Belief in Hell Dies Hard

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Recently I read an excellent poetry book entitled “Shit House Rat“, written by Daniel Crocker (a fellow bipolar writer). The poetry in this collection is brutally honest, gritty, and humorous, and even engages some of our favorite characters from Sesame Street in a way that is unique and really outlines the harsh reality of adult life “on the street” .

One poem that especially triggered some thought on my part is one called “A Dream of Siblings”, in which the poet has a dream about his deceased brother being trapped in a sort of hell. Like me, the author no longer believes in a literal hell, at least not of the Christian theological kind, but as the following lines from the poem show, he still struggles to let go of that old belief in a fiery pit of torture:

“Even though I gave up
believing in this shit
years ago, I still wonder

Maybe I never gave up believing

Maybe, once having faith, no one
ever gives up believing

Even if the things we believe in
are horrifying.”

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Illusions

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If I could have one wish, I would wish more than anything that we as humanity could let go of our illusions –

religious illusions
political illusions
personal illusions

so that we could take a cold, hard look at reality as it actually is, and work together to solve our real problems at the core. Of course, I would have to start with myself, being willing to let go of any illusions I still hold, illusions I am blind to. In fact, I have found that it is almost impossible for any of us to recognize our own illusions until we have come to a place where we are willing to let them go.

*Art by Maranda Russell

Time Flies

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“Time flies” is an expression we often hear, and there may be some truth to it, especially when it comes to “time flies when you’re having fun”. I’ve noticed time doesn’t fly nearly as much if you are depressed or in pain, which is unfortunate, since that is the time it would be best for time to pass swiftly. Just another little unfair quirk of reality. However, I am thankful for the times that do run as swift as a flooded river, because the memories of those good times help get me through the days when time crawls by like a wounded caterpillar. In appreciation of those good times, I created the above little mixed media collage ACEO artwork and thought I would share it with all of you.

Two Haiku for You

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I have found myself
at a loss for words, but here
they come anyhow…

All the lighthouses!
All the lighthouses!
Yet there’s no light to be found.
Pointless monuments!

(Yes, I know the second one is irregular form, but I felt it sounded better with the first line repeated, so I broke the rules!)

Life is Pain

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Life is pain.

And I don’t mean that
in some philosophical
bullshit way…(or maybe I do?)

Life is pain, whether it
be physical, mental,
emotional, or existential.

The gentle yearning ache
of a heart perpetually unfulfilled…

The bittersweet bile of nostalgia
creeping up one’s throat…

The sharp bite of our
unreliably aging bones…

The mind-numbing weight
of each day survived intact…

The desperate call of a soul
that may or may not actually exist…

~ Maranda Russell

Forever Intertwined

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Does the popcorn
make the movie
and the beer
make the bar?

When you
willfully separate
that which has been
forever intertwined,
does the sum of its parts
create something new
or do you simply
destroy
all parties involved?

~ Maranda Russell

You’ll Regret It All

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I recently came across the following quote by philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, and it really struck me as deeply true, at least for me. No matter what I choose to do or choose not to do in life, there is always a part of me that wonders if I made the right choice and won’t shut up with the “what ifs”:

“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.”