How to ace an abomb final: The poem that saved my high school honor roll career.

June 26, 2008 at 8:02 pm | Posted in school | Leave a comment
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Notes:

1. A mulligan is a redo
2. Curiosity killed the cat; satisfaction brought it back.
3. Charon (Greek mythology) ferried the dead to the underworld.
4. Dresden was a German city firebombed to oblivion by the Allied forces in WWII

Curiosity Killed The Cat.

1.
The little girl asked,
What is a planet?

Well, little girl, ask that club
that kicked out Pluto
like it was a drunk and bumming soul
that had no place in high society.

Science will balk,
but file a civil suit
and give Pluto back its class ring.
They are the bouncers that –
with their brass brains and reason –
stand outside the Earthbound arches
duck duck goosing answers of their choosing
to the common man
while we
Jane and John Doe
take our Flintstone vitamin C
and know what they want us to know.

Little girl ask, Who are they?

2.
At eight times the temperature of boiling water
Dresden melted.
Gusts, like clay maker’s hands,
whipped flesh into
burning human lanterns.
Not monks, and they’re screaming.

But in this world
sound doesn’t travel so fast,
so that dead hand from the past
didn’t break the graveyard dirt for years.
By then it was easy to say,
“Back then they did terrible things,
but we are better than that.
We make sure they are comfortable
before we give them a lethal injection.”

And editors,
self made history professors,
struck any record that we
weren’t sharing,
weren’t caring
that mothers were sending their sons
to kill other mothers’ sons overseas
because the men in the pinstriped suits
couldn’t agree who sets the oil prices around here.

3.
Midas meant to conquer the world with his golden fingertips,
make himself rich beyond his neighbors’ wildest dreams.
And before he knew it his garden was gold,
his food was gold,
and his daughter was as dead
as a golden statue.

And say we get that golden glove
and say we’re smarter than that,
we’re an evolved race after all.
What then? Who decides who lives and dies in gold?

4.
We search for the meaning to life
so that we can die knowing
that we have something squirrels and zebras don’t
— and it’s not altruism or Xboxes.
Let’s hope Charon accepts our answers
over of his usual fare
lest we find ourselves capsized in the river Styx
and bumming a ride back to the main land.

If Earth is a lovechild of stardust and religion
only a voice in our heads
who is there to save us but ourselves?

Learn to swim, little girl.
Dresden sure isn’t going to grant anyone redemption
at the apocalypse of our own making.
Can’t whoopsie-daisey it out of the great big book
of everything anymore like the fire they died in
was a figment of some guilt ridden veteran’s imagination.

5.
In this pursuit of knowledge
we aren’t collecting colored pies for family night trivia.
There is no “I win, you lose, let’s play again next Tuesday?”

STOP.

This endgame is for real.

STOP
and ask yourself if the answer to life might just be forty two.

6.
Because we had to know,
have to know,
what would happen if we mixed chloride with bromine,
neutrons with other neutrons,
Islam with democracy –
we won’t stop blowing things up until they stop blowing up.

There are too many stones left unturned to leave now
and forever hold our peace,
because
what IF?
is like that slut ex-girlfriend you let seduce you now and again,
fuck the consequences while you fuck her
because it feels good
and you just had to know if it ever would again.

Yeah, you better feel good
because you can’t take a mulligan,
can’t take another crack at it.

We are crack addicts of the information kind.
Every question has a question
like every Russian nesting doll has another mother inside.
Those dolls keep piling up and maybe you never find the baby.

7.
But let us talk atom bomb.
Remember Lot’s wife,
who sold her salty soul
with the flick of a look over her shoulder?
Perhaps she looked again at Hiroshima,
when some seventy thousand souls ceased to exist.
Wrong place wrong time,
once men now
not even ashes.
Chalk it up as another casualty of war.

How can we quantify the universe when we can’t even identify the corpses?

I don’t know about you, little girl,
but for some reason
I don’t quite believe that satisfaction brought anyone back.

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