Tuesday, February 15, 2011

‘Brains Bashed in by Sledgehammers’ by Antler

“It all boils down to jobs,”
          the Secretary of State told
                     the American Public in answer
          to why we must go to war.
Threat of shutdown hovers over your factory.
Fear of layoff ulcers your office.
Job security erodes
           at all levels of the job ladder.
Firms can’t be expected to promise
           a raise in salary every year.
The thought of longer vacation time
           is out of the question.
Psychiatric megaclinics have no choice but urge
           displaced workers overqualified for
                      dead-end low-paying part-time jobs
           cash in their retirement money.

The banker’s mistress fears she looks worse
           after liposuction.
The developer’s call-girl jeers at the environmentalist—
           “Ten years ago you were yelling—
                      ‘We’ve only got ten years to save the Earth!’”
The executive’s prostitute likes her Caribbean cruise,
           even if most of the time looking at scenery
                      there was a big cock in her mouth.
The professor lectures his students
           who faithfully record each word—
                      “Like the laws of physics,
           the laws of economics can’t be broken,
                      whether sloths loathe lathes no matter,
           whether Bushmen only work 15 hours a week no matter.”

The astronomer wears a suit and tie
           even when alone at night at the telescope.
The thought the Solar System is so big our Earth compared to it
           is as an atom compared to the Earth,
The thought some Galaxies are so big our Galaxy compared to them
           is as an atom compared to the Earth,
The thought how do we know the Universe wasn’t formed complete
           just last night with all our supposed memories,
Do nothing for him:  45 years ago, yes,
           but now he pays them no mind.
Now all he sees is his son who hates him and who he hates
           juggling three jobs to study poetry
                      so he can write things like:
           there are more planets with Utopias on them
                      than all the beheaded heads in history,
           or this Universe is just an alveolus
                      in the lung of a lungfish
           in another dimension.

10 miles away in another city an 8th grader
           writes above the urinal—
                      “Show hardon for blowjob.”
100 miles away a welfare bum is interrogated
           for stealing a wallet.
1000 miles away a soldier tries to push his intestines back in
           but it doesn’t work.
2000 miles away the owner-of-the-owners-of-100-factories’ day
           is spoiled discovering benefits for workers
                      are cutting into profits.
           How to get more out of them for less?
3000 miles away Eskimos must sell their wilderness
           or set up the oil rigs themselves:
                      how else can their young men make money?
Every day more and more Americans feel they won’t be happy
           till poets quit complaining and get a job.
Antler, from Milwaukee, offers $10,000 reward
           to anyone who can disprove his work.

(published in Permafrost, vol. 17, 1995)

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