i get lost in my head sometimes
tangled and stuck in my thoughts.
it took me years of trying to find ways
to outsmart myself to realize there is no me.
our thoughts rule our lives.
we have become addicted to our thoughts.
we feel the need to occupy ourselves
and think of more thoughts
to avoid the feeling of boredom;
to avoid being alone with ourselves.
before i lost feeling,
i could never tell which would be worse;
to feel or to have never felt at all.
but when you fall into nothingness,
no joy, no pain,
no love, no hate,
no fear, no light,
no shame, no grief,
just an empty black hole.
numb, nothing, and alone.
an ocean of nonexistence.
now i know i would rather be tortured in
hell than to have never felt anything at all.
when you breathe, inhale like it’s your last;
just as you do when you
come out of water for air.
notice how easy it is to let go
and hard to keep in.
when you cry, rain.
cry out like a child when it doesn’t get its way.
let your heart ache and nose run.
let everything out.
when you lay in the sun,
feel the sun’s fire burn into your skin.
notice how powerful one star alone can be.
touch the grass.
let it stab you and peel your skin.
when you listen to your favourite song,
let it play as loud as it can.
scream it, sing the song to the song.
and when you love, love.
lock up your mind
and pour yourself into someone.
jump off the cliff even if you know
no one will be there to catch you.
feel the attraction. feel them.
don’t let your love live in absence.
you are human
you have the power of light and dark.
you are the root of existence.
you have the love of humanity in your soul.
these feelings you have are
the closest thing to reality.
it is not a fantasy.
you are a gift grown out the world. you
are small yet universes live inside you.
you think too much and feel too little.
without these qualities you are not alive
and if you aren’t alive,
what else is there for you to be?
my last message for you, the reader.
we often feel stuck. imprisoned.
in our bodies but more importantly our own minds.
a place we created for ourselves that once felt like home but
has now turned into a prison we cannot see, feel or escape.
we’ve been locked in our prison cells for so long
that we’ve forgotten when or how it was even built.
we designed a complex system in our mind
where every door leads to five more.
where darkness follows us even through walls
and eventually cover every corner.
trapped. in a body of skin and flesh.
trapped. in the mazes of our minds.
we find everything we can to decorate
this prison to make it more tolerable.
we may even let people in
because the lonesome can
eventually get heavy but most times
we keep people out to protect them
from what the darkness has created.
but every now and then, the thought comes back
to escape our cells.
to escape ourselves.
The above four poems have been hand-picked from Incognito’s latest poetry collection, Paradox. Written by an anonymous author (as the pseudonym suggests), Paradox is an intense and thought-provoking collection organised into four sections concerning matters of personal identity, the ego, and love.
Drawing inspiration from philosophical and spiritual figures such as Eckhart Tolle and Lao Tzu, Paradox exhibits subtle links to Eastern doctrine. The collection takes the reader on a personal journey undergoing the hard task of deconstructing the paradoxical relationship between what we can refer to as the soul, and the ego. Some of the passages jolt us like a cold breeze, others like a warm cup of coffee in the morning. It sets out a clear intention to awaken those who have succumbed to life’s lethargies, reminding us of the abundant pleasures on offer to those willing to receive them.
Although identified as a poetry collection, Paradox does not follow traditional poetic structures. Rather, it is a composition of jumbled thoughts that appeal directly to our emotions, destabilising our foundations and disconnecting our self – or soul, as the author puts it – from superficial attachments. (Perhaps this detachment is also the reason behind the author choosing to remain anonymous). Reading Paradox acts as a catalyst for the reader to reconnect with their true nature, away from the distractions of the ego.
Diverging from Carl Jung’s psychology, the collection revolves around Jung’s theory of the persona or ‘mask’ concealing the true nature of the individual. If ever our masks have been infallible, it is with the expansion of technology and the ever-demanding pressure of social media. We have perfected our outward appearances, with our interactions becoming robotic and choreographed to adhere to what other people want us to be. Paradox seeks to offload illusions which do not adhere to our true essence, revealing the anxiety that exists beneath the surface of the mask.
Paradox is a tool for those who wish to live a more authentic life, but are not quite sure where to begin.
Introduction by Briony Willis.
Copyright © Incognito, 2019. Reproduced by permission of the author.
Paradox, Incognito, 2019, pp. 234, £9.28 (paperback)
For more information and to purchase, visit here.
To discover more content exclusive to our print and digital editions, subscribe here to receive a copy of The London Magazine to your door every two months, while also enjoying full access to our extensive digital archive of essays, literary journalism, fiction and poetry.