Remember trees? They were tall
and green, and some changed colors
and dropped their leaves. Before
imitation wood you got real wood
from these. People used them to
build houses, furniture, toothpicks,
boats, and other things.
And it looked like they'd last forever
so we burned big piles of limbs
to roast marshmallows & composite meat.

Remember food?
Not meat cloned in petri dishes
or brown algae raised in tanks--
a byproduct of waste treatment--
but real live food that came in
all shapes and sizes and grew in dirt,
outside, on something called farms,
or even your own garden before fallout &
acid rain killed it all--roots, bushes,
trees. Corn, radishes, carrots, wheat.
Remember food, the kind you had
to chew, not these energy gels
you slurp out of a tube?

Remember tap water?
It came out of faucets,
which were everywhere,
instantly, not just after
standing in line
for canned rations
off the back of a
government truck.
It came through pipes
and you got it inside,
and what you did with it
was your own business:
flush the toilet, take a
bath, water some plants,
do the dishes, brush
your teeth, cook spaghetti,
mop the floor, wash a car,
make ice cubes for a highball.
You could even drink it
and it was practically free.

Remember sex?
It was how people had kids,
though most of the time
we did it for kicks.
Now you need a license to breed,
and to get that you have to be

Remember privacy?
Unopened mail, untapped phones,
and window blinds you could close?

Remember lights you could turn off,
before they figured out that bad people
did bad things in the dark and if there
were no more shadows to hide in
everyone would have to play along
and even if it didn't work out that way
no one questions it anymore because
those who did were suddenly gone.

Remember how it all happened?

Neither do I.

I guess it was gradual.

feb 5 2003
composed orally
pulling weeds in
a billionaire banker's
bird sanctuary, east
side of seattle...

previous | contents | next