a simple life


A home overlooking Lake Folsom in El Dorado Hills

It’s a simple life, an easy life,
in El Dorado Hills.
Where cookie-cutter houses sit,
on cookie-cutter hills.
Where all the people drive to work
in fancy, shiny cars.
And all the children laugh and play
and look up to the “stars.”*

It’s a simple life, a quiet life,
in heaven’s spot on earth.
With all the fences whitely washed,
and mothers giving birth
To little ones who’ll laugh and play
and look up to the “stars,”
and grow up doing just the same,
in fancy, shiny cars.

It’s a simple life, a little life,
the one we’ve bought and sold.
Where all that matters is our health,
our riches when we’re old.
Where nothing’s to be thought, of course,
about the world outside,
for all that matters is our own,
America’s our pride.

*Stars as in celebrities

For an audio recording of this poem, click here:


Image: Google

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36 thoughts

  1. A simple life. A life where we do what we love, spend time with the people we love and don’t need to worry about our bank account running dry. It’s a life that we all want. My ideal simple life would be a time where I can wake up and write and inspire people. Take a walk outside. Play my ukulele! I notice that you don’t capitalise the first letters of the titles of yours posts…I suppose you are keeping it simple :)

    Hope you had a good weekend!

    • Yes, Mabel. Your description of a simple life is a good one. But I guess my point is that maybe we should seek more than that. Writing to inspire is good, of course. That’s what I want, too. But I also want to get my hands dirty and dig deep. If I could afford a flight to the Philippines to help with the disaster relief right now, for example, I would! My best writing comes from personal experience, anyway… Here where I grew up, many people never leave and never see a different point of view. I think that’s a shame. At least you have the advantage of seeing a few different countries there in Southeast Asia. That part of the world seems so far away for most Americans.

      I hope you had a good weekend, too!

  2. Jess,

    This is easily one of your greatest poems! Though it speaks a political, social, economic message which some avoid taking to heart…it nonetheless speaks the TRUTH…which is about the growing disparity of ‘classes’ in America. El Dorado Hills represents many MANY pockets in America’s suburbs. Walk ten, fifteen minutes and you’ll find the exact opposite, huh?

    Wonderful art Jess! Thank you for sharing your gift. :-)

    • Thank you, Professor. It is true that not all of the States nor even this part of California is all like El Dorado Hills. I was talking with a friend of mine from here who’s been living in Romania for the past ten years, and she said she could relate very much to this poem. Once you’ve been outside of your “home,” you can never see it in the same way again. It’s a shame to me that more people don’t get the opportunity or take the chance to see a world outside of their own. The world would be a better place if we all did!

      Thank you so much for the compliment! Hopefully I’ll come up with more poems like this one soon!

  3. Again, I agree with the Professor. The way you’ve taken such a heavy statement and disguised it in such a light and airy treatment I think reflects perfectly the ways in which we fail to take seriously the issues you raise. It is truly masterfully done, this.

    By the way, I was thinking that it reminds me of Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby.” One of my favorite songs from the old college days…

    • Thank you, Vance. You are too kind. The light and airy tone wasn’t even intended. I wish I were that skillful. The rhythm came to me on a bike ride… And really, I didn’t mean to judge in this poem. The perspective I gained while abroad is something that most people who’ve never left have a difficult time grasping. They don’t see their world as small. It’s their world. You would have a better time understanding this than most thanks to your experiences in Argentina.

      And that’s a great song, Vance! I hadn’t listened to it in a long time. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Love it! a simple life makes me think about things lost and found and culture accepted and forgotten. Look at the stars! Anyone, no matter their status can do that with the same awe and wonder. The fancy, shiny cars can be a little difficult to grasp though. Wonderful work. I like the rhythm and cadence. a simple life has flow. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, Matt. It’s funny, since living abroad I view everything at home with new eyes. The world I grew up in seems so small now — with everyone going in circles and just trying to keep up with the rat race, and their children ultimately doing the same. Maybe you’ll feel that way, too, if you ever return to your native land… I actually meant celebrities or movie stars by “stars.” That’s why I have them in quotes, though the stupid font I’m currently using makes that hard to see. But it’s true we all do look up the stars in the night sky, though. That is definitely something we all can relate to!

      Thank you for reading and commenting! It means a lot!

    • Haha, Carl. Yes, I perhaps did not choose the best image for this post. There are some really nice neighborhoods around here, and then they are also building a TON of new neighborhoods that *are* full of cookie cutter houses. I took a pic with my own camera but it didn’t end up looking right; thus, the picture of the fancy house.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It’s always wonderful to hear from you!

      • Sorry Jess I forgot to reply to this… No no, I can’t keep expecting you to make my site better. Plus I’m not sure if a narrated version of my stories would work?

      • Lol, no apologies needed! And I don’t know… You might sound out an intro to one of your stories, lol… Sometimes it’s fun to vary things up! But — haha — I think you’re right: With your stories, it’s not really necessary. ;)

  5. Wow. You’ve really got such a talent with poetry. I love this one on a few different levels. It makes me realize how easily I can forget the importance of what’s going on outside the world of trying to be rich and famous.

  6. Great poem Jess…you could have been talking about the west hills of my home town. Hope and happiness, the basics of a simple and great life parents want to create for their children. We are lucky to have such great opportunities, and to have parents who wanted (and did) create such a world. This is one of my favorite poems you have written. Cheers :-)

    • Thanks, Randy. This is one of my favorites, too. Yes, we are blessed. Undoubtedly. And my biggest burden is that those of us who are blessed should look outside of ourselves so that can be a blessing to others!

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