Wednesday, 22 December 2010
The Revolution Will Be Televised
Comrades, the time has come
to seize the means of production,
I wrote in my latest memo,
earning a crooked smile from the dean.
Dusk as drab as old sweat pants
crawls across the quad, dousing
my dream of overthrowing worlds.
You think I’m merely boyish
because like Dostoevsky
I want to face a firing squad
and let revolution enter me
like a swarm of killer bees. Laughing,
you share your iced coffee with me.
Why do you suppose the straws
have become alert as antenna,
quivering while the TV rants
of oil spills and massacres, and suits
explain why their public crimes
deserve praise instead of censure?
What does it mean to want to seize
the means of production when
the workers have long ago retired
and we academics produce
only a dreary and muffling fog?
As we drain the coffee our foreheads
bump like dueling elk, so we duck
shyly away from each other.
How often we’ve sorted headlines
by degrees of horror, sharing
our modest grief. The revolution
next time will surely be televised.
But when we stand like Dostoevsky
and the rifles nod but refuse
to fire we’ll feel belittled
by the books we’ve read and loved,
the iced coffee freezing our veins.