Premature Guilt

Even in forests primeval, did innocence dwell,

among the tawny creatures in leafy dales,

or was it an imaginary essence unseen

not only in the city but among the greens?

 

If it ever existed, we cannot  say,

though we claim to have lost it along the anxious way;

we struggle to reclaim it, but never will–

same old story, Prometheus, rock, and hill.

 

We claim that Eden was a paradise,

yet Eve and Adam rolled dice and got snake eyes–

so evil came in shortly after first light;

before they entered the ring, they had lost the fight.

 

And light itself shadow creates, so thus

we are marked with darkness, unlucky us.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

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The Guilt That Follows the Craziness That the Anxiety Provokes

 

Mostly, he was even-keeled, stoic,

the anchor in the storm; a lover

told him once he showed a range

of emotion narrower than that

of a rock.

 

Mostly, he lived a quiet life, alone,

reading his murder mysteries,

playing a bit of piano, tending

to animals, taking long walks

in the park.

 

But a few times a year, usually

during seasonal changes,

the lonely nights unnerved him,

and he drank too much and binged

on online porn.

 

Mostly, it helped a bit, getting

“it” out of his system, as they say;

it was crazy times, but after a week

or so, it wound down to exhaustion,

followed by guilt.

 

Mostly, it’s a way, the counselor

tells him, of shutting down the brain

when the wild thoughts drag him

under in a fierce riptide

of meta-analysis.

 

And thus, it seems, he can’t be blamed

and yet the guilt—so much of it—remains.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper