It is only in losing that we know how to lose.
With the comfort of viewing victory

from a living room chair
we think ourselves winners.
We’ll be the bereaved. We fail

to notice the loss as its lines creep

into the routine of our daily
recreation. We think it a game,
the engine that we see we cannot

effect, so we place our bets,
hope for the best, and try to get some sleep.

The things we hold in esteem increase
the diminishing returns of intentions.
Value rings valueless,

a recognition that rends
one shaky for a time,
a little off beat,

grasping for a hook,
for an anthem of triumph,

a score to keep our accounts

buoyant, salient and indispensable,

even as the salary evaporates
with the transfer of landlocked reservoirs
to rising ocean tides, taps dripping

particulate laced streams
of putrid water. Thirst
will dry our judging eyes. All’s a gamble

with referees and dealers naming terms
ignorant of the grounds upon which the ball,
the globe, rolls around in space. Throw

yourself from the bleachers

onto the fields, deleting the numbers,
overturning the counting tables
with their metrics
and algorithms of counterfeit bliss.


Inspiration: There’s a bit of James Howard Kunstler in this poem.