THE OTHER SIDE
The culture, now beginning to evidence the signs
Of age, ebbs and tides, bobs indiscriminately.
The good, the bad, the indifferent, the lazy
Flow together unwittingly, often unwillingly.
Now slowly, now faster, events are shaping lives,
Or lives are shaping events. Moving, not holding.
Is it better to be on the inside basking
Among the warm, the cozy, the ever so secure?
I wouldn?t know for I?ve never been there.
Anyway it?s not a question of comfort.
Since parking is for customers only.
We do not buy, nor do we assimilate.
This is not artifice, nor pretense, nor bravado.
Like Popeye?s I am what I am, genetics or fate,
Of family, of cherished creed, all background images
Come together in the package that will never fit
The ever-widening, vacuous program. We resist
the clamorous call, and thus we are disenfranchised.
Uncompromising principles set each side
Against the other, they the ins, we the outs.
Neither manners nor dress nor speech will suffice
For admission to their social construct.
Repetitious rhetoric flawlessly designed for the
Assembly line of eager and voracious contestants.
Come into my gray parlor, invites the spider.
Invitations now friendly, now threatening.
This bottom line debate underlies, smothers all others.
Fellowship required, like unto like, so the walls are built.
How stands the mettle of convictions, with no armor
To offset the societal need to convict the exception.
Why did you call me? Because we need to publish
Something from the Other Side. Thus we are named.
This baptism will endure because our side never goes
Across that great cultural divide to join the expedient cause.
By God?s mercy some cross to us with heavy sighs, groans,
As bald truth cannot be effaced by all. So guilt envelops.
Ever haunted by the Yeat?sian conviction
?The centre cannot hold?, the center will not hold
The weight of more than 50 million pressing down,
Running over, a flood, a veritable deluge, of victims.
This pitiful saga of an ongoing, unparalleled civil war.
Detestable, cold, statistics muffle but cannot silent cries.
Everybody knows this is a welcome holocaust.
Without it, why, where would we be, our very
Existence threatened by the crushing hordes.
Nuclear or biological weapons not needed, nor gorilla warfare.
Unpleasant aspects trivialized beyond recognition,
Timely, orderly, discreet — piping in the Musak.
No reaction whatsoever to the mind-numbing Imbalance.
The future was dispatched for convenience sake,
Was brushed away for the foggy sense of the thing,
For economic surety, for the new I am, not You.
Unfulfilled history dispensed with as soon as possible,
Lest we remember. Memory is not the place to go.
What have we left to offer Thee, Heavenly Witness,
Thou whose ineffable pattern set our condition to be
A little less than the angels? We?ve lost our way.
What have we to say to Thee, so great our offense?
Contempt for new life surpasses Lucifer?s resolution
That no creature so lowly, so common would share his seat.
There is still another Other Side where we will meet,
No press releases before our entrance. No position,
Or prestige or accumulated goods matter here,
Neither age nor argument — accustomed tools of accessibility.
One never divided life named for all eternity. ?Even if
Your mother should forget you, I will not forget you.?