Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Poem: "The City"

I come from a southern city
Of steamy sunlight,
Women in jeans too tight
Always ready for a quick line
And a hard stare from men
Who’ve mastered macho though little more.

I come from a place for men,
A place for women
To mass-market bodies made firm
For the purpose despite dangers
Of selling disease along with their desperation:

The fear of going unnoticed tends to conflict
With welling fears of diminishing expectations,
Making prey seem more attractive
While the fear of being unique
Or different overwhelms a quest for individuality.

                Robotic insecurity
                Cosmetic necessity
                Automatic insincerity
                Homogenic perpetuity

The fear of being alone in the unfathomable marketplace
Collectively called the human race.

I come from a southern city where it’s a way of life
To push one’s way through lines in stores,
And strife without compassion or pity
Drives many on these shores
To travel with a forty-five
Behind tinted-glass doors
Seeking conspicuous anonymity.

It may be sunspots; it could be the moon
Or the heat and humidity forming thunderstorms
Each afternoon; the lack of trees,
Thick air without cooling breeze,
Whatever the cause it’s madness all the same.

You’ve got to be strong to evade that game
Of marketing yourself through rules
Learned exclusively from the tube.

You’ve got to be strong if you hope to break away
From those shallow trenches in which insight-less
People stay lifetimes, lived exclusively in tune
With visions from the tube.

Be warned it’s not easy
Going it alone without shared
Experiential knowledge of queasy
Reactions to having one’s mind pared 
While the ability to think is being devoured
By tens of millions of audiovisual machines
Stared into hour after hour.

Define this friendly hostile town
Turn international city
Somewhat between culturally sterile
And hyperbalically churning intensity,
Both bay-water still yet churning
With multicultural complexity.

City of the sun so sensuous,
Its people possessed of myriad desires
While their lifelines grow continually more tenuous.

Its race-paced lifestyle ever inspires
Increasing consumption of resources – so strenuous
To the complex ecosystem survival requires.

In this southern city of the sun
With steamy atmospheric magic
Men and women naked without a gun
Become a paradigm of tragic trends
Wrought with tell-a-vision clarity:

Power fused, sans logic, with machismo,
Perverse passion reverts to hatred
As chaotic ethnicity explodes delusions
Of multicultural harmonic tranquility.  

 [Written in 1991, published in "A Voice in the Void" 2002]

It still seems relevant today. Perhaps more than ever?