“the true perfection of man lies not in what man has but what man is.”
– Oscar Wilde
Now that the cold war is over
we can all pay more attention
to more pressing matters than
who is or isn’t free
who can or can’t say
what they want.
The question now is not
to be or not to be?
to have or how can I get one?
The world over soon to be lit
by Bic lighters held high
over temples that ache hard
over the hopes of having.
I have heard the Hungarians
are starting to hold back on the paprika
so their goulash will satisfy
the Italian intellectuals who visit Vaci street
in hopes of illuminating their lira.
A good friend in Moscow
swears that soon Bono will play the Bolshoi
but is very disquieted by the fact
one can no longer be sure
the vodka does not come watered down.
Why, it is even said the Chinese
once the most puritan of peoples,
are now drunk on the scent of Chanel
and pay huge fees to always lunching lawyers
who are ready to doctor their parent’s wills
so they can put good caviar on the table
and drink coke, “the real thing”
until their teeth drop out.
I’ve just read a brief news item that states
somewhere in the far reaches of Botswana
children’s lips are first sprouting the words
and the parents rather than being mortified
point to their offspring’s early sophistication.
Generalissimos the world over now swear
given the new climate of good will and good shopping
they will lay down their arms if only,
they get a nuclear warhead for Christmas.
There is nothing to fear except fear itself,
they sing fearlessly, of course!
Yes, this world is filling with the bountiful rush
of those in search of some thing — any “thing”.
My kingdom for a pair of Calvin Kleins!
(I’ve even heard Gaddafi wears them,
they are the only thing that can take the heat and
half way hold up his Arab manhood.)
There is a rumor that even on the sane streets of Kabul
a one legged Kazak sells fake Rolexs
shaking a can of emptied artillery shells
to attract his most loyal clientele.
Ah! Who am I to pretend to be a saint.
I too confess, I too have measured my driveway to see
how many cars it might hold
have bought pants whose label was outside
have cursed the fact that I had to use 1 ply toilet paper
have thought about not writing any more poetry and
making some “hard” cash.
But even if I were a saint, I’m sure I’d think up
some quaint rationalization like good old St. Augustine,
“Love and do what one will.” or something similar.
I’m told by my protestant friend that even the pope
(and he assures me this is true, he bears no bias)
puffs pontifically every now and then on a Marlboro
the world still goes ’round, hasn’t gone up in smoke.
All I can say is thank god everyone still has to
eat, shit and breathe
and some days read a few poems like this one,
to keep the cold away
now that the cold war is over.