It is a strange time, he said to me.
No one can question that.
Daily life goes on,
but against a fractured background.
Trust is naive, wouldn’t you say?
And our imagined, much lauded future
for a long time’s been little more
than a broken puzzle.
Problems have mounted, wouldn’t you say?
A pile of firewood just waiting for a match?
our greatest mystery, the carousel
one day started turning backwards
and the calliope kept drowning
itself in its own garbled song,
and when we looked into them
the mirrors found for us
terrific belief and a fabulous,
riderless dark horse that might save us
as we rode in circles, grasping his mane.
Indeed, in such a world no one
is truly safe or sound, don’t you think,
and we are tired, but not too tired to fight.
Wouldn’t you say it’s the others,
their desperate denials and illusions
that have become our fondest beds?
Why should those other refugees
get all the attention? What about
the rest of us, don’t you think?
I promise, all too soon
the anxiety will find you out, too.
Don’t you see how even now
someone may be coming to shoot at us?
Thankfully, we have our rights to violence
and here we are, as if in a dream,
though the carousel retreats beneath us into space.
We, the martyrs, are always destined to
fall and shatter like glass,
unknown, poor us, on the acid sea.
Isn’t this what your terrorists have done? he proposed.
Driven us out of fact, shrivelled us away
from anything at all to count on?
Rise then your patriotic banner and shout –
for that is all that will protect you.
Look askance at those different than yourself.
Hope to have more money and another loaded gun
by the end of the year. Play this lottery, won’t you?.
Keep your head down and teach your children
to chant their prayers in darkness,
condemning the enemy because
it’s truly not our fault.
At that, he turned to me and asked –
without a trace of bitterness at all –
Don’t you think it’s time to finally
wake up this world?
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