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  • By Caitlin Johnstone

Beneath by Caitlin Johnstone

Don't let the fraudulence of this civilization eclipse the supernova of authenticity hidden just beneath that thin membrane.

Don't let the vapid artificiality of mainstream culture cause you to miss the weird magic of life as it actually is.

Don't let the barrage of advertisements screaming "THIS IS NEVER ENOUGH" distract from the symphony of joy in your cells at simply being alive.

Don't let the nonstop corporate messaging that you are ugly conceal from you your radiant beauty.

Don't let the Valentine's Day products from Hallmark steal the spotlight from our wide open hearts and our roaring passion.

Don't let the authoritative dronings of the imperial pundits mask the fact that they are babies made of mysteries and stardust.

Don't let the feigned confidence of the people around you trick you into thinking that any of us really knows anything.

Don't let all the buildings and billboards make you forget that no matter where you go you are always in the thick of nature.

Don't let the deluge of lies and propaganda cause you to lose sight of the fact that they are trying to pour concrete over a bottomless abyss of truth.

Don't let the footsteps marching to the beat of the imperial drum drown out the ancient song at the heart of consciousness.

Don't let this civilization's insistence that you are finite delude you into missing your own boundlessness.

Where it seems like there is an absence of depth, there are depths that couldn't be explored in a thousand lifetimes.

Where it appears that there is an absence of truth, truth hides just behind the eyes which perceive this.

There are galaxies hidden in supermarket aisles. There are universes hidden in parking lots.

Just beneath the superficial phoniness, there's a reality that is older than the stars.

Just beneath the capitalist tedium, there's an endless fountain of amazement.

Just beneath the collective psychosis, there's an oddly familiar sanity.

Just beneath the indoctrinated familiarity, a real encounter is waiting to happen.

Just beneath the hopelessness of our current plight, a great power is cracking a smile.

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz. Her collection of poems is entitled Poems for Rebels.


Feb 06, 2023

An anti-advertisement? A commercial for the uncommercial?

I want a poem that takes us away from the marketplace altogether.

You see, so poisonous is all that nonsense that even its very rejection contaminates.

David Gosselin
David Gosselin
Feb 06, 2023
Replying to

One would be tempted to agree with your point about a commercial for the non-commercial. Indeed, this is a useful and friendly reminder.

On the other hand, Caitlin seems to have developed her poetic voice to a level of genuineness and authenticity such that it really does resound as the genuine sovereign voice for delivering this message. That it addresses the fakery and speaks to some of the worse contemporary trends and because it does so dates itself, so be it. As others observed, it does need to be said and Caitlin seems to have the right voice to say it.

It is thus totally warranted and necessary, in my opinion.

I could imagine such things played on the radio…


Feb 06, 2023

Some try to gain wealth by suppressing the natural beauty of the body.

Others try to gain power by suppressing the natural liberty of the soul.

Dean Z Douthat


Feb 06, 2023

This is thought-provoking and has many striking lines about the way in which the forces of capitalism and consumerism can lead us away from our true selves, which lie beneath and beyond all the products we are being continually told we need in order to make us beautiful. It urges us to focus less on products and more on our own authenticity, on staying real, and having real encounters with other people. All very good Caitlin, but is this poetry? I think so. I think the task of any true poet is to remind us that the power to be beautiful lies within ourselves, and that beauty and truth are not readily bought in supermarkets. But maybe in a book…

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