Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Future’s Never What It Used to Be

Once when he was young and bearded
In the manner of the era
For young men of that era, he

Recalls that he encountered lines
On old Victorians drowsing
In their whiskers
. Something like that,

Which struck him at the time, an age
When all old men were clean-shaven
And the lively young ones grew beards.

He also recalls a number
Of habitual references
To old men with pipes and slippers.

One evening, he startles himself,
Noticing that he has no pipe,
But he is wearing old slippers

And was drowsing in his whiskers.
This is absurd. This is no time
For Victorian gentlemen.

This is the future, century
Of electric, self-driving cars,
Boring, permanent space stations,

Wars fought with drones and satellites,
Continental-sized telescopes,
Robots past the solar system,

Age of machines to think for him,
Of commodified attention,
Glowing screens fishing for eyeballs,

Age in which men with beards or not
Aren’t the model type of humans,
And pipes are known to burn poison,

Age that’s never not discussing
The ways in which Utopia
Is actually Armageddon.

Yet here he is, in his slippers,
Old as an old Victorian,
Drowsing again in his whiskers.

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