These are the Madnesses, by Barry Patterson

These are the Madnesses:

The blast furnace, the foundry
An industrial city on the iridescent bank of a brown river
Smoking air; the robot hammers & anvils of
Automatic forges supervised by children.

The suit that cost an arm & a leg
His shiny shoes
His tie, the papers that he reads; his house, his car
His entitlements, his freedoms.

Their lungs, their hands, their faces
Their rights, their fears
Families queueing in the mall; someone, somewhere
Got a taste of power.

The spreadsheet, the spreadsheet
Profit & loss
The trade tariff, the pay off; a gross net of shipping lanes from Asia
Carried containers stuffed with death.

The docket signed off
The docks departed
The box ticked; duty of duties paid
The lorry, the sliproad, the crawler lane, a pallet.

The shouting, the shouting
The self hatred & hopelessness
The imagined sneer, Dad’s temper, Gran’s cancer; getting out of it
But not getting away from it or from anything.

Running into a wall of fear & rage
The intensity of the moment
That demands more pain: the demented currency transaction
Of abuse.

The hardware shop
That stinks
Of garish Chinese plastics: toys & tools
& knock-offs.

It was shining like a trinket
A talisman
Like a consecrated thing; it felt good in your hand
Now you feel like a man.

That night you were burning
That night you were raging
That night that you chased them; that night that you finally
Got it out & waved it about.

The flashing shiny dick
With which you thrust
Which you pushed into his face was a curse
Upon you, upon everyone.

These are the madnesses:

The making of it
The shipping of it
The selling of it
The buying of it
The holding of it
The use of it.

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