New stage

The first time I won the revolution, they didn’t tell me for 20 years.
I brushed it aside when they said
      my parents had mapped paths through the ethos,
      hard-trod routes they urged upon the military-industrial complex.
But I inherited their walking sticks.
      Sometimes I pass convoys on my way.

Before we even knew that revolution was over,
      we were defining a new stage.
We counted it a success because so many people showed up
      although our tallies were probably off because we lost track of where they left and brought our props.
The floodlights were on all the time.
      We were high on the platforms.
      Our vapors turned into monuments.

Everything was speeding up.
      We didn’t have catalytic converters, so we gunned it.
      No memory of more than thirty years was worth anything.
Chess games were lost by running out of time.
      We changed the names of the pieces, and all the squares too.
      The path to victory wasn’t so straight anymore.

When we emerged from the end of the embankment,
We encountered a new people incapable of evil.
      Today they throng the marketplaces as truckloads of panaceas are unloaded.
      With a swipe you can sign up for lobotomy on demand.
      You don’t even need single-factor authentication to order dopamine.

The chess pieces now are scattered through the mud.
      I’m trying to pass the bikechain back over my rear wheel.
When I rejoin the revolution, I’m seeking a new stage without guillotines.

Instead, there will be a ticket at the entryway for every applicant
      and a fantastic door prize for all.
Everyone will know who they are for the first time.

This poem appeared in Nine Cloud Journal, Issue 1, August 2020.

Andy Oram
July 26, 2020