Poemetry by T.A. Barnhart


i find many reasons
to beat the hell
out of myself.
i deserve them all,
every beating for
every excuse:
the failures of my parents
who didn’t know any better;
the neglect of teachers
who thought i was just fine
(we were all just fine back then);
the intersection of my life
and other just-fine kids
who were busy crashing into
their own lives;
and of course,
my many failures,
repeated mistakes
fed by anxiety and depression
until the only thing i believed
with any certainty
was that most basic truth:
i deserved what i got.
abuse from the world or
abuse from my mind;
either way:
punishment deserved;
punishment served.

but then i turn the page
click my heels three times
and awake to reality.
the truth
both sad and glorious
is that i am human
(a human, not the human).
i don’t enjoy punishment
so maybe i could try
an option that makes me happy.
(the Buddha suggests smiling.)
not getting a beating
may not be happiness
per se,
but it’s happiness-adjacent.
that’s good enough, 
and good enough
is good enough
for now.

©TA Barnhart August 29, 2023