Giving Cynicism a Bad Name
Gods dammit !, I’ve let myself grow optimistic !
I can’t believe I’ve let myself get hopeful-careless now !
“Cynical and real”, a jaded zeal and nihilistic tantra,
That was long my mantra, was my self-improving vow –
Forever “Cynical and real”, from Shangri-La to Slough.
Expect the worst – the worst exists – be never solipsistic –
I’m not alone, alas ! – there’s people ev’ry-bloody-where,
Who seem to think their mission is to try and make me care.
But hey, I seem to say, chuck that away for ‘anyhow’,
For grasping at what-ifs and maybes, any passing stray statistic,
Gleaning gosh and go-for-it from what-about and wow.
Oh, this is gonna hurt, I know,
Oh, this is gonna crush me in the vice of lessons learned.
But truly I deserve this blow,
Because the flame of Hope must feed on hope,
Must burn up hope, till hope is burned.
I should, I do, know better than to think that this old rope
At which I grope, is yet a lifeline, not a noose.
Ah, what’s the use…
However much I tell myself
That hopefulness is bad for health
My under-mind is getting drunk on jubilation juice.
Defeat is gonna flood this town
Because I let my shields down,
And all because I let the bastard Hope get on the loose.
So come and claim me, He-Who-Wins,
Come poke my eyes and kick my shins,
My inner-voice needs dowsing and my spirit’s due a sluice.
But still…but still I hear its whisper, even now –
I hear it over ev’ry chanting of my vow –
“Cynical and real, must keep it cynical and real.
There’s no repeal.”
And if that’s bleak and bitchy, good !
It’s time I understood that harsh reality’s a cow,
It ain’t some sweet and sad-eyed pup.
So please, Defeat, please shoo the mutt
And shut the damn thing up !
Please be the poison in the buttercup,
The fungus in the bough.
Please, Defeat, for once, for all,
Please stop me dreaming quite so tall –
I cannot take another fall,
Another draining of my tao.
A swift one-two into the gut
Should hobble me my cocky strut
And fill my saccharine with gall.
Quick ! I feel another wave of optimism building –
But lilies aren’t for gilding,
They’re for bearers of the pall.
Quick ! Construct a wall to keep my pessimism filled in –
I pray for mental doors of bronze
To shut out Hope and all his cons,
And fire arrows at his swans, until the dread is drilled-in.
Don’t drag a plough across my brow,
I can’t allow these worries and these fears.
So please, to anyone who hears me
Hear me now !
Pray dim my eyes and salt my tears,
And help me chant my vow:
“Cynical and real, keep me cynical and real.”
And all you optimists, forgive me,
For I never meant to sign your deal.
“Cynical and real, always cynical and real.”
Let my fear of life outlive me,
For I never meant to let me feel.
Chant it with me,
Chant it with me,
Never let my let-downs heal.
Keep me coping, keep me numb,
Before all Hope is come.