An American Story

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Photo by Kat Coffe on Unsplash

Remember when you were little,
Back when you knew only one story?
You weren’t forced to whittle
Away at fictional glory
Or knots of hyperbole
To excavate the truth.

Does anyone even care
What is true anymore?
Or do we prefer to stare —
Addicted to scandals galore?
The story’s always the same;
Each side has living proof.

The story spins, and it twists.
We can’t pull our eyes away.
We’re transfixed by the trysts
Even the death and dismay.
Truth just gets in the way.
It’s become uncouth.

Instead, he fabricates his facts. His proof was always electric. Friends…


When the end’s means lose meaning, a poem

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Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

Why toil and grind away
If there’s an easier way?
Why patiently wait my turn
When greed and desire burn?
Why bear the weight of critique
If I can take a loophole and sneak
Out of the spotlight?

It’s easier when no one knows
What means I used to steal goals.
No one will care about the route
When it’s the glory we’ll tout.
It’s easy to bury moral transgressions
Beneath loud ticker-tape celebrations.

Shortcuts can be so seductive
When patience is unproductive.
A quick fix makes for more time.
Hard work requires so much mind.

My being becomes so…


Don’t blame me; the alcohol made me do it

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Photo by Umur Batur Kocak on Unsplash

Every “problem drinker” has had more than their fair share of alcohol-related excuses.

If you really think about it, alcohol is like a little magic wand. Drink a little too much and, guess what, all bets are off.

Expect me to be reliable? Fancy that. Timely? Try again. Honest? HA! Composed? Um… Emotionally mature? You know where this is going.

As I said: All. Bets. Are. Off.

Reliable is basically the last thing you can count on.

Fun at a party? Acting like a lunatic? Liable to embarrass myself? Likely to piss off my girlfriend? Possibly forget how I got…


Scarcity and its Discontents

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Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

If you don’t act fast, you’re going to miss out. This is a once-in-lifetime, limited-time offer, and the clock is ticking. Everyone else is taking advantage. What. Are. You. Waiting. For?

Do you ever wake up and feel like the clock is impatiently gnawing away at your day?

Before you even get out of bed, you can feel like you’re already behind. If phone alerts aren’t jolting you into action, then it’s your email, or your calendar, or your Sisyphean to-do list. Or maybe it’s just the good, old-fashioned cacophony of demands, obligations, and commitments racing through your mind.

Many…


No, little orange man, your words are violence

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The “Save America” Trump Rally Photo by John Minchillo/AP

For the last four years, Republican leaders nationwide have attempted to benefit from the “as seen on reality TV” presidential theatrics while shielding themselves from blame or accountability for their association with the little orange man in the big white house.

Over and over, in the face of embarrassing temper tantrums, belligerent bullying, thinly veiled lies and the public endorsement of misogyny and racism, Republicans in Congress stood by the president — excusing away his incendiary and bigoted remarks on the grounds that he’s an idiosyncratic DC outsider with an unconventional approach or dismissing his remarks altogether as “just rhetoric.”


And its consequences

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Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Do you ever stop
And ask if you’re
Happy?
How about sad?

Do you yell and scream
Before you recognize anger?
Does anxiety well up
And suffocate you inside?

Or do others tell you
How you feel?
Or do you
Read yourself?

If you’re literate
In your language,
How much do you
Speak to you?

More than your cellphone?
More than your email?
More than your TV?

Why do others have
More access to you
Than you?

Are you always racing
Against the clock?
Are you always running
From your thoughts?

What makes your life real? Is it what you…


How 2020 Exposed America’s Inner Alcoholic

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Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

I reject 2020 as the Year of the Rat. In my mind, there can be no question that it was really the Year of the Drunk.

To be clear, I’m not talking about liquor stores being deemed “essential businesses” during the pandemic. I’m not talking about whether or not alcohol consumption spiked in the U.S. either. It did, according to research, and previously “normal drinkers” will likely need to be treated for alcohol use disorder, but that’s not my focus.

I’m talking about emotional intoxication. It should be fairly obvious that last year’s events enabled us to very publicly manifest…


A poem about America

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Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

The curtain’s always drawn,
The show never ends.
I entered mid-scene, and I know
I can be yanked from the cast
At every moment.

So, I bleed my roles,
I overplay my hands —
Hoping I signal my allegiances,
Strong enough.
I deconstruct the disbelievers —
Tearing them from life, from limb.

I find security in my tribe.
I seek comfort in a common enemy.
My hate and my rage hold down
The fear of the cut that wells up inside.

I stick to the script, but
I forget my lines. …


Coping with the Chronic Grief of Irreconcilable Loss

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Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

If you’ve had serious, untreated mental illness within your family, then you know how difficult it is to explain the complexity of emotions to someone unfamiliar with this experience.

And, if you’re like me, you might even have difficulty articulating your own often-conflicting emotions to your therapist.

In fact, for many years, many (most) psychologists were incapable of helping families attempting to cope and the emotional repercussions of a family member developing a severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bi-polar affective disorder.

It was assumed that the mental illness had been caused by a dysfunctional family system, and the prevailing…


Context Matters More Than You Might Think

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Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

If you’ve ever struggled with addiction, then you’ve thought about what that A-word means.

I’m not just talking about Google searches and one-night, web rabbit holes into addiction. I’m talking about deep philosophical thought. You might not think you’ve engaged in armchair philosophy, but you have.

See that’s the thing about diagnoses. They convey meaning; they shape our interpretation of ourselves, our actions and our condition. Mental health or substance use diagnoses work two ways. They can feel like a cramped jail cell that constricts individual self-regard. …

Russ W

Recovering agency leader. Brand builder. Industry agnostic. MSW/EMPA Student. Writer. Thinker. Creative. Human. Hit me up: russellweigandt@gmail.com.

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