On Service and Serving


Photo by Ding LU on Unsplash

On Service and Serving

What a
bizarre perverse
spectacle we must be
to anyone with the gift of

Contorting our delusions
to fit absurd collective
narrative illusions.

Your happiness is
to me
and yet

I weigh my worth upon you saying
that you are pleased by my efforts
to bring happiness directly
to your seat with a smile in my voice

fit to claw your eyes out
to minimize eyestrain.

As I strain,

monks go door to door
with empty bowl in hand and
it is filled more often
than not.

If it be a sin
to covet a neighbor’s empty bowl
then I am the foulest
most wretched creature living

if one could subscribe
to the false illusion that
somehow this is life.

But I lie while lying;
it is his heart I covet most.

I would reach into him and
feast right upon it,
right there in his face,
sitting upright, cross-legged

upon the dusty,
nutrient-starved earth, and he
quietly, peacefully

would mourn the fact that
he only had the one
heart to offer,

withholding nothing.

I don’t even count them
as withholds anymore,
for they are nothing to behold;

I place the holy magic beans
inside the divine tabernacle
and watch random gods of diversion
snatch them all away like a

school of piranha
picking clean the bones of my
counterfeit coffers.

Thus, am I served.

It would be cute
to call it being
eaten alive,

but that would play to
the illusion that the beans,
the tabernacle
and my convent with the gods
ever existed and that

this is living.

Oh, what a bizarre spectacle I must be
to anyone with the true gift of sight.

But I am ready.

Ready to leave it all behind,
take a leap into the absence of lore,
and see for myself
what this living business is all about.

the best part of
my yet-to-be-told tale
will be when I ended service
and served.

My story begins on the last page.

(Video is only loosely related to the poem. I only included it because I really loved the movie, and it makes me feel better about things in my life that kinda suck right now.)

Written for dVerse Poetics: The Art of Confession in Poetry, hosted by  anmol(alias HA).

12 thoughts on “On Service and Serving

  1. We are all passengers on this spaceship earth and if we dont tell good stories the other passengers may have us removed. Now if you can manifest a poem or two, then you get extra ponts that can make up the difference if your stories suck… Keep the pace Just Barry – someone loves you…:-)


  2. This is an amazing write Barry. I also like the monk’s empty bowl story, specially:

    But I lie while lying;
    it is his heart I covet most.

    If only we have the true gift of sight. But we must keep on living, and serve the best way we can.


  3. Ooh, I love this bit:
    “I would reach into him and/feast right upon it,/right there in his face,
    sitting upright, cross-legged//upon the dusty,/nutrient-starved earth, and he/quietly, peacefully//would mourn the fact that/he only had the one/heart to offer,//withholding nothing.”

    Such a powerful confessional verse — the angst is palpable in these striking images — there’s a certain sadness to it which gives a peek into the internal world of strife so affectively. This is so well done!


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