Groveling for a Dime, Can You Spare a Spare Soul?

On the Couch–

I visited psychologist
$20 co-pay before
November’s new insurance
policy, some thread as to why
anxiety and anxiousness
set in
on job hunt for three years
something more permanent than
adjunct, gig here
gig there
something to wash away
57 years of eye paste

all neat and beard-full
Jewish kid, 30, wondering
how it was I could be so sad
all that mileage
the invincible 20s and crazy 30s and peaks
at 40

he set his spiel and rushed
three visits, $20 co-pay
no sliding scale once
new insurance starts
platitudes, and really
bad copy of “Desiderata”
as I vacated seat
old car whining
in Vancouver fog
another hundred applications
waiting for nimble
mind, arthritic fingers


Huffed and puffed
frozen air shroud of age
he lumbers into office
penniless but prideful
casting call for young
supine, or ignorant
these wax-faced figures
laugh made by Corning
the very perspiration patented

they isolated that brooding gene
the British-French have it short
serotonin uptake slow, minimal
so the scientists, white haired test
tube fiends tell us some people
more miserable than others
how the Danes are the happiest

this is the employment line
all plastic and scanned
each rental agreement
foreclosed upon these times
fearful, full of paperwork
legitimizing the lowest
form of human, bureaucrat
each “i” dotted and every “t”

I was scanning the putrid internet
the sewage that it is, every amateur
up and Adam, the so-called crème de la resistance
as bad as it gets on any variety show
there he was, some TV ’80s guy
Jan Michael Vincent, turning 70
raspy, old, leg amputated
then this fucked up journalist
attacking him, pointing out
the guy’s booze and coke
days, showing six-pack abs
poster, heart-throb
cutting to old toothless geezer
berating him for age
wanting to winnow some pound
of flesh from his spirit
“how you feel after having it all . . .
now that you are washed up and almost dead?”

these are the people in charge
these spirit killers
reckless and safe
TV or Journalist
the rotten spew
they rule now, employment
lines, all those cops with hard-ons
international investments
in mental clinics, prison wards
profits dependent upon
delinquency, poverty
mental duress, sliding health
profits by a chosen few
buffed up by gentiles with guns
CPAs and shit-stained lawyers

Jan Michael Vincent, just surfing
the putrid internet, old guy deemed
by the UK’s Daily Fucked up Mail
as once TV’s highest paid actor
now side shows, mentally slow
sucked in and death warmed over
these are the class acts now
the endless freaks show
those carnivals in alleys
anything goes USA-EU
the very snot in your head
for sale now

jobs auctioned off in China
Koreans in suicide plunge
the world a poisonous vat
where farmers drink the pesticide
swill, the unborn are zombies-made
and we sit here and listen and watch
the fucking unhuman beings
torturing people, putting that old-older
Jan Michael Vincent through
just watch, and think how far
we have gone since Enlightenment
sobering reality of a world
with chasms, so many gulfs
separating humanity
from selling souls

the chosen bankers
bivouacked in Tel Aviv
Switzerland, Brussels
Bonn, NYC, Toronto, Hong Kong
Mecca, making money off of phlegm
the last breath of granny
children making a wish
brain tumor like a saw
get to dance with the stars
as the chosen ones dance
to bank, serotonin less
than Danes, but punch drunk
happy in their millions, while
the drunk and delirious die
for their never-ending show


Note: see miserable gene story (sic) here!

& see the feces Daily Mail story-video of Jan Michael Vincent here, and weep!


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.