A prose poem
The picture is all too obvious today, only no one can really see it.
No one really wants to see it. They’ve been blinded by the false light of the fake dreams they’ve been made to have. Everywhere you turn you see the same face, not unlike the one you see in the mirror, asking the same question that you can never really hear, never mind answer.
Behind each aspect of life lurks the same menacing smirk, all asking the same question and demanding the same price, smiling snidely with a forced cheerfulness while collecting its terrible price for the meaningless gifts with which it has inveigled the passengers on this train of life to keep from screaming when they realize their ultimate destination was nowhere, only they were charged a high price for the trip and now are left wondering where the money went. And also where they are.
The money, the media, the medicine, the movies. Writing yourself into a script that was written for you by people you did not know and thinking it was your own choice. As the government and the media merged reality into one single slanted narrative, the people were slowly put to sleep, and molded into silent army of sleepwalkers who simply did what they were told as long as they got their bonuses that kept them from objecting to the terrible things they were forced to do. Meaningless things. Cruel things. Complex puzzles they were made to solve that they thought would make them happy that they never really finished by the time the train left the station without them.
And though it all seemed new and shiny as time passed everyone began to realize it was same story day after day where people thought they were in control of their lives only to wind up with nothing at they exact point they thought they had everything.
As everyone marched toward the opulent elegance that had been planted in their minds as their goal, the quality of their lives began to erode into an artificial imitation of what a good life should be. Their children turned against them. Their dreams turned into tasks. Their goals were never met because they weren’t real to begin with. At the end of the road they wound up in a building they hated in a body that no longer worked amid people they didn’t know. And they asked themselves incessantly what went wrong.
Outside the unwashed window in the trees with stubby branches turning black from the flakes of schmutz that flittered down from a turbid sky came the memory of a form that had to be filled out that somehow had been lost. It was the same story repeating eternally that comprises all lives lost to a reality is never really real and wrong answers to tests that can never be retaken.
All this time the story has been the same, repeating vomitously throughout gray days of numb remorse. What could have been the answer seemed to parse the words in the noise of the traffic outside the house. It was all too clear but unintelligible, and the shadow of this doubt interfered with our sleep.
What we did to other people had been done to us without our noticing. It made us who we are. Whatever happened to them is of no consequence now. It was inevitable that what we did to them is now what is being done to us.
All societies have been destroyed by this same corrosive force. The forces of hope are always undone by bribery. It is a game the thoughtful cannot win.
Each time the prize was stolen. Those who stole it gained the victory. Those who earned it and lost it learned to fight again. Or they sat back down in the corner and let their speech impediment mature.
Society is like an injured prodigy, imagining the operatic ecstasy as it dwindles to a furtive chant in an empty room at sunset.
The whole scenario with all its panoplies and embargoes will need to be rebuilt, inevitably, repetitively, instinctively, the way life unfolds in the morning with the need to brush your teeth and try not to remember where you were the last time you saw her.
There was freedom at stake in all these gambles, but you had to be to work at seven and had no time to reconsider.
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, constantly trying to figure out why we are destroying ourselves, and pinpointing a corrupt belief system as the engine of our demise. Solely dependent on contributions from readers, please support his work by mail: 6871 Willow Creek Circle #103, North Port FL 34287 USA.