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Introspective, Poetry


Two days before Christmas, I can’t stop thinking about Egypt.  Christmas has lost some of its luster.  I just don’t ascribe to it as much anymore.  I loved today when I was in Bread Garden eating from the hot bar with Jani and a group of gentleman ranging from probably their fifties well into their seventies began playing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in the grocery store.  I couldn’t help but take pictures with a smile on my face attempting to ensnare the barista at the coffee bar smiling and swaying in the midst of them in the background of my shots.  I was glad to see one of them playing the French horn.  Mr. Schultz in 6th grade tried to teach me that, he kept telling me, “Jared, you’re smart enough to play this, just not calm enough.”  That was weird, because my math teacher at the time was failing me, and it wasn’t even Pre-Algebra.  Next year, because of my standardized test scores, I ended up in the advanced classes, and throughout the rest of my schooling; I didn’t much care for those either.  My doctor, when my mom took me there, wanted me to skip two grades, saying I wasn’t being challenged enough.  Glad Mom put the kaboshes on that.  Christmas though, perhaps it’s that I’m not as focused on myself, what I’m getting, like when I was a kid.  Like when I was in sixth grade.
I’ve grown a lot since then, developed myself a lot.  A year later in seventh grade or thereabouts I went to Panama on a mission trip.  Sometime there, when we were in David, Panama I got the notion that I needed to go to the Middle East and ever since then I’ve had an incessant drive to go there. (Incessant is a word I use a lot, because I feel incessant in many instances.) At the time I knew God had put the thought in my head, he was commanding me there.  Now, at the age of twenty-one, over this idea that I know better than everyone else—now I just know better than most people, but certainly not everyone (tehehe) like when I was eighteen— I’m not so sure if God put the thought there or if it was my mind seeing the patterns in life that I see now.  I told my friend the other day at night, Karl it was, we were high, on the balcony I said, “I have a perverse desire for truth.”  I should add experiences in their, and via experiences: knowledge.  Blame my intellect.
I’m sick of classifications, liberal, conservative, republican, democrat, agnostic, atheist, christian, jew, muslim, fuck it all man.  I am me.  I live my life and am driven by something on the inside that tells me what to do and weigh what is good and honest against what serves me most and I always try to find an equilibrium. Sometimes I have to sacrifice myself and sometimes I sacrifice the truth.  I try to avoid the latter and the former.
My brother is over there in Egypt and I’m jealous.  Not necessarily of him, or his situation or anything like that, but his location.  There are so many opportunities at his finger tips.  I don’t feel those opportunities here in America.  Yes, there’re opportunities here, but that’s not what I’m saying.

I wrote this the other day:

The city I grew up in
feel nothing, no strings pulling at my heart, tugging me back

Iowa City
appreciative of the community’s effort
making this a wonderful city
again, I feel no real connection to the land, to the ground

The place I was born,
only glimpsed through pictures,
baby-eyes were the only eyes that saw the boulder in the yard, the mountain rising up behind the house, the trees around,
the pond in the front yard when the snow would melt off the rocks,
I feel a tug, a pull
to the mountains,
the rocks, the snow, the wind trying to push you off the edge,
snort of the elk laying beside the road,
black shapes of the eagles in the sky overhead,
rush of the river scrambling the rock…centuries.  
These things incessantly drag me, everywhere, somewhere.

The city I grew up in, the people there,
the few left that matter to me
wish to see them, some way, some how,
wish even more they would leave,
their sake, I worry, am sorry, they cannot be forced.  
They have people there,
surrounding them
make the place, meaning.

Iowa City, it is the people
I share experiences
strangers with blank faces in my memory
faces, main features etched into my eyelids,
I can only see when I close my eyes,
they make this place matter.  
Lost when I open my eyes—reality is unfair, most of the time.

I want to leave, to go,
taste new winds, as I said to my father.  
Stagnation I feel a trepidation of loss:
loss of possibilities, of a life,  of thoughts, of experiences.  
I do not feel sated here, in this place, wherever this place is, I do not feel it.  
I am in search of…
a life I have in mind, an endless pursuit of an unquantifiable, inconceivable, or inexpressible
I am unsure what
yet I want and am pursuing it.

Land holds no weight when inhabited by mere people.  
This is not land,
this is society.
Society only
matters when you’ve found people worth…
People make the place,
their interactions, their history, their life, their words, their food, their thoughts, their actions, their beliefs, their sounds
all realized in conjunction with the land,
until removed,
the land and their lives,
then we begin to lose our way.  
We need a balance.

I can only live my life.
I take my path.  
Some might say they take a different path,
I would think in my head,
it is the wrong path.  
A path circling endlessly on itself,
a path of comfort and boundaries.  
My path is filled
incessant learning, thinking, trying, questioning, appreciating, listening, hearing, seeing, doing.  
My path winds
weaves, turns and crosses streams, rivers and deltas,
valleys, hills and mountains,
fields, plains and deserts,
tundras, forests, jungles and oceans.

My path does not end.  

My life is ad-hoc.  There is an impetus in me to move in any sense of the word, live elsewhere, move physically in space, or even move in my mind.  I’m leading somewhere, but I’ve no end in sight, it is a constant pursuit of happiness.  I’ve taken to heart the old adage, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Or some shit like that.


About Jared Krauss

traveler, reader, thinker, writer, photographer, doer


2 thoughts on “12/21/11

  1. Sometimes when you try too hard to find yourself you end up loosing what is was you were searching for. Over thinking is what makes your thoughts become contrived and disingenuous. You seem to have a very interesting point of view, I would hate to see that ruined by an ego. Don’t force it to satisfy an image. I believe your intentions but not your words.
    “It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.” -Epictetus

    Posted by sheldon | December 30, 2011, 23:26
    • Sheldon,

      Thank you so very much for the feedback. It’s rare to get such a well thought out response and I had to earnestly think about what it was you were saying, and I think I’ve kind of got it. The end bit when I talk about the paths I think is where my ego (which I am unfortunately well aware of) shows through the most.

      I’ll take your words into consideration and I do love Epictetus, had to read it for a World Lit. class. Thank you again!

      J.E. Krauss

      Posted by J.E. Krauss | December 31, 2011, 11:48

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