An Untethered Life (Poetry)

Years ago I stored a permanent memory:
My latest relationship had ended badly,
And I was standing in a random street
While I looked down at my two feet;
I suddenly felt that the tethers
I had allowed that person to attach to my skin,
And that tied me to another human being
Wherever in the world she happened to be,
Had been forcefully severed,
And I found myself like a stranded astronaut
Drifting through the black void,
Unable even to radio back home

Ever since, I’ve refused to let anyone
Tether themselves to my sensitive skin;
All I’ve learned from my intimate relationships
Is that I wasn’t born for any of it
They were just there as an excuse for me to live,
To enjoy life while pretending to love them

(Besides, what a romantic relationship provides
Isn’t worth the demands and the humiliations)

Real human beings are far too complicated
For someone like me, who’s only ever loved
Either the broken or the monsters
(Most of them fictional, some I made up)

Human beings are bound to bother you,
And if you lack the instinct to interact with them,
They only steal your time and energy
That could have gone into writing,
Or anything better than dealing with them,
Such as idly browsing the internet;
I only want people when I want them,
Otherwise they should go away

(I still fantasize about fucking
The many attractive women
That I come across any given day,
But that’s the hormones speaking,
And VR is very good at solving
That age-old problem)

This week I’ve been working afternoons;
By one and a half PM I want to take a nap,
But I have to traverse my city
(Which has become merely a container
Where dozens of nationalities push each other),
Get on a train, and later on take a bus,
So I can work at an office doing shit
That I couldn’t care less about

At the end of the month I get angry
Because the government steals
Hundreds of euros I need for myself,
So it can fund my country’s suicide
(Or more appropriately, its murder)

And I only care because I have to live here
(I couldn’t begin to figure out how to leave);
I’ve already had people trying to break in,
And a woman almost got raped nearby
(The neighbors beat the culprit up);
Just two things on top of the usual shit

I make my way back home
At eleven PM at night,
And I usually just stare up ahead
So I don’t despair at the chaos,
And the hopelessness of our future

I guess it’s different for those people
Who look around and feel connected,
But wherever I look, I see flat images,
Ones that don’t elicit any feelings
(Any positive ones, at least)

Walking through my workspace,
Or any of the streets I pass through,
They remind me of movie sets
Where important movies had been filmed,
But that have been abandoned to rot,
And the people who remain around
Keep cleaning and repairing the sets
Without knowing why,
And without a single clue about
What it all means

At work, I keep looking at the time
As the hours tick by;
The years have gone by so fast,
And I’ve wasted my youth,
My entire life,
Waiting for a phone call or email
From people who never contacted me

I’m working through the second full-length revision
Of that novel I wrote in May, about the ghost woman,
But it advances slowly, and the process is painful;
Those scenes feel like memories from a past life,
Moments that I’ve seared in my brain
Because nothing in reality makes any sense to me

I wish I could delude myself into going back,
To live vicariously through their fictional lives;
I’ve never cared about my own,
For as long as I remember, I’ve wanted to disappear

(I’m just waiting to be shot down
By an army of soldiers and policemen,
And when they finally find me,
I’ll probably get the same treatment I gave others)

Why go on living if you know
How pointless your life truly is?
How much pain and suffering
Are worth enduring?

(You’re just a pawn in someone else’s game,
A piece that no one cares about,
An object to use and discard,
A tool to satisfy the needs of the powerful)

I only have days in which such questions burn me,
Or those in which nothing manages to matter;
That’s unless I can distract myself
Through writing my way out of hell

None of the stuff I’ve written
Has ever amounted to anything,
But I can be proud that I tried my best,
Even though I knew I would fail

I have no choice but to continue on
To try and escape from my misery
And the future I don’t want,
Which will surely come true
(I hope I die before that happens)

And I do all of this shit
Because I may as well

‘An Untethered Life’ by Jon Ureña

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