It started in childhood. That low hum
of disapproval at our parents’ mistakes. We tried
to tutor them in a humanity they wouldn’t understand.
Sacrificed shiny-shoed futures
to make art in run-down houses, underground bunkers, drink
cheap wine around trashcan fires. We fell in love,
grew up – in vegan squats and railway carriages – dogs
on strings. Saluted the sun, that solstice-pink sun.
And now, there are armies (or will be), and bombs.
Now there are others – obeyers – with drones. Now
they will round up the sick and creative. Our
minimum-wage jobs? The first to be cut.
Outsourcing. Empathy is a chain –
with it, they will choke us, bind us. Throw us aside;
one day we will long for those trashcan fires
woodsmoke and starlight,
those childhood nights
spent tip-toeing around a passed-out parent.
We were supposed to change the world, weren’t we?
We were supposed to see,
with the clarity of strong young hearts
and good education,
a better way of being.