Recently, I wrote a piece of spoken word poetry called “Void.” I performed it at the NU Write Club Open Mic on January 30, 2014. Here is a ridiculously high quality video of me reading said poem. I wish I had memorized it before going up on stage, but whatever. Not all performances can be perfect. The full text of the poem is below the video, check it out if you want to read along.

(Thanks to Tom Viccaro for filming this)

Void

I’ve got some bad news for
Those of you who think they’re important–
That the universe holds you in a special place
in its heart and watches out for you.
You’re not important.
You’re not special.
You don’t matter.
You are not some beautiful mind
the world has failed to recognize.
It is true that you are a unique
and wonderful snowflake,
but you fail to realize that
in spite of their subtle differences,
snowflakes all look pretty much the same.
The world does not owe you a damn thing.
And while it’s true that you didn’t ask to be here,
it is equally true that the world
did not ask for you.
We like to tell ourselves
there’s a plan, and that things work out
for the best, but we know in the back
of our monkey brains that it is sink or swim–
that it’s been that way for the past
8 billion years.
Sink or swim. Live or die.
It’s a simple choice, really.
I think I know what you all would pick,
based on the fact that you’re all still sitting here, breathing.
The problem is that there is an asterisk
attached to every breath you take:
“The end user agrees to be responsible
for maintaining their own existence, including:
eating, sleeping, and hydration.
The end user agrees to take responsibility
for any such other physical, mental, or emotional demands not detailed above.”
Always read the fine print, because
every time you inhale you are signing
on the dotted line
and dating at the bottom.
I’m not saying this to be a harbinger of doom and gloom.
And I’m no Tyler Durdan trying to subvert the capital system with nihilism and anarchy.
Rather, I’m your friendly neighborhood Spiderman,
swinging by on his web
to remind you that you are the master of your domain.
The world doesn’t care what you do.
There’s two sides to this coin–
You can either go crazy like
some super villain megalomaniac, become lonely and depressed when your career as a Bond villain doesn’t pan out, and off yourself out of spite, living your life like some stupid cliché.
OR there’s plan B:
You realize how liberating it is that the universe doesn’t give one iota of a shit about you.
It doesn’t matter what you do.
Go nuts!
You’re free to do what you want.
The universe doesn’t care.
The only caveat is that you have to do it yourself.
So go forth and build.
But know that you have to put on the hard hat and get your hands dirty.
You have a dream. You have a vision.
Leave something behind to make this world slightly better for those who come after you.
But don’t ever forget about the apathy. Glance periodically at the thermometer to remind yourself of how cold it is.
Do not be like Ozymandias carving your name for mortals to gaze on and despair, because those lone and level sands of time are abrasive and will
rub your name clean from any stone.
Create to inspire. Create to challenge.
It doesn’t matter if you’re painting a picture, or
designing a can opener, or birthing a baby.
As long as you’re putting your heart in it and
your mind to it.
As long as you accept the fact that there will be struggle. As long as you look that ugly monster in the eye and bare your teeth, knowing that no one is going to fight this battle for you.
Never stop pressing forward.
An object in motion stays in motion, so keep your pace and momentum.
Because even though you aren’t special or important, you have potential.
Potential to build something of importance and beauty in an otherwise cruel and careless void.