Walking around San Francisco this afternoon, I was considerably overwhelmed by the contrast between rich and poor. It broke my heart to watch the crowd apathetically glide past the homeless, the deranged and the naked, some of whom were literally screaming out for help. The rumbling construction work, signs of growing wealth, only served to further highlight the inequality.
The piece below is my way of venting the deep despair and pessimism that I felt. I am neither Anarchist nor Luddite; this is just me setting aside frameworks and ideologies for a while and calling the chaos as I saw it.
How We Say Thank You
Our Mother, the Earth, cradled us into life,
nourishing us with her primordial soup,
nurturing us through our evolutionary genesis.
When we came of age, we offered our gratitude –
by stabbing our Mother with spades and drills,
repeatedly and methodically as a psychopath would,
and making merry with her shattered entrails.
Her black blood we siphoned; pumped from stab wounds,
channelled into our ravenous industrial arteries.
We fashioned cement buildings from her carcass,
and plunged them into holes where flesh once lay.
Our fetish unquenched, we unsutured her corpse,
shoved rods and wires into her open lacerations,
and poured hot black tar all over her green skin.
This was our way of saying: thank you Mother!
Our Friends, the animals, once frolicked with us,
side-by-side, taking turns on our green playground,
rolling the dice in our collective game of evolution.
When we won the game, we offered our gratitude –
by skinning some of our Friends and roasting the rest,
decimating their homes and destroying their families.
At times, we shot at them and watched them scamper,
(like molesters leering at their gagged victims),
snatching them from their mothers without remorse,
until, without trial, we summarily executed them.
Their bodies we dragged home; to grill over a fire,
or decapitate and embalm as spoils of our prowess.
Some whom we spared, we threw into steel cages,
for our children to point and laugh at on Sundays.
Yet others we forced to mate with their neighbors,
so we could package their children into containers,
to peel, open and devour in the comfort of our homes.
This was our way of saying: thank you Friends!
Our Relatives, fellow members of the human race,
peers in our conquests, plunders and progress,
compatriots in the relentless rise of mankind.
When it came time to share the abundance,
we offered our gratitude, and true to our nature –
decided that we wanted it all to ourselves.
We enslaved those who looked different from us,
and subjugated the gentler sex that blooded us.
At first, we openly bought and sold our Relatives,
and made them do our bidding; brought them to heel,
crushed their souls, became masters of their free-will.
When the thrill subsided, we took up a new challenge,
introduced political systems and economic constructs,
that would now crush our Relatives’ souls on our behalf,
preserve our spoils even whilst appeasing our conscience.
Safe in our cement boxes, devoid of responsibilities,
we could now humiliate our Relatives condemned to streets,
with that ultimate expression of dominance — pity.
This was our way of saying: thank you Relatives!
Our Children, future generations that succeed us,
helpless when they see first light of Mother’s bosom,
reliant on us for guidance and a free world to inherit.
When it came time to grant them this freedom,
we offered our gratitude and returned their faith –
by chaining them to the very systems that we’d built,
leaving them with little choice but follow in our trail.
Engineered crack babies, injected incessantly from birth,
so deeply hooked that stepping off the hamster wheel,
this man-made rat race to either exploit or be exploited,
will trigger, ironically, “unnatural” withdrawal symptoms.
Thus we deprived our Children of a lovable Grandmother,
handing them instead weapons to further deface her.
Thus we snatched from our Children their Friends,
replacing their harmless toys with butchers knives.
This was our way of saying: thank you Children!