Fool's Gold


Fool's Gold

A poem by Adrian Patenaude


Everything we resort to –
from the best-selling-memoir clichés
of drugs and drinking and sex with strangers, 
to the “harmless” habits of
just a few more Oreos or
one more double tap ‘til 11 likes or
perfecting a playlist to fill the stillness
of a five-minute commute –
everything we resort to
is a distraction.

We chase the headrush of emotions
from party to concert to indie-vibe drive, 
windows down through downtown, 
hair blowing, bass blasting – 
and when we have lost the scent, 
we distract ourselves with cheaply won laughter, 
typing lol with barely a twitch to our lips. 

We could be sleeping, but
instead we watch through eyelid slits
as Netflix rolls over to the next episode. 
We could be sleeping, but
we know the slow moments before dreamlessness
are the death of our façade.

We are terrified of boredom, 
for that is when our mind finally wanders
to the black hole of our existence. 

If we ever dare to stop and stare, 
we know we will encounter
an excruciating silence. 

And in that silence, everything
making life worthwhile, 
everyone we claim to love –
is swallowed up in chaos. 

Food will dissolve in our mouths like cotton candy, 
leaving us sticky and thirsty and craving for more. 
Favorite films tired and predictable, 
cherished cities commonplace, 
beloved bands finally failing to move us,
leaving us numb to all the wonders we’ve clung to. 

So instead we amuse ourselves
with kaleidoscopic beauty, disoriented
by candy store color until we’ve learned to ignore
the creeping blindness at the edge of our vision.

Few are brave enough to confront the black. 
Even fewer have met its gaze
and found the strength to go on breathing. 

As for me, I tremble in the void,
overtaken by the hush
of a paralyzing eternity. 

Perhaps I can’t bear the truth.
Perhaps I’m a coward,
another weak mind
reaching for a crutch.

Or maybe the only thing stopping me from
shooting myself in the face right now
is my childish hope in that one great


breaking the silence,
brightening the darkness.

I look up
or in
or around
to that mysterious


who promises an end to all my fears,
light and singing and an inheritance of stars,
who has gone to prepare a home for me,
warm and real though I cannot see it.

Am I a fool to cling to this,
some illusion of gold in an unlit cave?
I stare into the empty air and find
I do. not. care.

For his voice is kind,
far too good to be false.