1 August 2005
Miles and miles and miles of pavement.
A convertible whizzes past
moving at ninety miles per hour.
The sky hints it's going to rain.
The fabrication of reason
like a worm is wiggling its way
down the shaft of self-awareness.
It's woven into fairy tales,
biographies, pop histories,
a standard in curricula,
hidden by conservative cries
of too much post-modernism.
The reality is different,
and they full well know it. They've won
on every single battlefield.
Another millionaire hate jock
blares over the car radio.
Bigots both attack and embrace
the post-modern agenda. Irony,
I know, but they are just as relativistic
when it comes to interpreting the facts.
They claim Truth and also that there is none.
If their heroes are found to have raped their slaves
then they scream liberal academics,
changing the subject with great glee.
If genetics say we are all the same,
then they babble about the Bible
telling dark stories of Abel and Cain.
First they reject evolution,
then discover intelligent design.
Intelligent design, now there's a twist,
as if a God with half a brain
would have produced this interstate.
At times like this I am left searching
across the space of social intercourse
trying to find a clue, some small reason.
Searching in the rubble of then,
racing across the space of now:
Will we find it in Nazi Germany,
Rwanda, the rape of Nanjing,
or any number of villages
in Bosnia or the Sudan?
Perhaps we should look in Iraq,
or search America's prison yards,
or the battered women's shelters.
Perhaps the genocidaires know.
Perhaps we should speak to that man
riding inside the red pickup
wearing the Confederate battleflag
and ferociously changing lanes.
What about rationality?
Should we attempt to track it down?
Can we find it in the personal ads?
Where does it make its appearance?
At what age do they enter the source code?
I can only reason that it is God,
lean forward and peer through the windshield,
and search the skies sideways for signs.
The sky is grayblack and changing.
Somewhere in the distance a hurricane
is taking form in the churning waters.
The human storm is everywhere.
Why is it that economists
never see the approaching storm
or even the raging wildfires
in their own backyards but reason
that the disorder of their time
is completely reasonable?
Perhaps they are the innocent
who have inherited the Earth.
In the meantime,
on the freeway the red pickup,
battleflag and machismo,
bears down on that convertible
who rudely cut him off,
mere moments after he had done the same,
ready to smash atoms into atoms,
and send the world to Kingdom Come.
The night before convertible
had an argument with his wife
who packed her clothes and the two kids
into a mini-van and left "for good"
after saying she was fed up
with dealing with his stuff,
including the occasional beating,
of both the verbal and physical types,
which she had long endured, in part,
because as a child she had been abused,
unloved, swallowing deeply self-hatred,
the light had gone out of her eyes,
and only now finding liberation
in telling him where to stick it.
An unseen flash detonated
in his brain/body chemistry
propelling him down the freeway,
while in a prison in Baghdad
unspeakable acts continue
under the pretext of freedom.
The human animal
is not a goal centered being
but an ocean, sometimes stormy
and trapped inside the bigger storm
that is sometimes called civilization.
Our thoughts, our words, our poetry
a long series of whoops and wows,
a search for commitment,
food, shelter, transcendence, love
and sometimes none of the above.
And as for civilization,
great men, great books, the founding fathers,
it makes for very convenient stories
to program children at bedtime
but the truth remains, our present world
was constructed from rapes, thefts,
tortures that lasted through lifetimes
and which the good citizens validated.
Isn't it time to admit that reason
exists only in the imagination?
© 2005, Satya J. Gabriel