The 20th Century


Airflight, cars, too many cars

radio, TV, telephone, video, computers

social security, the pill, condoms, AIDs

equality, justice, no brotherhood.


Steel, plastic, teflon, concrete

(but the earth abideth forever)

Picasso, Jackson, graffiti

canned food, microwaved food, fast food

so many starved – no food

vaccines, by pass surgery, transplants

everyone still always dying.


Man on the moon, speed, nuclear bomb baboom

the ashes of Birkenau bloom.


A little love and peace, no understanding

much profit, no prophets

Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Iranian revolutions

But the world still goes around the sun and itself.


National buildings, nation building

Trinidad, Tajekistan, El Salvador, Kosovo, North Korea, East Timor

looking up there is only one sky.


Papers, books, magazines, TV, radio, information ages

who can remember what was said

the paper burns, the words fly away.


Pop stars, fat politicians, scruffy generals, Elvis, Ali

Einstein, Churchill, Mickey Mouse, Hitler, Ghandi, Stalin

billions of others but I forget their names.


A lot of noise, less space unless up in space

floods, famines, the fixing up

accumulation, credit, yo-yos and hula hoops

every man will one day stoop.


The 20th century ends not with this bang but a sob

nobody there to throw in the towel or hand a kleenex

only the morning after and us all carrying on.


— Dec. 31st, 1999, Varadero, Cuba

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