Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Three Dollars
“Over three dollars a gallon!”
You stare at that pump
and your head begins its slow
side to side wag of disgust.
“What has this world come to?

Indeed, in your scheme of priorities,
it doesn’t get much worse than this.
How could it?
How could it possibly get worse than this?

You really haven’t thought this through,
have you?

Right now,
somewhere in the East Congo,
a young girl has just had her
arm lopped off with a machete.
A machete welded by
some teenage member of… what?
The Lord’s Resistance Army?
Is that the current flavor of death?
And this…?
This is not the
worse she’s experienced.
There was more.
Much more.

And this morning,
there on page six where you
just placed your coffee cup,
a small paragraph contains the words
‘village’ and ‘atrocity’.
The two words pass into your mind and
there, that
first one is absorbed with ease, but
No. Not so easy.

Better option?
Let it slip.
Let it slide into some closet
there in the back of your mind to
emerge later as a viable word for the
crossword puzzle.

It would appear that in the scheme of things,
young Congolese girls rank pretty low
But listen now: you are not
Bad things were happening in Iraq.
You know this.
You’re informed.
You listened to your leaders.
Indeed, there were things so bad that
we as a nation
had to step in and
do something.
Because we care.
Because we can.

There in our nation’s
passionate wake
you’d like to think we’d left the world
a better place.
Did we?
Did we leave prosperity
or devastation?

And standing there at the pump,
you find yourself pondering the value of things.
Yes, while sons and daughters,
Iraqi and American,
continue to die,
you look on in disgust as
yet another three dollars worth of gas
registers there on the pump’s display.
“Three dollars
for a gallon of gas!”

And there
as our national values
surge through the hose
to end in your precious automobile,
I have one last item
for you to assess as to worth.
Just what dollar amount
would you attribute
to a young girls arm?

Red on black on black.
A mud so black
yet void of oil.

It would appear that
for most Americans
a black that does not equal oil
is a black on the verge of worthless.

Yes, as the price of gas continues its rise,
and with corporate petroleum ever more in black,
we scream our rage whilst
small black severed arms
lie in the mud,

So very, very priceless,
yet by our pathetic inaction,
conveniently tagged at
three dollars
and dropping.

©06 Jack Hubbell

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