Potential (March 5th, 2019)

There’ve been
no shortage of years
wherein 
I was fully convinced
that I had to live up
to some nebulous thing
called My Potential;
that I needed to
was a failure if I failed to
somehow use
every last bit of what I had
to fill this seemingly infinite container,
this black hole void
that could never be satisfied,
eating and eating
and then demanding more of my soul-stuff,
while promising that 
this next thing
or this next accomplishment
or this next step
would finally-at-last
be enough and I could
regrow and keep the flesh
that it gnawed off my bones. 
It was sometime around 
my mid-30’s,
a few midlife crises too early,
I got tired of feeding it,
and I wrapped myself in
bandages of 
middle of nowhere farm porch
and
heavy armor of
resentment and anger,
and walked away from 
Achievement
and 
Potential.
I did
only what I needed to survive,
and what made me happy,
and the rest of the bloody world
could very well be damned
to burn and freeze in the hell of it’s own
illusory requirements
of accomplishment and success
and all the fools-gold-trappings that go with it. 

And here I find myself,
celebrating 
wholeheartedly
because we got our first olive tree today,
and my pomegranate cuttings are rooting,
and hot pepper propagation is up next,
and I don’t know if I could be happier,
happier than
sitting barefoot and cross-legged
on my front porch
planning for a few years down the road
ways to get our little farm
a few steps closer
to self-sustained. 
There is something heart-satisfying
worrying more about
if I’ll leave a safe place 
to care for my children
should hell and high water happen
more than I worry
what gallery or influencer
pays attention to me today. 

I am happier with my fruit trees and hot peppers
than I am with most other people –
there is no misunderstanding
what my plants want from me.

Sometimes I still feel a twinge of guilt
for not doing more
with everything I have,
with the potential that 
theoretically is being wasted
by choosing to plant fruit trees
instead of 
discovering or making something
history-making;
but then again,
what do I really owe a world
that is only satisfied
when gnawing on my bones?

 

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