We live in a land where people crunch pre-cut cantaloupes
from plastic cups while running through airports–
no patience for ripening.

We live in a land where adults give children presents of toys
that train them to press the buttons that shoot and bomb
aliens, critters, invaders, anyone else coming towards them.
No time to look.

We live in a land where it is considered a luxury to need a car
to get to day care to get to work to get the car to get back home—
dodging other cars and trucks moving fast enough to shatter our cocoons of glass and steel—
fast enough to get back home safe and sound.
To rest.

We live so sadly alone we must take pills to keep us from killing
ourselves and other pills to stop fearing death and other pills
to stop our hearts from stopping—pills to help us outlive death.

We live in a land where men in power refusing themselves sex
steal it from children, like their own was stolen from them
as children nobody heard,
when the taboo against pedophilia
was not as strong as the silence surrounding it.

We live in a land where one arm of government passes a law
to take away the right to send a letter unread by spies,
the same year another arm passes a law
to make sure the environmental police must have a warrant
to walk on ‘your’ land to see if you are robbing people of clean water,
clean air, the right to breathe.

We live in a land that holds the image of a woman in a burqua in horror,
yet sees as statuesque, as free, the frozen stare
of near-naked, near-starving model-images.

We live in a land where the idea of saving downtown is to subsidize a mall,
using public money to enclose public functions in private property,
so we can separate shoppers with money from the hungry and the desperate,
from the men who need alcohol and drugs to stop themselves from killing themselves
or who do it more slowly, let it ripen in full view of the street.

But the streets are nearly empty now in the shadow of the mall,
the city mall wrapped in a parking garage three times its size,
where shoppers buy plastic-coated plastic and shove it in plastic shopping bags
in flagrant pseudo-opulence.

We live in fear that someone will take from us
what we have been taking from the world:
Power, wealth, beauty, innocence,
fruit before it is ripe,

our way of life.


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