Happiness is an empty street
And a fast car.
Happiness is a clean, cold pool
You plunge into on a hot day.
Happiness is someone in your bed
Who’s gone in the morning
If you don’t want company
Or who stays if you do.
It’s someone who is happy to read the paper
Or take a hike with you.
It’s not worrying what others think
About you and your beliefs
And the wisdom to know who counts.
Happiness is strength,
Enough to fight the world
Or luxuriate in things gone well.
Happiness is attracting and repelling
Without having to try.
Happiness is a an aching fist
And an attacker’s black eye.
Happiness can be a warm gun,
Depending who gets hit.*
Happiness is not waiting for love,
Then falling in love in seconds.
It is knowing that you are fine
With or without a vow,
Yet being able to say “yes”,
When lightning strikes
And “no” when it’s just a cloud.
Yet happiness is not being sure
And bathing in uncertainty,
Of the pleasure in mystery.
Happiness is loving, faults and all,
An intensity so focused
That you’d gladly die for the one
Who was sent by some mixture
Of sunlight and shade,
On an ordinary afternoon,
Happiness is his body in yours,
His sweat on your skin in summer,
And body heat on cold nights.
Happiness is loving a little boy
Who looks like both of you
And knowing that love can transfigure
Time, exceed itself and encompass
More than one.
Happiness is contentment
In realizing how much you’ve had
And say you’ll feel rewarded
When your random life is done.
Happiness is the legend they tell
About you when you are gone;
The feeling is theirs and maybe yours.
Happiness is knowing that, if you go too far,
That there is no heaven or hell,
Or if there is,
Then anyone can play guitar.
September 9, 2020
I was reading about the Beatles' song "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and then listened to "Anyone Can Play Guitar" by Radiohead. That reminded me of how much the traditional idea of "heaven" has always bothered me, as well as the grandiose things we expect out of life. Why are humans so given to hyperbole about life and death? This was supposed to come out as a much simpler poem, but well, there it is.
*NOTE: 1-11-21 - In light of recent violence in Washington D.C., I wanted to explain that this line pertains mainly to an article about the Beatles' song (specifically, John Lennon's comments). I believe in the right to self-defense, but in no way condone gun violence, to make political points, vent anger or for any other reason!