Whither the Wheel – AJD*

We endure. We get by.
We wither and die.

The ends draw us in.
The river stays dry.

The plains sing a song
of bitter lament.

The mountains think better
and will not repent.

Seasons turn, climates change.
We cry from the wheel, in vain, remain.

We endure. We get by.
We wither, and then, we die.

Youth shout foul, from rampart, from dike.
We need not sleepwalk through death’s early gate.

Change now, while we can, a sensible demand.
Don’t you see? Won’t you try? Are you dumb?

The programming is bad, but better over here.
Share power, tax wealth, leave oil underground.

Adapt, evolve. Live by the codes you proclaim.
Act like there’s a tomorrow you won’t cheat or fear.

With such sentiment, ardent appeals fire into cloud.
The braindead megaphone unwinds, yet dominates.

From alley, from wood, brave youth reemerge,
unfazed by big lies, speaking truth to your tower.

You brought hell to our earth, became your fake devil.
You took without looking. Now denial’s ascendant.

Your damaging extractions, artful justifications,
the fatal convenience of things as they are…

It’s true, we know. We see. It’s there. It’s here.
We call you out, us as well.

Patting heads, walking away, your eyes stay averted.
Proud and oblivious, you double down on the blight.

Blind bots gaslight to echo chamber: Sell, baby, buy!
Don’t dare miss out. Last drops of dream, on sale tonight.

Revolution foiled, mopping Wall Street’s tight brow,
everything’s your wake, a steamroller of greed.

Alternatives drowned in a pool of bent light,
neoliberalism’s stalking horse reaps ill-gotten heed.

Yet you glance with concern to empire’s periphery,
when the threat grows inside, no ending this history.

We endure. Some get by. A few better than others.
For now, for now.

The ends will come. And we all wither, and die.
Of course, of course.

But the wheel has a way, of turning around.

Shaking heads, youth demur. That’s not what we meant.
No to more war, the turn into carnage, barbaric descent.

We can choose an enlightened path, it’s clear, please see.
Defenders of privilege can step aside without combat.

There is still time to crush the insidious hand,
bring the walls down, open guarded vaults to all.

Then we’ll live like we should, cherishing the world,
as it turns us out, and in, through life and death.

We’ll plan for seven generations, grow with good faith,
in peace, in balance. No market for pain.

Together with science, with love and understanding,
we’ll accept all the turnings of nature’s great rings.

But first we’ll disembark your one-way killing train.

We endure, we get by.
We sprout up to the sky.

The wheel rolls over.
Birds flutter and fly.

Tracks fill in,
water of life.

Bacteria swim free,
and games start again.

AJD was once a bookseller.

*In November 2019, when covid was a baby, a customer in the city of books approached the cashiers during a lull at the start of an author event. Bemused by our inactivity, the person (possibly named Frank Pool) inquired as to our condition. I replied, “We endure. We get by.” M. Pool responded, “We wither and die.” AJD completed this polemic in difficult doggerel based on that and wished to acknowledge the assistance.

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