These highlights and notes are taken from Josh Cohen’s article in The Economist, “Minds Turned to Ash”. I was moved by the piece. I want you to read the piece. This is probably 80% stolen, but it’s 100% translated.
What I am trying to do is translate this into a poem, to do some emotional summing up that does justice to the undertow of feeling that characterizes ‘burnout’.
Do not mistake me for the character in the poem. I have felt ‘burnouty’ at times but have always avoided becoming a noun. The original essay made me feel. It was in an unexpected place, The Economist. It caught me off guard. The work is derivative but also original. Go out and rip off an article. Make it yours by making it a poem. It feels very real to me. A translation into a reality I have not fully owned. I feel like I do now.
In my dream
The 5.30am alarm went off.
I switched it off
Will I have to do anything ever again?
burrows into every corner
by dueling dominatrices of email and Facebook.
I am in the psychitrist’s anteroom, a pre-Hell,
Burnout is not just a symptom of working too hard.