In Some Thing Called Western Civilization – A Poem

Twenty-four years come midnight.
Reflecting on some forty that left the day before,
across the world. God knows,
One would hope.
Vapid, televised, white paint running.
It once mattered to, with a drop of sadness, believe in nothing.
What nostalgia for weeping in these times of concrete slabs
that crush us bearing selfish, despairing grins.
Engraved manifestos.

Marx died yesterday too
in 1883, but I don’t know what that means.
I can only wonder how it seems
that these are the ones left
trying to change the world.

I was born tomorrow and they died yesterday.

It seems unfair to have used “I” so often.
Twice now these sentences have started with it.
Selfish, empty pedestal.
This mourning should come first.
Impossible, but for some fragments.

But even here
there are deaths elsewhere.
Time does not stop.
I am only passing through the space
where so many are confined
beside spray paint cans emptied
onto houses no one dare live in anymore.

In one more midnight I am born.
Please forgive the impertinence of this speech
typed out in the palm of my hand
at lunchtime for the graveyard shift.
Squeezed between ad space and
what we just call civilization.

How many midnights until the world is born?
One less. One must hope.

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