They Eat Their Young

We rejected the older songs,
the scattered fragments of a dying culture
strewn like colored glass along the road.
It’s now come to this, yet we’ve come
to regard this outcome as an inert mass
of undesirable traits.
Those who arrived late to the shindig
were startled by the disgruntled air
that loomed over everyone, like a shade
or a blanket knit from thorny vines.

Now it’s time for reorganizing.
These go with this, but never with that.
Patterns must be discerned.
How we discern them is not the object
of our focus, but it should inform the process
in such a way that it would seem
to have been guiding us the entire time,
as principles guide action.

We’re mostly thoughtless, though,
self-centered even, isn’t that
what the tribal elders told us?
They’re mired in their own bog of a philosophy,
less inclined than even us to be swayed
by simple observation. They wear fake heads
because they’re so ashamed of the real ones
they conceal, how poorly they turned out.
I wonder how long it is before
halitosis finally takes them…

-r. miller

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