Remembered Collapse

In the prelude to collapse
We fetishized our destruction with North Korean paratroop drops,
alien invasion,
and Mayan prophecy
Islam, sharia, and weapons of mass deception.
We feared the reds under the bed
And cigars off the coast of Florida.
We feared disease, but not enough to care
And vaccines, because they might work.
The others, the different, the opposing points of view
All to be relegated, and subjugated, to a dissidence of cognition.
Compromise, idealize, the perfect, and the blameless
All to be demonized and lost in the blindness.

Collapse, when it came, came in the form of no toilet paper, and plastic bags of gasoline.
We handed over the shackles of our manipulation in exchange for cat pictures and remembered birthdays.
Our attention was sold into slavery by our need for connection, and our unwillingness to talk to our neighbors.
We offered our thoughts and prayers and passed the ammunition.
Debate became trolling
To fact check – a lack of a sense of humor.
And we wrung our hands at becoming an also ran
At looking at others with envious eyes
Not used to “it must be nice.”
As the police murdered traffic violators, and children with plastic toys
The Boogaloo Boys and tacticool idiots lay down with agent provocateurs and the KKK.
Cities protested, burned, and looted with outrage
Stoking the fears of white bread and flyover country.
Fake news, fake news, fake news
The alternative facts filling our bubble.

Looking back on the collapse
We squandered good will and power.
Self-interest that should have become self-loathing
Instead became parody, funny until it was not.
We fought over ownership of the flag, used it as a garrote, and a noose.
You cannot see the label when you are in the jar.
Our remembered lies of nonexistent times did nothing for progress,
Or art.
Or literature.
Or politics.
Or journalism.
We murdered the intellectual, drowned them in a sit-com soup
And then bashed in their skulls in with TV dedicated to making idiots famous.
We then tried to destroy television and film with streaming and Logan Paul.
The honest and the decent, only to be recognized in retrospect, and then to still to have their wishes ignored.

Our reality augmented with filters, captions, and emojis.
We sold California to the world via cops shows and talking cars
And then rejected the vision and the dream.
An American dream with ad breaks and sponsorship.
And we bought guns, guns, and more guns.
We bought guns because we were scared
And we bought guns because it was our right
We bought guns to protect us from others with guns
And we bought guns because we could.
We sold our soul to the world
And then spat in their face when they took us at our word.

We cancelled, cancelled, cancelled,
We failed to understand that when we did it, it was justified outrage
And when they did it was cancel culture.
What culture?
We burned away our culture in a crucible of self-righteousness.

We invited this.
Suicidal ideation by a nation in name only.
Apathy to ideas,
Ideas traded for the cult of personality.
Addiction is defined by consequences.
Hope only exists at rock bottom.

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