I accumulate things.

Just probably

not the same things.


We’re raised to believe

that accumulating things

will make us happy.







When we accumulate these things

we are living a full life

and everyone around us can see it

and then they aspire

to accumulate the same things

in the same way

with the same hopeful outlook


that somehow happiness

is attainable

even though

it’s mostly out there

just beyond reach

with its first class flights

and diamond necklaces.


How could anyone be unhappy when

they’re surrounded by fine things?

Things they’ve accumulated

as the result of playing a game

by the same rules as everyone else –

a game where

the hungriest lions win.


Only, I’m learning that

in order to accumulate these things

you must first accumulate wealth

and to do that

means surrendering a moment

for a future moment

to close a deal

or make a deadline

to get a leg up.

To win.


I tried this route.

It’s exhausting.

And slow to come

for an observant person

slow to give in

to the idea

that there’s actually something

more important

than a moment.



that’s what I accumulate

like fireflies in a jar.

Each day



and releasing


to keep my jar empty

for the next day.


Jim Mitchem

YOU are what's wrong with America
Fire Drill

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.