Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lemmings Teetering on the Ledge

At the top of a ten thousand foot ledge
The Zen advice is to step off the edge.

Careening down the expressway at 65
Years of industrial sludge have paved the tarmac
Leaving carcasses by the wayside, festering:
Hulking slabs of garbage, steaming
Fogging up the rear view mirror.
The ghost towns of antiquated ways
Left behind in the profit margins;
The specter of life’s compost buried
By the mounds heaped up in clearing the way
For the high efficiency onramps of industry.

Moving so fast it is hard to notice the details
The opportunities under every square foot blurred.
Eyes to the horizon, there’s no telling when we will get there
Or if there will be a pot of gold glistening when we do.
The sleepy-eyed children in the backseat are just waking
Grumbling softly, “Are we there yet?”
Miles and miles to go it looks:
When will we realize we can never get to the horizon—
Noticing how it always recedes into the distance?

Like “lemmings packed into shiny metal boxes”
We blindly clamor to the front or fall back in line
Systematically conveyed forward between wall to wall images
Promises plastered onto the sides of every stackable thing
Placed on the shelves of convenience.
All of us now queued for the slaughter
Of each one’s pet complaint or discomfort
But unwilling to look behind and smell
The remains of the innocent lambs strapped into their carseats
Inheriting the future leftover
From the violent severance caused
By the collision against the natural order.

Looking up, our feet stumble on the walkway
Nothing up there to swoop down and retrieve us from the wreckage.
Looking down, the precipitous plummet causes paralysis
—There is no bottom.
Looking ahead with the blinders on is just what we are already doing.

Just as at the beginning of time, the fall is inevitable:
Then, as now, madly beating in your chest, with all your heart place your foot forward . . .

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