite that,
It was so hot the concrete sizzled
Is this what they predicted?

There’s nowhere left to turn
Everyone else has burned
And here I am, lost again

Lost and not found
Trying not to make a sound
Sitting cross-legged on the ground
There’s no one around

This alienation runs deep
I’ve said it many times before
It makes me lose sleep
In reality, there is a crowd
There are people around
But I’m disconnected

How do you live with such fears?
That everyone is an enemy?
And you’re one step away from oblivion?
I don’t know; lost, not found
I dare not make a sound

There are so many people around
Big, ugly faces and stinking breath
Hulking bodies and bulbous heft
They’re showing me around

But I decline the invitation
Go back home, to be alone
That’s where I feel free
Away from the eyes of humanity

I don’t want people to see me
And pry into my insanity
Lost, and not found

II. The Rabid Man

The Rabid Man in the grocery store screamed
And I could relate to him so well
His words touched my soul
He had a hole in his head
And he said his family was dead
And he had nowhere to turn

Me and the Rabid Man became the best of friends
Misfits like us tend to connect
But after a while, he lost his smile
And it was replaced with a frown
He jumped off a bridge and drowned
And I wondered if I’d be next

I’ve met others like him in my time
People dead before their prime
And the story’s always the same
Life is too much and their suicides
Are confessions they never found meaning
And I can’t blame them
Some days, I’m not sure how I continue on
When everything seems so wrong

Maybe it’s because I put demons on the page
At my age, it’s the only thing I know how to do
My hopeful days are over – flame extinguished
Now, I just do this and that
Waddling through each day
Knowing it’s all a little illogical

I’m fascinated by doomsday cults
And I’ve thought of joining one
They’ve been with us forever
The ancients loved them, too
And if you’re feeling blue
There’s nothing like throwing yourself
Into a totalitarian system

You don’t have to do much
Just follow orders, nod your head
When you wake up, make your bed
And trust beyond a doubt
That the leader is supreme

III. Original Sin

Back in Catholic school, my teacher was a fool
And she saw my creativity as evidence
That I was deeply disturbed
But maybe she was right
And I should give up the fight
But really, I don’t have the nerve

I had many bullies back in those days
And some of them have tasted death
Or they are prisoners of the state
I guess I made out alright
But who’s to say? Not me

I think some people are plain evil
And they cannot be rehabilitated
You can sense it when around them
There’s a vibe and energy
And if you’re sick enough
You’ll become a pawn in their games

I once had a friend who was very troubled
And it seemed he wanted to get caught
Because of the tremendous shame
Of simply existing, like it was a sin
In the eyes of God

Shame of existence – original sin
It explains a lot
But you see, I’m not one to trust
My lens on life has a dark filter
From previous experiences
And too much exposure
To narcissism, and I think that,
Quite possibly, I’ve become one myself,
Or at least I have that tendency

IV. Buried Underground

Lost and not found
My soul is somewhere in the ether
And my loathing indicates that my world
Will eventually collapse around me

Not the world itself, just the fantasy I’ve concocted
With my ego and exterior self
The one that’s built like a house of cards
That’ll crumble with the faintest puff

Okay, okay, that’s enough
But please come back for the show tonight
The broadcast begins when day becomes night
I will confess many minor mistakes
Then I will be burned at the stake
For practicing dark magic

Really, it’s all a bit tragic
But if you look close enough
You’ll realize life is like a card trick
Pick a card, any card, and watch
As you get fooled again

For years, I thought about practicing Zen
Instead, I picked up my pen
And decided to write until I couldn’t anymore
My family loves it – and so does Jesus
But they don’t read all of this
And if they did, they’d know how
Lost and not found I am

Lost and not found
So many people around
I’ve connected with a few
But then I withdrew
And buried myself underground
The tunnels beneath the city
Where no one can see me
And I feel at home finally

(Photo by Ari Spada on Unsplash)

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