Thursday, November 19, 2020


There are two forms of future—
The one that’s out there, waiting, nothing,

And the other, our familiar, intimate future
On which we brood all our lives,

A crumbled-up hash of hope-and-dread
Patty-cakes we make and remake

From the ever-shifting fragments
Of our ever-changing past.

One created us. One we constantly,
Compulsively recreate. The future. Ours.

We seem to believe we’re getting better
At our forecasts. We sift matters finer.

We give all the pieces numbers, labels,
And equations we test with them like rats.

We acknowledge our uncertainty.
We giggle a little at the lack of time,

Making jokes on how to twist it, bake it,
Calculate it doesn’t exist. Then we weep.

We still need to know what’s next.
We dig in our brains. We shuffle the deck.

Again we test. Some results we publish.
We swallow all the rest. Each gulp feels

The future tugging, encircling our necks.
We rummage in our attics for ingredients

We might want to protect. Stories. Magic.
Spirits. Voices. Above all, voices, yes—

Things we’ve said and, mostly, heard said.
We prop mannequins up in the palm

Of our thoughts to pat them on the head
For helping us listen to what will be said.

What will be said? What will be said
About us? We ask our ever-present pasts,

Consult their recipe-books of spells for us,
Their humble future assistants. Famulus.

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