A word about this poem: How much control do we have over the atmosphere we live in? This poem argues, “plenty”. But the monster takes his form by increment, stitched together shadow by shadow, stealing life from every little bit of hope and courage that we relinquish. And eventually, as we move out, he moves in. The leaning porch and the empty farmstand, if we think about it, are as disturbing as the suggestion that the monster, in the end, looks a little like our angry neighbor and a little like certain of our high-profile politicians. How dangerous is this monster? One way to find out is to try to take back the homestead.
The electrodes were pulled,
The thing woke, shaking off its death-trance,
Got up, looked around.
We had a monster.
It is ours.
We created it
Out of provincialism,
And our fear of everything.
It swam up out of the depths of our
Not taking ourselves seriously,
Evolved out of our choosing war every time.
It grew fat in the nursery of our cultivated indifference,
Descended when we lost our appetite for principles.
It started by devouring our dreams.
It licked its shark teeth
When we let the angry neighbor convert us.
When we let the self-righteous
Do all the praying,
Its shadow crossed the land.
When we gave up on each other,
When we gave up on the land,
That was when we felt its breath on our necks.
When we stopped voting our conscience
And invested all of our naiveté in a virtual future,
That was when we summoned it
To lurch forward.
And when we abandoned the hope of the moment,
That was when it knew it had a home!
You know, that old place
That we used to call home?
Where the door now stands
Wide open to the wind and rain,
Where the windows rattle
When the fracking earthquakes shake the land?
Where the paint peels
On the empty farm stand?
Our monster sits on the leaning porch
Just like a human
Waiting for the world to end,
Like a damn politician.