the civilised man

by Marina McCready

dips his spoon into a bowl of cornflakes but his heart isn’t in it. this is what society has done to us. he reads a newspaper about a war somewhere else, probably in the east. they don’t do that sort of thing here. here the war is internal. the newspaper says:

he had become a savage
and sometimes wished
he commuted to work
as the civilised. man
has been conquered
when you know the sky
do the stars look
of liberty? how? wretched
part of the pogrom,
does it taste bittersweet being?
tell me, now
flesh and smoke
in an abattoir, all
just for show. underneath
you know it’s
gold and gleaming.
everything is metallic
the prosthetic god
humanity has become.

but then he turns the page and it says:

humanity has become
the prosthetic god
everything is metallic
gold and gleaming.
you know it’s
just for show. underneath
is an abattoir, all
flesh and smoke
tell me now
does it taste bittersweet being
part of the pogrom
of liberty? how wretched
do the stars look
when you know the sky
has been conquered?
as the civilised man
he commuted to work
and sometimes wished
he had been born a savage.

he turns the page again and it simply reads:

are you happy?