We are the Numb


Come follow me into the wooded hills

Away from all the jargon, nonsense, noise

And re-use old forgotten paths with me

Past beer cans, past junk food wrappers, past gum,

Past dead cigarette butts that could have sparked

A fire here where lightning needs no help:

The forest outskirts are dry—dry as sex

With a virgin who doesn’t want to lose

That title yet…or not to you. The trees

Aren’t interested in us; they’ve been too scarred

Too many times before, so don’t touch them

Not even gently; let them heal awhile.

This is our wilderness, each year a line;

Climb on, up, always up to where converts

Of lore were made: on mountain peaks where noise

Is different. I can hear the city’s hum

From here, so on, up, always up. The rocks

You can touch; they’ll support us in our quest.

Like the trees they were hurt, but long ago

And they have hardened over time. I doubt

They feel us…but let us not be compelled

To dwell on stones; it’s on, up, always up…

I want to rest, but it’s close; something’s close.

Can you feel it? Not in the wind…Can you

Feel? Feel or is it hear? The senses mix

At altitude—I’m seeing magpie’s songs

And tasting prisms, but I do feel—hear—

A music not of birds, but sung by men;

It’s chanted loudly, chanted lowly, sprung

From the shallow stream we cross, keeping time.

We’ve found a hidden hermitage where monks

Are tending to their garden, planting seeds

Of some sort—I am not skilled with such things.

They fetch water and chant, ignoring us

And our uninvited arrival here,

But neither do they look at us with scorn.

I’m still afraid to ask for water, pest

That I might seem, so I silence my thirst

And with it stops their song. I cannot feel

The city’s hum. The noise is different. Hear.

Silence the swarms of sounds to which you cling

And let the emptiness absorb the space;

Without a voice or music feel and sing

And every high romantic symbol trace

In darkness. Focus on the alarm clock

Light and blot it out, draw the shadows round

Until what you know is there is gone, lock

Reality away, be free of sound.

But eyes shift, light returns, you never try

Again because you know the light is real

And proving wrong a truth leaves much to fear

When textbook answer keys are asking “Why?”:

Not stating “Yes, it’s 4” but asking “Feel,”

Or worse, in silence, prompting you to Hear.


Because the filter of silence is dead.

No pause to edit that e-mail, no glance

To check a fact before responding with

A comment of attack. I cannot have

Opinions unless I oppose someone

And prove that they are wrong, that there is light;

That they’re in darkness, I am right; and times

When I have no idea, I slander, rail,

And maim to take my victory—to prove

That I have voice that can and does make noise.

Who is the loudest? Let me vote for him.

Which news network casts the tastiest bait?

Give me their hooks to swallow like the scripts

Of famed Reality TV shows; let

Me eat their politics, claim their buzzwords

Because only the Philosopher’s Spoon

Can turn a phrase to gold. But shouldn’t news

Be the only reality TV?

If I want poorly crafted insults, can’t

I just examine my own daily life

Or read a few more comments on Youtube

To reach my racist quotient of the day?

“No,” the media yells from megaphones,

“Because the filter of silence is dead.”

But on our mountain with orange-robed monks

The filter is strong, clean and actively

Sorting my musings, finding the gold flakes

Rather than capsizing the ship with junk:

Key chains, statuettes, souvenirs beyond

What memory decides to keep for me.

Let it all go: prostrate, be Zen, be Seon,

Be caught in a cherry blossom snow storm,

Step off the stone, join the koi in the pond,

Cut yourself free but obsess over form,

Pull back the trigger but don’t draw the gun,

Be… ah, who am I kidding. I’m a fake.


Because I am the Numb,

I am the binging drunk.

I’m the winding down sum

Of every gold-pan sunk.

I am 420 high

And never—as no monk—

Paint poems in the sky,

Write paintings in a tree.

I never have to try

To define by memory.

Wikipedia stores

All that thought-stuff for me.

So when this website bores,

Click here for the new meme.

ftw highest score,

Or Epic Fail for the team.

Because we are the Numb

Who killed the epic—so it seems.

About writewithlightning

I'm a published Canadian poet and fiction writer, posting haiku daily @writelightning on most social media sites. Please like and comment so that I know you're reading. It means a lot to me! View all posts by writewithlightning

One response to “We are the Numb

  • writewithlightning

    This is based on a journal entry I wrote on 4/20 which I decided against posting last week. I was going for my daily run down by the river and every park was full of teens and 20-somethings smoking weed. I have nothing against their practice – I should have liked to have joined them – but it got me thinking about how numb this Age of “Information” is. The binge drinking, the pot, the Reality TV. I have also been reading a book of Dharma sayings and one of them was about how we should filter our words through silence. Blog comments are rushed like this (although I must say, the ones on my site have been excellent), especially because we can remain anonymous and held unaccountable.

    I’d also like to thank 105, for the poetic response to my first daily poem: Persiflage. You can read the poem in the comments of that post here:


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