das Unbehagen in der Kultur (Civilisation and Its Discontents)

by Natalie Perman

Das Unbehagen sat with us at tables of
cracked wood as we twisted palms
of calloused leather soles
years of labour
in a plastic shine.

“we are threatened with suffering…”

It smiled at us as we sweated prayers
into polyester sheets
words and empty tins of beans
a coupon-code G-d.

“our body…”

It watched us as we rose to
clean streets and tar in lungs
smoker’s cough and
the litter of rats.

“doomed to decay…”

It plays us the same record:

               our mother earth just
               threatens us
               with suffering
               the same life over and over
               with static
               television laughter
               a body
               in decay.

“our relations with other men…”

It doesn’t let us live together.