Any Millennium, #130

With the turning of the clock
the panorama looked dim,
hope for the future of man
first needing to pass zeroes,
pass superstitions. The grim
myths about the end began
as soon as those triple O’s
got creeping onto tablets.
How paranoid one can get
when the end of existence
looms ahead, no need exists
for a scrap of evidence
for the frenzy to persist.

A century gone. They locked
that foolishness in the past
and looked forward to farming
their storehouses of knowledge
from the cities, out to the vast
swaths of backwards land, charming
folk out in the provinces.
So they constructed rail
and road, worked on a scale
never before known, built up
posts along the way, staffing
them with sentries who stopped
folks for tax, on their behalf.

A century gone. They flocked
from the towns to the cities
to drop in on cathedrals
and Monseigneurs who promised
salvation from their pity,
relief from their lives crawling
in mud, taught that being kissed
by this man was being touched
by God. They came on crutches
from disappearing parcels
of land, fading property,
came to collect, to compel
giving what was guaranteed.

A century gone. The rock
that existed all those years
had crumbled, the city, felled
by its own ammunition
lays now in rubble, a queer
reminder of the shelling
of the last war, attraction
for field trips of students.
These were pillars of cement,
this was the social granite
on which families erected
generations, and so split,
even families were left wrecked.

A century gone. The mock
reenactments of battles
the books said our ancestors
won, lifetimes ago it seems
since victory’s swords rattled
over the heads of fathers
and grandfathers, the regime
is now nothing but statues
and police, sent to subdue
misfits and rabble-rousers
who demand our better days
lie ahead, not in false vows
and pandering to cliche.

Five hundred years gone. Knock knock.
Who’s there? A torn down rusty
landscape, and a new army
made up of youthful soldiers
who’re shimmying off the dust
of their history, the farm
and the city. They prefer
to look forward and steal
both the bank and the wheel
of state, elect themselves kings
and queens, declare any coot
past twenty on the downswing
and eligible to shoot.

Six hundred years. The Unlocked
Century, rife with artwork
and free expression, a brief
sighting of the potential
achieved when they freed quirky
people, when the tired chiefs
were weeded out, left to lull
in shadows. But all too soon,
the revolting masses, doomed
to wake up, to eat themselves
like asinine cannibals
began tagging as Devil’s
work, anything fulfilling.

Seven hundred years. The schlock
they had replaced the art with,
replaced the leaders with, faux
history from faux textbooks
belies a costlier myth
than any raped farm below
their feet. What the pavement looks
to hide needs to stay hidden,
less the truths, long forbidden,
seep out between the cracked streets
and bubble up to suggest
the ones they’ve become, sit, meet
those ancestors you detest.

One more century gone. Locked
down in the books and in song,
wild flamboyant style
ruled the roost as all forgot
the calm and sunny days long
since past, city days piled
up and wiped out, the regret
for none of it, remember
none of it, not an ember
exists to remind people
of much past this last epic.
Somewhere there’s a sheep and wool
still being sheared. An old trick.

The last century. The clock
ticks down to nothing, all toys
have been broken and a fear
spread of zeroes, of turning
over a new page, destroyed
destroyed, surely soon all here
would be destroyed. So severe
the paranoia, they turn
off all lights and hide, and spurn
their neighbors, loved ones, suspect
who comes, to steal their stores
of food. New Year’s. Resurrect
an army. Start a new war.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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