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Afterwards

Afterwards.

Didn’t we once used to smile and laugh?
I can see that we seemed to be happy 
As I look at an old photograph.
But now our mouths
Seem almost paralysed
Or are tight and grim.
I vaguely recall a light in our eyes 
That seemed to shine from somewhere within.
Weren’t there different coloured faces?
Now we all seem to have similar greyish skin,
As we quickly rush by, keeping our spaces.
I don’t want to object or make fuss 
But if things are a bit anomalous 
I think it must be because
Of the dreadful monster that never was.

The streets are well lit, but eerily quiet, 
Like a peaceful but forgotten burial site,
Only inhabited by hundreds of cameras 
Filming, even in the darkest night.
The skies above have a strange beige light
And no birds are singing, 
But lots of signs, colourful and bright 
Saying that we are winning
The seemingly endless fight.
But sometimes 
I think, something is not quite right,
A memory lost, like a distant dream.
And everything closed: cinemas, theatres 
And clubs where people used to dance.
But everything is under control and antiseptically clean
And nothing left to chance,
And nobody is angry or cross
Is it perhaps because
Of the monster that never was?

Well, 
I can’t ignore
The fact that no one makes trouble -
Anymore.
And we are living in a safe, secure bubble,
Without terrorists, criminals or war.
And anyway:
If someone broke the laws or disobeyed 
The police would soon be knocking on their door.
We are perfectly fine, all ok, 
As long as we don’t ask uncomfortable questions,
Or make inconvenient suggestions.
Or wonder about the pills and injections
(Supposedly all for our protection).
Or: about what we put into our intestines,
(Because all the food we can buy
Is tasteless and looks a bit synthetic). 
But I do sometimes wonder why
I often feel apathetic
And mostly tired and cold.
Although they say, there’s no more disease
And I never see anyone who’s old, 
Or people cough or sneeze.
And I do feel grateful and pleased
For: everything is much better now 
And I know it’s all because 
Of the monster that never was.

The children easy to manage
Are obedient, quiet 
Don’t break things, complain or do any damage
And not allowed to go out anymore.
The little ones glued to TV’s
Don’t know what books or teachers were for,
Or rivers, mountains and trees.
Or herbs, flowers and bees…
The eleven, twelve and thirteens 
Entranced by small bright screens
That tell them what to think, feel and dream
So that their lives are uncomplicated
And regulated 
By order and discipline,
Without a pause…
And know nothing about
The monster that never was.


The golden age
Is what all the signs 
Colourfully procrastinate. 
And incessantly list the reasons
Why we should be thankful and celebrate,
And our knowledgeable leaders and protectors 
Wisely don’t tolerate,
Gatherings, Dissension, 
Or any kinds of discussion or debate.
And so there are things we shouldn’t mention.
And I quickly forget
And instead 
Listen to them proudly remind us
How they erased all debts. 
And I really do feel thankful
And can’t find anything to regret.
But there are days 
When I have so much fuzziness in my head,
That it’s difficult to focus my eyes
Or even get out of bed.
And sometimes wonder 
If it’s due to the micro-chip in my brain, 
That stops my negative thoughts 
Or feeling pain
And so that I never have to choose
Or ever complain.
But without it,
It would be hard to remember all the rules
And complicated laws
That started from the time
Of the monster that never was. 


© Sangeet Portals 2020





Copyright © Sangeet Portalski

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