My life means nothing.

I know this. I can no longer delude myself. I can no longer believe that every life is precious, that every action and reaction, every cause and effect, every inhale and exhale, is a part of some great Plan. This is the kind of bullshit fed to kids so they don’t kill themselves once they reach puberty. There is no Plan. There is no Secret. When you stare into the abyss, there is nothing there to meet your gaze. Only blackness. Only darkness. Only the darkest darkness that your mind can imagine — -the deepest recesses, of the deepest caverns, of the darkest cave that has no name, because no consciousness has ever lived there to name it, because no light has ever been there to touch it, and it never will. Welcome to the black truth of the nothing that is your life. In the end it’s not the darkness that gets to you there, not the utter absence of light…it’s the silence. It’s the void of noise. It’s the darker side of nothing. The only sound being that of your own blood thrumming in your ears, building, eventually becoming loud as thunder, loud as your loudest inner screams, the screams of helplessness clawing at the walls of your skull with a voice as shrill as breaking glass, and that voice has no vocal cords to ever rub raw, that voice never runs out of air, it will be there screaming until it drives you mad, until the vessels in your brain stop fluctuating and the synapses stop firing, until your pupils expand to eclipse the irises and the darkness is finally allowed to become one with itself.

Nietzsche was an idiot. God isn’t dead. In order for that to be true, “He” must first have existed. Poets, philosophers, historians, me, we were and still are searching for something that was never there. We are all trying to find fact in a fiction, a Holy Grail in an unholy world, a blade of grass in a tin can. I have spent my life trying to decipher a lie. There is no “meaning of life.” There is no great secret. The secret is there is no secret. The meaning is there is no meaning. All hail the nothing.

It seems suicide would be the obvious way out of all this nihilism. But sorry, it’s just not that easy. Because, “what if?” The cyclical nature of existence has always puzzled me. The trees die and are reborn each year. The rain falls and evaporates, only to fall again. The moon disappears gradually and reappears every month. Even the Earth itself moves through cycles of sustaining and not sustaining life, with ice ages and cataclysmic changes that periodically wipe out most organisms. What if reincarnation is just another part of this cycle? What if we too only die to be reborn in another body? Energy cannot be killed, merely transferred. What if the consciousness we have while alive is really some form of unique pattern possessed in the electrical currents of our brains that must go somewhere when the body it currently occupies expires? Suicide would only guarantee another round on this sick carousel, another set of eyes, another pair of hands with new fingerprints and hangnails, another chance to retrace the footsteps of your own ghost and feel like you’ve been here before. Maybe I have written these words before. The point is suicide would not solve anything. It would just prolong the pain of living with the knowledge that nothing matters. In the end, we are all blades of grass, killed by the winter frost, and waiting for the rains of spring.

Not all knowledge is power. Sometimes it is a burden. Sometimes it is just more clutter to fill the empty spaces of the brain that should be reserved for things that used to seem important, like anniversaries or family members’ birthdays. In this case, knowledge is a double-edged sword, freeing the mind, but at the same time destroying the will of ambition, tethering it to the greater question of “why,” that will never be answered. This is the ultimate form of torture: to realize there is no ultimate purpose to life, but still feel the desire to find one.

I am tired of searching.

I am tired of retracing the steps of yesterday.

I am tired of the circles.

Everything seems to move in circles, circles and ellipses. The planets and moons condense from the stardust into spherical shapes and then rotate as they orbit the stars in elliptical revolutions. The blood in the veins of life circles to and from the heart to replenish the oxygen to the cells, which are round, tiny planets, tiny universes. The carbon dioxide exhaled from the breaths of lungs is inhaled by the leaves of plants, which release more oxygen into the air, to complete the circular cycle of planetary breathing. Cut down a tree and you can count the rings in its girth to find out how many years it has grown, before being turned into pulp and smashed into paper for worthless novels and homework assignments to prove the intellect of the next endangered species or to burn in the fires to warm the bones of the cold and hungry before everything feeds itself back to the Earth. The tides roll in, the tides roll out. The galaxies spin. Every day, millions of cars make the journey from their driveways to the workplace, along black veins of highway, and then back again at the end of their work shift, stopping along the way to check the mail. Even life is a circle of routines.

Eventually, everyone becomes a slave to routine.

I am no different. My life has become a series of bad habits and déjà vu days. I stay up too late. I drink too much. I choke the time from the day with hours of senseless entertainment that has no relevance to anything. I piss in the face of the future. I fall asleep and think I am still awake. The alarm sounds. I wake up exhausted. I hit the snooze button four or five times. I shower. I go to work late. I go home. Lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It’s like walking in circles. It’s like sleepwalking. It’s like putting my life on auto-pilot. It’s like being a ghost trapped in a living dream. It’s like being in a waking coma. I am nobody. I am a fucking vegetable with a pulse.

Every day I see this more and more, I become more aware of my own insignificance. Every person is the center of their own little world. Every person is the star of their own reality television show, their own romantic comedy, their own drama or tragedy. Driving to work each day, I pass the various numbers of other vehicles, the minivans, the sedans, the sports coupes, each going to their own destination, each driver following his or her own daily routine. They go to work. They go to movies. They pick up children from little league practice. They go to the gas station. They go home. Their families and friends orbit their consciousness like their own planets or moons. Ninety-nine point nine nine nine percent of them don’t even know I exist. They pass by me in traffic, or walk by me on the street or in the supermarket, but my face means nothing to them, to them I am just another blank slate, another empty vessel standing in the way of their destination to the potato chip aisle. They will never speak my name; never carry a picture of me in their wallet. And I will never know them either.

I am alone.

We all are.

No one can be all places at once. No one can be a part of everyone’s orbital plane. That is impossible. The planet is too fucking big. But we need to be reminded of our own existence, our own relevance. We cling to friends and family, cling to conversations in the break room and standing in the parking lots of movie theaters, cling to internet chats, and cell phones, just so other minds can interact and let us know we are still alive. Without that interaction, what would happen?

…I found out the day I disappeared.

Provocative truth teller, author of 19 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at: