Achieving Greatness

There are so many great people in this world,

So many who have made it.

Like great war generals and presidents,

public heroes celebrated throughout the years.

I wonder, did they want to be great?

Did their hard work and persistence pay off?

Because there are so many people who aren’t remembered,

so many Marys and Davids and Betty Lous

Who were here like all of us are here,

But did not make it.

Did they want to be great?

Did their hard work and persistence just not pay off?

Everyone thinks they’re so special, and that they’ll make it someday.

But the truth is, everyone doesn’t make it.

Everyone isn’t successful.

If everyone made a name for themselves,

If everyone was remembered,

All of our history textbooks would be quite thicker.

So who am I to say that I will be remembered?

Who am I to say whether I’ll make it or not?

Because chances are, I will end up being like all of the untold millions

Who lived, achieved greatness, but not enough to be noticed, and died.

Who can say if I’ll be remembered at all?

Sometimes I think that there are just too many people in the world.

I’m not different enough.

I’m betraying him.

I should enjoy it because I am supposed to be a part of it.

You chose the wrong culture, Joanna.

You’re betraying your country.

My country? They’re both my countries. Two of them are, but not all three. Well the third one is supposed to be my country, and none of the others are, yet the ones that aren’t supposed to be mine are mine.”

I don’t work the way I’m supposed to. I would actually be fine with things that I am supposed to react differently to.

I’m too different.

I don’t fit into the misfits.

Well they’re supposed to be the misfits.

But then again. I hope I’m not the only one.

I’m not reacting the way I shouldn’t not react.

I pretend like I’m different, like I’m unique, but most of the time, I’m overestimating myself.

I don’t deserve this title.

No, I won’t let this title control the way I react.

I won’t let it take over the way I am.

Things That Are Very Still

There is a kind of magic in things that are very still.

Things that don’t move at all.

Things that make you stare.

Things that are just there,

Surrounded by a silent call.


Like footprints in the snow that aren’t supposed to be there,

Like a portrait of a woman who died long ago,

A frozen frame of time, that you’ve disrupted,

Yet no matter how hard you try, can never be a part of.


Like chairs and potted plants,

And chess pieces scattered across the table-top.

Things that are about to fall over,

Yet always because of some mysterious force, do not.


I am an intruder, forgive my trespassing,

I know not the language that you speak.

For I breathe, and move and live,

Unlike you, who simply thinks.


Thinks about me, thinks about you,

Smiling secretly through it all,

Thinks of things that are just there,

Not really knowing what to do.


But what I think the chairs,

The sofas the plants,

What they know,

Is that







“So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one, in the end-not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend.

We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart.

Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall.

You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.”

-Excerpt from “Joyas Voladores” by Brian Doyle