The new century is wearing in like a shoe,
all the tunes in the news are familiar:
compliments of well over one billion
grandsons and daughters of toil who eschewed
the satanic mill and cloddish plot
in favor of more genteel, white-collar jobs.
Having fulfilled at last their dream of living
in file-cabinetlike, digitalized cities,
they obviously now value stability—
of life, of standards—above all other things.
And a rock-bottom stability—“centipedal” in quality—
has steadily crept into every nook in the polities
to the sum of their aureate mediocrity.
In full control of every possible sector,
they exercise also the function of censors
within the various mediocracies:
only sanitized, cliché-ridden accounts
of harsher realities go the rounds
of general publics either naïve or complicit.
We are told little and shown even less
of the other five-sixths who are propertyless
or almost so, and if by some twist
we do catch a glimpse of the horror
that lurks just outside our door,
we are morally shattered and ready for bed.
One is tempted to say it was not always this way,
there was a time when rage still carried the day
and indignation had not yet been defeated.
Perhaps “depleted” or “exhausted”
is the fitter word, for what has now gotten lost
had, since the beginning, held sway;
but personalities then were far more far between,
and far bigger and stronger, than they seem
able to loom over the smog screen today.
To whom to dedicate our last indignation?
The poor ape at the head of the most powerful nation?
To whom to raise a last glass of rage?
A house of commons with less member turnover
than that of peers at the house of lords?
These oversized feelings no one can afford
(among the once-happy few who remain in the clover)
will no longer buttress or shore up our culture
now that all fields have been opened to pasture.
Give barely literate masses a real opportunity
to improve their lot, to go to high school:
fortified by their number, they will uproot
all that is over their head with impunity.
But it is when they then attend college
and take part in the pogroms of knowledge
that McIgnorance dons cap and gown.
One is left with no choice but to see also
the positive side of things—although
shit be shite only till it hits the ground.