Visions and Nightmares

When the last butterflies and bees
Are displayed in museums,
And the climate refugees
Are penned in detention camps,
Or mowed down at the borders;
When the water wars and food riots
Have taken their toll;
The rising seas have reclaimed the coasts
From civilization;
The droughts, heat waves and hurricanes
Have punished the innocent;
The new, improved security laws
Have imprisoned the still-outspoken;
And the worthy wealthy have safely coptered
To their well-appointed mountaintop retreats;
Will the end-times warheads
Rest quietly in their silos,
Or be kept on hair-trigger
To forestall
Any uprising of the few remnants
Still outraged
At the carelessness
And cowardice
And greed
Of the elites?

Will peace finally reign,
And the willfully ignorant
Finally admit their arrogance
And denial,
Or will their lying media,
All pretty-faced and well-coifed,
Still find it necessary
To smilingly spin?

For now is the crazy time,
when drones and megatonnage
Are normal,
And mace and truncheons,
Tasers and guns,
Mete out the only order
The state knows,
Even for walking in the steaming streets
Or talking back.

While the silk-suited D.C. millionaires
Decide the future for all,
One eye on their donors’ checkbooks,
The other on polls;
And celebrity lifestyles,
Reality shows,
And superhero movies
Entertain us;
Homeless children in crowded classrooms
Find their food stamps cut
So another foreign war can be bought,
And fought,
To liberate more souls from life,
Plunder more resources from earth,
And fatten more profiteers.

For the shredded bodies,
The flattened, poisoned cities,
The bomb-pocked land:
No apologies, ever!
“We think the price is worth it.”

The world desperately needs

But consumption is blinding.

Selfies are the order of the day,
Crowding out collectiveness,
Reflecting back the me-ness all around.

And compassion?
Who can afford it?

For the crazy time,
When quick omnicide
Or slow speciescide
Are the most logical ends,
Is now the only normal.

This scarred planet will surely go on
Without us,
Healing from our hubris,
No one left, perhaps,
To mourn,
Or even remember.

Ed Ciaccio is a writer on peace and social justice issues, a retired teacher, a conscientious objector since 1967, and author of Heartlines: Selected Personal Works 1966-2011 and Red Pills: Political Poems and Parodies 1968 - 2018. Read other articles by Ed.