Human Life

Below is the last poem I wrote in 2022; it was a lean year for creative output, to say the least. My bad. And I don’t know if anyone is still reading this blog. At one time it had 7,000 subscribers but I have been neglectful. I hope that 2023 will be better. One of the things I’ve been trying to teach myself is that writers/poets have to practice their scales just like musicians. Of course that means setting boundaries, protecting the hour or so a day that’s the bare minimum for doing anything with one’s life. And the people around me don’t respond well to boundaries. They see spending time living the life you’re working to make a living to have as a reward for being successful enough that you don’t have to work. Which is like saying a farmer can’t harvest any of his crop unless he harvests enough to throw some away.

I see life differently. I believe that we’re born to live a certain secret amount of time, and that every moment of that time belongs completely to the person whose life it is. Not one second ever belongs to anyone else. It’s ridiculous to think you have to borrow some of it back from your employer, or your family. You don’t have to justify your self-expression, how you spend your time, or deny the fact that being not busy doesn’t mean being available. You should keep your promises and support others, but you haven’t promised to be with them all the time, and they haven’t promised to pay you what your life is worth.

How infinite and amazing a human life is, and how completely we reduce every life we see – even our own – to its most basic appearances. It’s tempting to see only the surface: the hair, the tattoos, the piercings, the clothes, the secondary sex characteristics. When I see people, I try to see the sadness, the gladness, the pain, the fears and hopes and history that has all brought them to their Now.

The way we see each other and our fleeting lives is like looking at a distant galaxy and saying well, that’s not quite enough light to read a menu by. And it makes me sad and I can’t communicate in words how much life is worth loving, how much people are worth their freedom and the celebration and defense of their solitude.

Happy New Year

Human Life

Thinking about a human life
makes all the light held by time
retreat to the distant corners of the mind.
Time can’t imagine such a life, can’t
can’t hold it, and time can’t set it free.
Eternity is the only – oh, so lonesome –
measure of a thought.

And how can I love you, who
never arrived, was never found,
barely sought: the walled garden
unmapped in any world?
But I do, I have so for long.
I swear to die with your secret name
still forming in my thoughts.

If I see the surface of the ocean
and think I know what lies beneath,
I must be ready to accept a slow death
by thirst, shivering and steeped
in a cold mist. Eight billion lives
is so many infinite worlds.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

3 thoughts on “Human Life

  1. Great blog to kick in the new year. The farmer story reminds me of the Mexican Fisherman Parable. Inspiration is interesting. For me, it might lay low for awhile, and then arrive in full force when I least expect it. It usually arrives from some of the least likely places like a movie, a song, a walk in nature, a road trip, or something someone says. Have a fun and creative 2023!

  2. Beautiful poignant poem. I, too, have missed reading you. Keep fighting for/to protect your creative importance in this, your only human life. You’ve reminded me to do so as well. Happy new year to you.

  3. Still reading, still wowed. This one is perfect as we move into a new year. Thank you and I hope you are well!

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