Poem: Graduation by Mark Tulin


At your graduation,
I clapped
when your name
was called.
I remembered
how proud I was to
receive that rolled-up
diploma written in Gothic font.

I collected
a family of sheepskins,
thought it would bring happiness,
but all it got me were
luxury cars,
tacky designer clothes
and a bigger and bigger house
to store all my vanity in.

It was all a vicious delusion,
society’s definition of success,
a hamster’s spinning wheel.

I was tired of the endless grind,
the need to impress, to sell myself,
so I stopped appeasing it.

I began a journey of humility
and simplified my life.
I re-evaluated adulthood
and where I wanted to go.
I found it without searching,
without the need to acquire more.


I am an author, poet, humorist, and short story writer from Palm Springs, California. I write about various topics, from my early childhood in Philadelphia to my years as a family therapist and finally to my soul-searching in California. These are poetic narratives that may have humorous or serious content or both. Either way, I hope my poetry and stories resonate with you.

15 comments on “Poem: Graduation by Mark Tulin

  1. -@thesoulfulempathizer

    Such an eternal learning!

  2. loved the last stanza…

  3. Mark, I am so taken with the whole poem. Beautifully written and so honest to what so often
    happen to us. I so share your feeling and your third stanza says it so strongly.

    The journey when you leave this ” hamster’s spinning wheel” is so much more exciting and also
    gives true satisfaction.
    Thank you

  4. So true,we all fall for that illusion but we manage to break free then the real life and learning starts.

  5. Laura Denise

    I never hopped on that wheel, but my adult son is currently on it. I pray for him to find the desire to simply stop; only then can the room settle into focus, the dizziness within come to a calm.

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