The Forward Momentum of Dreams
—after Günter Grass
Careful, you say, Be Careful.
Blame the recklessness of reason on changes in the weather.
Funny, how the shifting atmosphere turns words into traitors.
Cloudy day Judas: peculiar, how stories are passed down through time
and change, evolving with the skill of the storyteller.
Each new draft, a sign of the times.
These days, Cassandra is a hobo,
drunk on malt liquor in the alleyway margins of progress.
She’s slurring out a prophecy, says she’s seen runes written in the sky,
folded out like a deck of Russian tarot cards.
With a Sharpie marker someone left behind, she graffitis
the subway walls all the way to Zocate Park:
Listen to me, Oh God, someone listen!
Occupy encampments, the collective will of the broken:
every unkept promise of the American Dream.
Fear, stitched into the suits of businessmen,
straightening the seams of this cloth: Have and Have Not.
They’re right not to look at the clustered tents of the enemy—
to see someone gives them a measure of power.
Only the subjection of the serf allows lords to keep their fiefdoms.
Keep the peasants hungry and at each other’s throats.
It’s the only way to distract them; to keep them from storming the castle.
But it’s the cold that makes all the real decisions:
sparks the revolt or sends the rebels home shivering.
The suits have got your number and are just waiting it out.
All those dreams of change, all that forward momentum—
things starve and peter out, just like anything else,
in a city under siege.
Every ideology of the young,
naïvely fighting against their future—already foretold
in the hour of their birth—is an incomplete triumph.
Don’t rock the boat, their parents tell them.
Be grateful you have a job, Boss Man says.
Quit pushing your luck, the Golden Fish advises,
You were never meant to live in the castle.
As long as we’ve got something left to lose,
they’ve got a way to control us.
Allie Marini Batts holds degrees from both Antioch University of Los Angeles and New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor for the NonBinary Review and Zoetic Press, and has previously served on the masthead for Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review & Press, and The Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of the poetry chapbooks, "You Might Curse Before You Bless" (ELJ Publications, 2013) "Unmade & Other Poems," (Beautysleep Press, 2013) and "This Is How We End" (forthcoming 2014, Bitterzoet.) Find her on the web: https://www.facebook.com/AllieMariniBatts or @kiddeternity