One hundred people in a room

Speak in a deafening drone

But all I can hear are my thoughts,

Vehemently fighting, crying, screaming


Seventy-five people in a room

Dance to the hypnotic rhythm

But my fleeting feet take me away

From the harrowing ringing in my ears


Fifty people in a room

With ninety-eight hands intertwined

But my trembling hands are alone,

Nervous fingers clinging to the hot air


Twenty-five people in a room

Breaths are dangerously soft, even

But my throat closes and I choke,

My lungs close their creaky gates


Ten people in a room 

Glance, see, observe

But I see white blots amidst nihility

Though those stars die and I am blind


One person in a room

Merely existing, alive without life

But exhalations are ragged and tears flow,

Cries are hoarse and muscles convulse


Not one person in a room

Nothing but the hollow air to fill it

Not a soul in sight, not even I

Though perhaps I was never there before


What is happiness?

There are questions as old as time

Ones we always ask but never answer

We often inquire: what is happiness?

More often, we scramble for a response


We say we are happy, to a world

That is impartial and conceited

We attempt to convince anyone

That has the misfortune to listen


It may be that we are shallow,

Attributing anything that sparks joy

Just for a minute or a second

To our eternal and total happiness


We attach people to our happiness 

We connect it to objects or events,

To a fictional world that we know not of

To animals that we speak not to


We create excuses to feel something

Call it happiness when we tell ourselves

We feel more alive than yesterday,

Say: “so this must be happiness”


We look for happiness in every crevice

In all the places that are absurd

And are surprised when hearts are broken,

Minds are confused and souls are wrecked


And it may be that we do not know where to look

We look everywhere but ourselves,

What has been there all along and even then

We overlook the right and find the wrong


We always seem to look but forget to see

We seem to both be able to seem

And simultaneously be utterly blind

When looking for our own happiness


We are lost in a world constantly seeking

Sailing in a lonely boat on a rocky sea

Thrashing back and forth on rough waves

Rocking from one conclusion to another


We look for a sign, an x on a map

But in this futile pursuit we forget:

Happiness is not concrete nor absolute

It warps every minute of our lives


We may never find it nor understand

The map may never lead us anywhere

But perhaps our happiness will find us

And maybe, just maybe, we may know



Our dreams can be beautiful

An ethereal mosaic of vivid colors,

Providing our dormant souls with

Tender love and earnest hope


Still our dreams can haunt,

Canvases for terror and gloom

That loom over our minds,

And puncture our hearts


Many are afraid of the imaginary:

The monsters and the ghosts,

Or of the twisted reality:

The clowns and the spiders


But what truly haunts

Is what we can never evade,

An unwanted, uninvited guest 

That never leaves before taking


The agonizing shrieks of insanity

Plague as they hysterically beg

And he is the thief, his cruel hands

Stealing the unarmed mortal soul


The deafening silence of seclusion

Daunts as it asks to be left alone

Till the greedy fingers slowly strangle

And leave their polluted mark


The warm bloodshed of cold murder

Unnerves as humanity betrays itself, 

With him maniacally puppeteering 

Observing consciousness melt with pain


And so I do not fear a spider nor a ghost

I fear the one dealing our cards,

The eternal opponent of life,

For he knows the game all too well


One thought on “Poems by Antonina Rousskikh

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