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Poetry

The Way We Live

Adam Engel

My friends are criminals:
they smoke pot;
they don't eat meat;
they or their partners
have had abortions,
at some point in their lives,
or sex with their own sex;
they hate war and television,
and laugh at mythologies
of "heroes" and angry gods
who hustle real-estate,
and issue mad, delerious,
homicidal "sons."
They hate the goverment,
corporations, and anyone who
dares
call them consumers
not citizens;
they hate —
but pretend to love;
they are civil and obedient
citizens
of deathnocracy.
My former friends are cowards:
they fear "minorities;"
they fear government
and the terror it sponsors;
they "support" Israel and "our" troops for fear
that 'it' might happen here,
and would rather 'it' happen to
Arabs, or "minorities," or anyone
but good consumers
like themselves
who drive big cars
and thank god
for corporations who
— yes "who:" they're
individuals under law
like you or me —
bring slicker offerings
to Christ's birthday
than Santa Claus
could ever dream.
I met a schoolteacher.
Frustrated, frightened.
"The children are insane,"
she said. "Most of them.
Mad as hatters, immunized
with mercury, weaned on lies.
What once was rare
is epidemic now
among our clueless,
introverted young.
Must be the air, the water.
Something, anything.
I dunno. Maybe it's
the way we live.
A language virus of the mind,
like Burroughs, you know?
Yes. What else then?
Yes, that's it. I'm certain.
It's the way we live."

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