Pursuit of Happiness

by Judson Rose

I am eating lunch
on budgeted time,
thinking about Barthelme
and about research, about
love, about my next meal, about
stealing some sleep when obligation
isn’t looking, about Egypt and revolution
and how I don’t care as much
as I think I should, about
the New Yorker and how I should
really start reading more and
drinking less, about applications
and resumes and who I paint
myself to be for all these things
that I don’t want to do and
people I dont want to meet—
I am thinking about how much of a
burden it is to be happy.

Pursue happiness? All delusions
should be so grand. Why
can’t it be enough to smoke a
cigarette, drink a beer or some boxed
wine and be content in the moment and
bury tomorrow under a varnish
of self-deception? Why can’t it be
enough to function, to lie,
to buy knock-off brand
achievement and enjoy it?
Why must I lose myself
in pursuit of a thing that
anyone who has lived long
enough knows is always
one job away, one vacation,
one failed relationship, one
diagnosis, one more drink
away?

At least mediocrity sees fit
to show its face.

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