A Message from the Future


Not quite the end we thought we’d get, is it?
Where is the monster rising from the sea?
Where the single earthquake that sucks Gomorrah into the earth’s bowels?
Where the finger-and-thumb of God that pinches the sun out like a candle-flame?

Is this all of it, this the end-time carnival, these rickety rides, the blarey music,
The paltry freaks barked up for all they’re worth and more? This too-slight sleight-of-hand?
Where is the burning wind from off the desert sand,
The trumpet blast that screams the Temple down?

They said that there’d be no stone left upon another stone,
That mountain ranges might just crack like skin and rivers run like blood,
And that we’d see the moon hatch like an egg and what’s inside unspool.
When will it come? And will it come? And when?

No, no, says the slim man selling candy floss,
You must have misunderstood the invitation you were given,
You must have read some inappropriate books as a child.
Let our instructors disabuse you, since
We have the finest educational system in the world.

Let’s all settle in for story-time now,
Mummy will give us a kiss when she gets home
And then we’re all for bed.

Listen to me, I will do the police in different voices

and the bankers in different voices
and the software developers telecommuting to Silicon Valley jobs and reading Ayn Rand in their spare time in different voices
and the day-care staffers in different voices
and the Live at Five reporters and the Eye in the Sky reporters and the political pundits in different voices
and the parish priests and Archbishop of Los Angeles in different voices

And when I do them, whenever I do them, and whoever is done,
They will all sound like the same voice, trying to sound different.

I will do them all, listen, listen—listen up! You! Yes!
And then the drawing for the after-hours show,
The first month free, after which you may cancel at any time.
Meanwhile we reserve all rights, meanwhile
We may employ tracking tools, we may
Combine your information with information from third parties.

Meanwhile the World-snake sleeps in the warm bathtub of the ocean;
Meanwhile the Horsemen, having abandoned their inefficient mounts,
Drive to work in fuel-efficient hybrid gas-electric cars,
Have their pay automatically deposited;
Meanwhile Ragnarok, having run over budget, having fallen behind schedule,
Is still in the works, will happen in due course, assuming the political will
To accomplish this great work does not falter.

Meanwhile Mephistopheles has taken to the airwaves mumbling,
Trust us, smiling, eating a candy bar, asking, want one? Have one,
They’re good,
Try one.

And then for bed. Sleep tight, sleep tight,
After a story, before any dreams.

And if I die before I wake
Some shall cry, and some shall take

If I expire here in this cot
Who shall acquire what I have got?

I should have prayed not to be dead
Should not have strayed into this bed

Away from here I should have kept
Or better, dear, have never slept.

Meanwhile this is not the end we were promised, this
Is not the end we thought
We’d get, this is
Not the end we
Deserve not

Image: Defunct Computer Keyboard by Kenneth Freeman, published under a Creative Commons  Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.

This was written… well, finished … well, published… in response to an invitation to write a poem from the future. It is not really from the future, though, as far as I know.

17 thoughts on “A Message from the Future

  1. This is exactly the debate between the vision of the future described by Orwell and the one described by Huxley in Brave New World – where we are complicit in our fat contentment and willing to be read bedtime stories, eat candy bars, bathe in the warm bathtub of the ocean… Perfect description – this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a contented whimper…


  2. It’s hard to stay positive in today’s world. I hope the future is not so grim, that we wake up and see what matters, that we don’t believe the bed time stories and create our end.


  3. So I have been made aware. In fact, I appear to have badly offended at least one DversePoets regular because–I gather–I failed to comment on his poem after he commented on mine. (He accused me, actually, of using the site to pimp my poetry; I’m not sure whether to be amused or aghast.) For what it’s worth, I have followed links and commented on poems I’ve found through your site, though admittedly not consistently nor ubiquitously. I value discovery, and the DversePoets site has led me to some good ones. But it seems I may have misread the room? If you feel the need to enforce a norm of high engagement with everyone who contributes or comments, then I will simply not be able to hold up my end. That is not, as they say, how I roll; nor do I have the bandwidth to roll that way, even if I wanted to.


  4. Yes.. humans casually and creatively often create the nightmares of life.. the darkness in notes of books paraphrased 3500 years ago.. in lynchings of slaves of different color trying to be free.. and flogging youth to death for sexual orientations expressed not representing the patriarchal norm..

    Mean.. while.. the rest of nature flows to no concern of human nightmares except for the end and destruction of life.. that human nightmares can and do bring to that part of nature too….

    And as always nature out of balance.. brings misery and pain to those who imbalance..

    And please do continue your poetry here.. as i for one.. have the time retired and the bandwidth too.. to comment on most all without ever expecting a comment from another..

    That is a blessing that not all share.. as of course we are all unique.. and never just one expression of humanity through the journey of life as is NOW…

    There are no chains in the ways of creativity to me…

    friend.. neither known or found.. as words are friends to me..:)

    No expectations OR LIMITATIONS is the freest way to go.. as i know now… so do as you please and i will comment.. as your words do please…:)


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