The Roman Empire conquered much
of the world not because their armies
were better at killing other armies, but
because their civil engineers built roads.
Someone invents electric light in 1800,
so our planet now resembles a gigantic
Lite-brite chandelier hanging in space.
Wordsworth went slumming in Paris
during the French Revolution so later
undergraduates might muddle through
the Prelude. Newton’s apple. Fibonacci’s
zero. What is it to be human? Turn on
a smart phone. Loss goes viral despite
our best attempts to immunize ourselves
with anti-depressants and room service.
I am tired of the deification of billionaires
who started businesses from a garage.
We should be paying attention to anyone
trying to save the whales, or languages
thousands of years old from dying out.
Persons without nameplates stamped on
buildings or Michelin stars. Just decent
ordinary folks who know one day we will
be reduced to a litter of ashes, so they
spend time building machines that allow
deaf children to hear mothers. Villages
to have fresh water. Those with vision
who clean up our bloody messes, while
the rest of us worry about 401ks. Watch
anonymous strangers dance awkwardly
to pop music. Dear Universe, no more
candy or flowers. What is the big idea?
That sweetness in you starts talking to
a sweetness in me. We infect each other.
By Chris Banks