The study of the human mind
hasn’t always been kind
to our four-legged friends

but experiments
that could not be conducted today
were not without their wisdoms.

Phase One

Inspired by Pavlov, Seligman
wanted to test classical conditioning,
but instead of salivation, 
he wanted depression.

The dogs were strapped to harnesses.
At the ring of a bell, an electric shock
was delivered to their bodies
they were powerless to stop.

Over time, at the ring of that bell,
Seligman took note of the dogs,
ears low, tail sagging, laying down whimpering
before the shock would hit.

Phase Two

Depressed dogs now unharnessed
were placed in a large crate
with a low barrier dividing it in two.
On one side of this barrier, the floor
was wired to administer more shocks,
but the other side,
nothing more than a simple leap away,
was safe.
At the ring of the bell,
these dogs just stood there and took it.

They had learned
                  if you try to run
there is no escape
                  if you try to bark
there is no escape
                  if you try to fight
there is no escape
                  if you try to save yourself…
There. Is. No. Escape.

Control Group

Then a second group of dogs
was brought into the mix,
placed directly in the crate
when a bell would ring
and they’d be shocked from the floor.

                                                                        These dogs quickly learned
                                                                        how a simple leap
                                                                        over a really small barrier
                                                                        at the sound of a bell
                                                                        delivered them from harm.


When life teaches you
that you are fucked
no matter what you do,
you just kinda stop trying.


I see her texting on her phone
    We go a day without saying hello
            She doesn’t care anymore
        She still smiles
                Kindness isn’t attraction
            Asks me how my day is
                    These are not signals
                    she was never into you
                    you’re desperate to feel important
                    this is all the two of you will be

She’s never had her phone on the floor before
yet I’ve seen it twice today.
The other side must mean something,
a place I may never be.

Or am I just projecting doom
on answers I’ll never know
if I never venture to ask?
A simple leap of faith.

No, I’m afraid of the rejection,
afraid of exposing myself again
afraid of trying to feel happy, content,

And I’m afraid I’m hearing bells.