Award-winning poet Jeff Walt has been published in many well-regarded journals such as New Millennium Writings, Runes, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry & Prose, The Comstock Review, and The Ledge, plus several anthologies. The poem below is reprinted from his website with his permission. Read more of his work on the NMW and Gival Press websites (the latter uses frames, so no direct link is available; click on “Authors” in left-hand sidebar).
The Life You Want
Everywhere you look you see it
thriving: running by every morning in Spandex,
resting in a hammock sipping tea
most afternoons. The songs you adore rush
mellifluous from someone else’s mouth.
A Humvee, a log cabin in Montana, and a body
that would make you feel
complete cut from chic magazines.
Your sorrows grow faster than your garden.
The flowers understand serenity better—that’s why
you resent their beauty, their quiet knowledge.
Anxiety a dog that always needs walking. Envy
a hive in your head. So, again
you read the self-help books, repeat
the angelic affirmations. You forget it all
standing in line at Wal-Mart, wanting to kill
the clerk because she’s slow, hating
the guy in front of you for buying so much stuff, pissed
because they haven’t discovered a way
to squeeze enlightenment into your shampoo;
because you can’t order it off a drive-thru menu, get it
SuperSized. You’ve seen the life you want
pulling fruit from its orchard, losing weight
and making friends, humming sweetly
on the other side of the hedge—giving freely
what you can’t understand. How? and Why not me?
rotting like bruised apples inside your head.