Thursday, August 10, 2017

Three Poems by Catherine Keller


We are the generation obsessed with killing artificial pain,
This medicated madness.
We live in a world where people would rather buy Instagram followers,
Than a sandwich for a homeless man.
A Siddhartha Gautama tattoo and a Rolex,
On the same wrist,
We are obsessed with spirit animals,
Because being human isn’t exotic enough,
Buddhist tapestries adorn their walls,
But they have never heard of the Four Noble Truths.
We think we know and do not understand,
Self-proclaimed wordsmiths,
Who need to drink in order to write,
Facebook phonies and Twitter terrorists,
The generation of thin skin and thick skulls.
Self-esteems made of glass,
People who bleed greed,
We waste our time,
Trying to find soulmates who don’t exist,
We are opinionated on subjects we know nothing about,
We don’t read enough,
Constantly complaining,
Hoping other people will pick up the slack,
Because we lack the motivation to fix,
What our forefathers fucked up.
We buy shit we don’t need,
But neglect to donate,
We talk too much and don’t speak up enough,
We aren’t as brave as we think,
We lie because we can,
And say ‘you only live once’,
To justify the amount of shots you did,
Instead of trying to change the planet you were born on,
So you would not feel the need to drink.
Manipulation leads to success,
Seldom hard work,
We want to travel but we judge other cultures,
We want to leave where we are,
Because we can’t be bothered solve our own problems,
And worst of all,
We have become experts on concocting excuses,
Not solutions.


Reminiscing of nights with long cars rides,
Staring at sparkling streetlights,
Listening to old songs,
That will never get old.
Thinking about how we were taught to live in fear,
And that is why we hardly ever live.
Now I just have nights I won’t remember,
With people I will never forget.
And I’ll be in my room until midnight,
Staring at a blank notebook,
Waiting for the words to find me.
And all I really want is to go back,
To the nights I felt alive.
Nowadays I’m burning brain cells and wasting time,
I wake up tired and wired,
Pondering how I profit,
Off of my framed, pricey piece of paper.
Can I really call myself a writer,
For stringing a few sentences together?
Is my true purpose being published,
Or picking pennies off the concrete?
I try my damnedest not to left my self-pity swallow me,
Secluding me on this island of sedation,
Struggling to balance on,
The thin line between conformity and madness,
In the midst of an identity crisis,
The not-so-happy medium,
Of psychoanalysis and philosophy,
My sense of self disintegrating,
Second guessing my passions and my purpose,
Those moment my brain feels as though it’s boiling,
Interferes with my train of thought and veers off,
Shacking up with my impulses.
The cursor taunts me when I attempt to type,
To say anything of substance,
Trying to make my words worth more,
If seven or eight-year-old me,
Could see the disaster I became,
I don’t think she would be too surprised.


Asbestos infested schools,
Curbs cracking from the weight of the poor,
Overtaxed and underemployed,
Even welfare checks bounce here,
Duct-taped cars and broken boulevards,
That were once booming,
More cardboard signs than street signs,
Spikes in corners,
And this is supposedly,
A great nation.
Faced with foreclosure, famine,
And underdeveloped citizens.
This is our beloved toxic wasteland,
With vacant streets and 40’s in paper bags,
Hepatitis inducing tattoo shops,
Sullen faces with no more food stamps,
Insect-infested couches on the side of the road,
Barefoot beggars on the curb,
Wreaking of cheap cigarettes and charity,
And you wonder why they try to cheat the system.
Rusted pipe dreams and scarce resources,
Public schools that prep for imprisonment,
And their lighter-singed thumbs,
Are the only things keeping them warm,
In this cold world.
This is the neighborhood where if you see someone running,
It isn’t to lower their cholesterol.
You say end welfare to starve the lazy,
And you have audacity,
To accuse US of poor work ethic,
But the thinnest people carry the most weight.
There is no faith here,
When the church feeds us lies,
Indulgences to excuse our inhumanity,
Crowded ERs and police brutality are intertwined,
And we wonder why the War on Drugs,
Hasn’t completely dissolved just yet,
Like the chemicals they’re crowding their nasal cavities with.
Do thugs have prayers?
Because they certainly aren’t heard,
Worshipping and devoting only distract,
When life becomes a game of credit and debit,
And they wonder why we soak our problems,
In cheap vodka.

Catherine Keller is 21 years old with a Bachelor’s in communications with a minor in sociology from The College at Brockport. She has had 10 articles published in the NeXt section of the Buffalo News, as well as poetry published in seven literary magazines. She was also a social media intern for BP and Esperanza magazines and has also been writing creatively since she was 15.