Einstein lamented, #230

From the outset the challenge
was to raise the consciousness
and race up off the tarmac
of our thinking, even before
tarmacs or tar existed,
countless contraptions
of men strapped in obviously
ill designed machines.
But before we could worry
about carpet bombing cities,
much work still needed
to be accomplished,
rain forests to be forested
and light, unfathomably
light wings hooked onto
gargantuan engines
that needed first to lift
themselves and their fuel
before their payload could be
jettisoned over the still
to be built modern cities.
The prop propeller that lifted
two farmers off the launch pad.

Societies like airplanes
and caskets draped with flags,
enjoy coffins shipped back
from what will be
the great wars of this
or any century. So much
that we must be on the march
of technology. And if our airpower
is not enough, or the enemy
invents a gas to throw
at our coming hordes
then we will filter it through
our great and sieved
minds to come up
with some cover that lets in
the oxygen but not
the new ideas of the enemy,
a mask called nostalgia
for a time and place
when we couldn’t see
and didn’t have to live with
all the crazies and fanatics
who’ve grown to hate me.

Though the ups and down
of life could get you down,
with all the wars and foreigners
coming across the border,
with life on a string
one can’t help to carry on
bringing the yo-yo along,
hand carved wood
on two spindles and a string,
countless hours when you
should be rocking the baby
to sleep or walking the dog.
As the stock markets
rise with the promise
your parents made
to leave the old times
in the old country
and you look forward
to a new day,
on might say the wonder
of entertainment is enough
to keep you occupied
for the better part
of this lavish life.

When you leave, close the door
please, turn off all the lights
and leave quietly.
We will be keeping
the shiny new ballpoint pen
we gave you as a tool
to do the job we no longer
need you to do. Please ask
no questions about food
or profit or how great fortunes
of wealth can simply
disappear. Please
do not allow petty
differences with your spouse
to cause you to lose
that too. Take it in stride.
We’ll be back one day,
hire you back at one tenth
the salary and one tenth
the size, automate
the majority of processes
that took a mind, so you can
punch holes in walls and cards.

Work too late, sleep too late,
don’t get up in time to eat
anything that would help build
a lick of useful muscle,
and so, the microwave oven
comes along to let you
spend less time in the kitchen
and more on the couch
getting slow and lazy,
slave to the TV that blares
in front of you, irradiates
all your senses and leaves you
a bubbling mess. The medal
you tried to hold onto sparks
and causes anguish
and dies a slow death.
Same technology they used
to make the bombs,
cure disease, what melted
chocolate and the brain stem
of a scientist passing by it.
Einstein lamented his role
in it from the beginning.

Now that physical activity
if unnecessary and all the good
jobs require a thoughtful brain
and a weak back, you can sit
back in the front seat of your
muscle car and let radial tires
roll beneath you, roll you
out of the restaurants
and down blue highways
passed attractions the promise
the worlds biggest, fattest,
slowest whatever. Look here,
in this giant tin can puffing smoke,
a man who believes that work
will win out and that the powerful
will someday come to realize
how valuable a good man
with a strong work ethic
can be to a company’s long term
plan. Roll on down that path
and see what riches it brings,
what empty diamond minds
and dusty lunged coal factories.

In the heat of autumn’s hot
races, they found a way
to tarnish even the purest
of old time American sports
while trying to build a home
for whiny players who can’t
stand the heat, business men
whose polyester would stretch
and stink in the Texas heat.
For a generation, astroturf
stretched from sea to shining
sea, anywhere one didn’t feel
like paying for grounds crew
or weeds, great chunks of carpet
pulled up over the concrete
to soften last centuries inventions.
Not until the last days of autumn,
when they are playing games
on the finely mowed grasses
of the Bronx and Fenway
does it cool down enough
to let plastic feel at all
like the dank mud drenched earth.

It’s all one
and zero, this universe
akin to nothing but its creator
and its current benevolent rulers,
the twin suns of necessity
and lazy, ingenuity
and imagination. Nothing
that can be created
can not be created
and so pay
whatever price
is suggested and never
argue about the goal. But
the ones and zeros
that zip across the screen,
that allow the people
to reach out and approximate
what it felt like so long ago
to be linked like fingers
on a hand and hands
on a body, like long
slow hands on a clock
ticking on, and ticking.

It was not enough
that we needed to get bigger
if we were to live longer,
using the redwoods
as suggestions for how
your height could lead
to a long and fruitful life.
But instead, we sent
our scientists to concoct
an elixir of life,
a human growth hormone
to keep at bay
the slow fattening
and dying, the all too short
end of an all too short life.
In the anger of the moment
at the limits of pharmaceuticals
we could hear the records
all being broken, and still
could not bring ourselves
to give kudos to the chemists
and the trainers who made
these muscle bound freaks.

Keep it up. Keep building
on the last great invention,
the last great empire,
the great lost erection
of building a place
in place of altars
where our ancestors
would slaughter virgins
and the unfaithful. Not us,
we would never settle
on such limits as this.
We will invent. For us,
viagra, that ultimate trial
and tribulation, an outdated
impotent man who despite
being taken off the roster
and put out to pasture
can still, with the help
of his wits, pretend to be
something he is not,
young and virile
and potent. Good
to the last drop.

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

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