friday, september 3

justify yourself

a manifesto or a
meditation, an open question
many hopes seeking alignment

if it appalls you to think of life
as a market economy
think instead of a system of balances
in which the cost of any valued thing
is closer to that exacted by gravity
than the kind negotiated in
'legal tender for all debts,
public and private'

because the truth is not
that you get what you pay for
but that someone pays
for what you get

x billion years of evolution
grinding, chaotic, inconceivably wasteful,
possibility hoarding its tiny victories
over time and organic decay

the accretion of civilization:
the blood of countless martyrs
nourishing, somehow, the growth
of all this fragile complexity
on the improbable substrate of human biology

colonial economy's mass murders
imprisonments and slaveries
broken hopes and the sold out dreams
of countless emigres
later wars and genocides
industries and overflows, those dark
satanic mills

near the end of another bloodsoaked century
i am born and pass through
fields, towns, pages,
classrooms, cities, countless dreams
a moment or two of awareness
and the company of some few beloved
and at the end of a day
neither heroic nor timeless
no more evil than most
there is not the weight of
years gone, nor
the presence of all those
unlamented dead
but only the dusty lamp
and a sheet of paper on
a rickety table.

and this is as good a place to start
as any. beginnings are nearly always a function
of imagination in the same way that names
and numbers and all the forms of the visible
universe are only parts of some whole we apprehend
but a little.

tags: topics/poem

p1k3 / 2004 / 9 / 3