Future Imperfect

Written a few years ago now, but still one of the pieces I am the most happy with. Recently performed at Weaving Words writing and poetry group.

Nothing lives here any more, nothing of substance anyway. They came along and took it all away. Tidied it up, and hid it from the minds and hearts of the ones who cared. Doing their job, they said, making it right, and better. Others disagreed, the the ones who had to live in it, but failed to make their voices rise up above the din.

The light fell down, tripped up and faded. It couldn’t make an impression on their souls. Too much darkness here, where frightened people pray for light, and scrabble in the blackness for their dreams. Their saviour fled before their ship was sunk. But still they wander through the minefields, their goals still etched within their minds.

The ones with power said they’d fight for them, and lied. Far better to sweep them underneath the carpet and forget, never dare to peak and see if they’re still there. Black sheep, a flock of regrets, nothing they can do can change the way they live. Yet through all their false promises and broken wishes, they still have hope inside them, the will to live and love. To die would be to fail, a compromise they’re not prepared to make.

One came. “Stand up!” he cried, “Be counted!” And so they did, rose up together in the vain hope that he could place the bandage on their wounds. Blood seeped across their brains and infiltrated shadowed eyes, but still their fingers sought, still reached. Although they never knew it then, for once there was a glimmer of faint satisfaction that their grim determination may just push them through. Deeper and deeper into loss and pain and fear, where one man strove to conquer what he felt was always his, and supported by his people he walked in darkness, confident that they would follow him.

Follow him they did, although they could not know nor pretend that they had real conviction in his words. Too long, they thought, it’s all gone on too long to change here. We are alone together, and nothing now can give us rope to pull us out.

Blind faith was all that they could offer him, and with that he ran and jumped and battled. Blue collar, red neck, white man. Every spectrum of the rainbow only served to show him where the brick road ended. Not to be deterred, he made the stand they needed, held high the flag that spoke a thousand words.

“Freedom,” they cried, and wept at what they saw. It cost so much and brought so little, but it was theirs once more.

Then white noise and vicious flame struck out and saw that their world crumbled into nothing more than dust. Back down into the darkness, forced back to where they’d struggled to escape. One man with all the power and no compassion killed them as they lay but let them live. They survived to see their world become more empty, to feel more pain than any soul could bear. Their children hold their hands yet keep their eyes closed, for everything that is left here is too terrible to see.

The future won’t be rosy, won’t have promise. They tidied it away to make it right, to make it better. And those who disagree, who have to live it, lost their voices when the bombs drowned out their lives.

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