Gottfried Benn made a list of “what’s bad”
And it’s pretty good.
I guess that would put it on my list
Of countervailing forces, i.e. of
Things that are good
What else would be there?
Dogs, I’m sure
And crossword puzzles—
When they are just easy enough to solve
And hard enough to bestow cleverness on the solver
And coffee with cream and sugar
And mornings with no clear terminus
Spent with a book written by someone who’s smarter than me
But not too much smarter.
Of dogs I’m more certain
Byron had no doubt that dogs were better than people
In his case, I wouldn’t disagree.
I am a virtuoso of grievance
A connoisseur of hurt feelings
I am a maestro of mulling
And a Panzer tank of pulling faces
I taste resentments like a man sampling grapes
I nibble on hatred because I know
The banquet is never-ceasing.
The mind is a cruel beast in its cage
That paces back and forth
And springs periodically forward
To claw fruitlessly at its bars.
If left alone it starts to chew
Its own leg clean off.
Supposing everyone in the world
Was given five minutes each
To uncork themselves
And suppose everyone else—you and me included
Absolutely had to listen
What a stream of pain and anger
Would be released
What horrible abuses and regrets and rages
Would come pouring out!
That would be minutes 1-4.
And assuming we all actually listened all this time
And didn’t check the time or our emails or shoelaces
Then Minute number 5
Would be different.