How does one deal with one’s own inadequacy?
With true lack of merit, of talent, of acuity?

What do you do when it is shown plainly to you
that you’re not worth anything of real value?

How do you feel when even after enough chances
you’ve consistently failed at making advances?

It’s clear that life is not being unfair here:
you genuinely suck in every possible sphere.

So just shut up and accept that you’ll never win,
never feel soaring success or happiness within.

What you’re best at is being a loser by far.
You live in a studio, can’t even drive a car.

You yell at friends and wallow in self-pity.
You reek of sadness, and you’re not even pretty.

It’s not the universe, destiny, karma or fate
that stops you from finishing even one poem straight.

It’s all you, my friend, it always has been.
The awkwardness, stupidity, amentia and cringe.

So just stop trying to find an answer or excuse
for why you’re being treated like repulsive refuse.

It’s because you deserve it, you really do.
And that’s all there is to it, so now we’re through.

Accidental Saint

After years of wandering in the woods
I came up with this brilliant plan.
A foolproof logic that consistently would
stand up to the most inquisitive man.

The true nature of things is unknowable
and my life had indeed been wasted.
So I devised something showable
with lies within it nested.

A slight untruth that would protect
a saintly, wise recluse.
As long as one doesn’t deeply inspect
it’s certainly not abuse.

I lie for myself, to justify
a miserable, failed persistence.
I lie knowing it doesn’t signify
anything beyond my own existence.

My words won’t stand the test of time:
before long their faults discovered.
Then someone new may begin to mine
the depths of Truth left uncovered.

The most tragic outcome I can think
is of my words enduring long.
Of people trusting an old dry ink
and a convoluted, meaningless song.

But the chances of that are slim and low
for the future’s always smarter.
The coming generations of tomorrow
must go far, and even farther.

So I think I’m safe with my little lie
though my profession it will taint.
The world won’t devolve and have to survive
on the tales of an accidental saint.

Continue reading “Accidental Saint”

Rediscovering the Mind

The idea that man’s consciousness is a uniquely distinct feature, present in humans and not in animals, a fundamental difference of kind rather than of simple degree of complexity of neurons in one’s brain, is one that has largely fallen out of fashion in modern sociobiological and physiological circles that tend to define human behavior as emergent, something that is simply a sum of its parts, that can be explained by reducing the components to an ever more fundamental level and reconstructing the system from first principles learned by the study of its smallest constituents.

In his essay Rediscovering the Mind, Harold J. Morowitz deconstructs the folly:

The strictly reductionist approach to human behavior so characteristic of sociobiology also runs into trouble on more narrowly biological grounds. For it includes an assumption of continuity in evolution from early mammals to man, which implies that the mind, or consciousness, was not a radical departure. Such an assumption is hardly justified when one considers the dramatic instances of discontinuity in evolution. The origin of the universe itself, the “big bang”, is a cosmic example of discontinuity. The beginning of life, while less cataclysmic, is certainly another example.

A number of contemporary biologists and psychologists believe that the origin of reflective thought that occurred during primate evolution is also a discontinuity that has changed the rules. Again, the new situation does not abrogate the underlying biological laws, but it adds a feature that necessitates novel ways of thinking about the problem … man cannot be understood by laws applicable to other mammals whose brains have a very similar physiology.

This emergent feature of man has, in one form or another, been discussed by numerous anthropologists, psychologists, and biologists. It is part of empirical data that cannot be shelved just to preserve reductionist purity. The discontinuity needs to be thoroughly studied and evaluated, but first it needs to be recognized. Primates are very different from other animals, and human beings are very different from other primates.

Read the full essay in the compilation The Mind’s I by Douglas R. Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennett.

Paper Rainbow Birds

Living their lives in ignorant bliss,
their vision straight and narrow.
Woken by touch of destiny’s kiss
and tip of Cupid’s arrow.

Him a dreamer of type and code
from a land strange and far.
Her a dancer of a tribal mode,
and an artist of highest par.

Cautiously they probed for intellect
revealing a matching mind,
finding upon delving deeper that
their interests intertwined.

They spoke of life, love, art and beauty.
Of train rides in the winter.
Of movement, privilege, dance and duty.
Of travel Interstellar.

As they shared their regrets and joys,
commonality was found
amidst space cowboys and robot toys
and adventures outward bound.

Coffee shop, a dance, a concerto —
they met a bunch of times.
But their temperaments did not go
together as did their minds.

Yet through their letters and their writing
unique friendship had been wrought.
For its promise and traits redeeming
they gave it another shot.

What then followed was a blossoming
the like they had never seen:
from Haverford to Northern Liberties
and everything in between.

At the peak of their conversation,
when everything seemed just fine,
came disbalancing their equation
tragedy of closest kind.

Between changing jobs and homes anew
their rhythm was disrupted.
The delicate thread that bound these two
was severed and corrupted.

He tried pulling her back, have some fun
with musical comedy.
It only made her angry, someone
that she didn’t want to be.

Fixated on the idea of
making her happy again,
he pushed too hard, so she pulled out
and that was the very end.

Having hurt one whom he loved so much
he recused himself in shame.
Waiting weeks for cooling down and such,
he appealed to her in vain.

After losing sleep and forty pounds
and forgetting how to eat,
for two thousand miles he flew around,
climbed more than a thousand feet.

On top of Mt. Sanitas he sat
with a paper rainbow bird,
and wrote to her in a letter that
which need be said but not heard.

A mistake which she could not forgive
and he could not forget.
By penning this final missive
he broke the cycle of regret.

Now they live their separate lives
in staging and production.
His yogic mind wouldn’t ever drive
her hips of mass destruction.

Cruel fate gave them a taste of
that which could never be.
It would indeed have been a waste of
a Virginian Wonanee.

Though the fabric frayed and colors ran
the mixing of these two dyes
left a kind of after-taste that can
linger without goodbyes.

Shall the twain ever meet again,
that we may never discover.
Tragic, since she once loved him plain
in ways he’d never loved her.

As Fall nights melt into chilly dawns
and cold December sunrise,
the other’s misty moon sets upon
their own personal night skies.

~ Terence Tuhinanshu, November 2015.

Continue reading “Paper Rainbow Birds”

An Idea of You

You who I have heard spoken so highly of,
You who mean so much to so many that I love,

You who left ripples so clear and far
Like the shining twinkle of a long dead star,

You whose presence is felt even in absence
Like the after-note of a Veena-string hanging in resonance,

You whose legacy of both body and mind
Has crossed barriers and bridges, space and time,

You who I never met, so cannot mourn, miss or grieve
Are one who was never here, and thus can never leave.

Your choices and moods impress themselves upon my life
Through the veil, reaching across the darkness into light

And I know there is nothing that I can’t make through
Because although I have no memory, I have an idea of you.

~ Terence Tuhinanshu, May 6 2015

Continue reading “An Idea of You”

In Memoriam: T Pierce

Continue reading “In Memoriam: T Pierce”