Presumed innocent, we combed and showered fools
and our famous twig-twisting thumbs
begin another day,
for the 840 millionth time
awaken to our bag of stupid tools.
The pitiful ribbon of smoke rises again
from the dried leaves and hammered clay.
By late morning (it should be noted)
we are not entirely surprised
to be slapped blind, deaf, broken and dumb;
two flashes of orange, the usual ragged consequences,
a vanished child,
a bath of cooling blood,
the plodding search for comfort,
beyond the firelight’s phony, oversold defenses.
This wild ruin no longer has the effect
of removing the scales from our eyes.
The Road to Damascus is a Hope and Crosby cul-de-sac.
Stop the presses: we have wasted what was meant to be
a scouring do-over; we’ve squandered our only Flood.
Networked to hell and back, HDTV,
a silver car on Mars;
there is much gloating to do
and not much leisure time in which to do it,
you won’t have all afternoon
to patch the roof, weed the yard.
For all that we have reached this happy zenith now,
pleased as punch with our stripes and bright stars
one angry synaptic misfire + a credit card
gifts us the fleeting strength to see right through it.
Even then, it’s not as if the lesson is ours.
It’s not a truth we have the means to own,
not the narrative our forebears chose.
Despite our best efforts, our hand-holding,
our blue-helmeted peacekeeping, Audrey Hepburn,
UNICEF, NATO and Jonas Salk,
the species is a bland corpse,
a doomed ninny in bland repose
on a burned-out street, roughly outlined
with the coroner’s dime-store chalk.
A Starship Captain on a starship’s bridge,
his sleeveless metal tunic
reflecting sparks, machinery aflame,
amid a chaos of warning strobes and crashing starship alarms,
(a hopeless fantasy of what we could have been),
takes a green space babe in his soot-streaked arms.
Her tungsten tiara is askew, yes;
the hieroglyph in flamelit bas-relief.
There is cinematic fire dancing
all along the edges of the expensively appointed set,
a scene that begs a more authentic show of grief.
This ship plows down
through killing atmospheres, the hull yields
and folds and breaches, an inrush of poisoned air; and then
intercut with tragic blinking frames
of extinct fauna prancing
in overpainted, childishly rendered Elysian Fields,
the Captain’s handsome face stirs
and in a desperate attempt to touch before the crash
he fastens his Starship Captain’s mouth on hers.
She looks into his eyes. Of course.
“What is this…Earth Kiss?” she asks,
but has the wherewithal to shed a bewildered tear.
The bulkheads crack, light screams in,
heat and death flow around them like water.
“We wonder,” he says. “And the wondering has cost us dear”.