The Pessimist’s Guide To Life

Life advice, pessimist-style. Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash
One day, this steel stormy sky
will rip the tail off and you’ll feel the bitter
cold wind, the not-yet-spring awakening
of a life turned upside-down
reverberating in your skull like a migraine - 
so cold but you can’t even shiver 
cause you’ll fucking lose it.

(The details don’t matter; it’s all the same storytragedies are merely square tiles
on the chessboard and who gives a damn.)

You can beg for the why, you can take the holy part
of yourself as if it is a moon wrapped in brown paper
and light it on fire, sacrificing it 
to small gods. But you’ll learn the universe 
never gave a damn about religion or rain dances,
that rationality is a cruel comfort. 
Fewer days remain,
transient as the wind, so,

you might as well savor 
the short-lived relief of small exhilarations 
to bandage the cracks - jump on the diving board
and let yourself fall - you have nothing else
to hold on to. Let what sings
like angels when you read it 
linger on your lips 
like a long, slow kiss, 
like it’s the best pizza 
you’ve ever had.


dVerse. Last lines taken from these pieces I wrote in 2022:

  1. Volatility
  2. Survival Instinct
  3. At The Top Of, What, Exactly?
  4. The Ugly Days of Late February
  5. Cover Up
  6. Soft Hands
  7. Self-Portrait, Depressionist-Style
  8. Gratitude [and Life Update (sort of)]
  9. Story of a Failed Marriage
  10. To All The Politicians
  11. Limits on Representation
  12. Watch The News
  13. Judaism is a Religion of Symbols
  14. Your Plans
  15. Drought
  16. If Sufficiently Desperate
  17. You’re Not That Young
  18. Time in a Forgetful Universe
  19. Going to the Mikvah
  20. I‘ve Written This Poem Before
  21. Bedrock
  22. When We Bear Witness
  23. How To Write A Poem
  24. Unpopular Opinions of Thesauruses and Penises
  25. To Keep From Unraveling


  1. Bravo – not only for extending beyond 12 but how you have shown the (linked) originals – plus additions (really though additions can be preposition, conjunction or change of tense plus enjambement)

    so many delightful lines not least
    “tragedies are merely square tiles
    on the chessboard and who gives a damn.)”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gotta cite the sources, right? 😊 This was a great exercise for reviewing one’s poetry over the past year. Thank you for making me do this – there were poems I’d nearly forgotten I’d written! A very appropriate prompt for end of year.

      Yeah, I took some liberties to make the lines fit into a sensical poem. But I figure I have enough lines that are quoted verbatim and enough last lines overall to please the prompt police, lol.

      The tragedies as chessboard tiles was one of my favorites too.


  2. You stepped out of line with this one, and the poem is the better for it. You added what was needed to give the quoted lines meaning, in a way they would have had left on their own. It has your hallmark irascible style, and I mean that as a compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not going to lie, there was definitely a lot of cringe looking back at some of these older pieces.

      But relatively speaking, I find it easier to look back at poetry, if for no other reason that reading my own crappier poems is at least a faster fix to revise because poetry is short. Off-blog, I started a novel and while I don’t think all the scenes thus far are irredeemably bad, I realized ~6000 words in that I have plot issues that I have no idea how to fix due to poor choices I made in the earlier chapters and I have no idea how to fix or what to do. I find this more painful than the crappy-older-poems-cringe-feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 6000 words isn’t too daunting when you considering a book is around 60,000, A person can manage 1000 words in a day if they have time (IF they have time…), so that’s six days of work. It’s not too late at all to revise it before continuing on. In fact, that early on I’d say someone was lying who said they weren’t having plot issues.

        Liked by 1 person

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