Monsters

By Orel Protopopescu

The Monster of Profit
gnashes the teeth of its gears
and spits out fathers, mothers,
infants who root around for breasts
pumped dry by electricity.

The babies hug bottles
and rock themselves.
They roll in strollers
pushed by mothers,
not their mothers,
whose own children
are fed with neglect.

The Monster of Greed
grows louder, fatter, farther.
It sears our faces shut.
It breaks arms linked in love,
fists raised in protest.
It vomits human chaff
and keeps the kernels of gold
to ferment into guns,
grenades, bullets and bombs.

The Monster of Fear
makes fresh misery
in old wounds, bulldozing
ancient groves of olives,
homes held together
by love, blood and dust.
It sucks up the oil
that pays for schools
where minds are sealed
in bullet-proof vests
and the Monster
makes more monsters.

They smile on TV and run through
the Catalogues of Hate
with their sharp tongues.
They shed their flaking brains,
their desiccated hearts,
and the thin powder of ignorance
spreads everywhere.

The Monster of Self-Righteousness
waves its holy books, its flags,
its self-stamped license to destroy.
It recites verses to fight by,
makes fresh ruins of old ones
and showers us with blood.
It says we are sick unto death
of this lurid, lustful earth –
Make room for our martyrs
to kill their way to Paradise.

The monsters chew and chew,
always finer, always faster.
They hawk up dripping meat,
the flesh of your mother, father,
cousin, friend, your daughter
in Nairobi, Beirut and Paris,
your son the bomb within the bomb
of a plane or train that exploded
because no one ever told him
there were windows in the machine
that you could break,
doors you could walk through
if only someone, some one
showed you how to enter
a world where poets drink wine
on green riverbanks and sing
to each other in every tongue,
where books forever young
open their fluttering hearts
and give them away
page by page
to anyone who seeks
to taste a bread
not salted by sweat and tears,
not burnt by the machine.

The Monster of Profit and Loss
gnashes the teeth of its gears
and grinds tighter, ever tighter –

And when they turn it off
at the end of the day to end all days,
will there still be a human hand
attached to the rag that wipes
the blood from its gears?

This entry was posted in 72, Volume 30, No. 3. Bookmark the permalink.

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