The Other

When tragedy is big enough

the numbers numb.

A million dead cannot be mourned

– in singularity   –

My God! there were so many.

 

‘It is what it is’ makes no allowance

for reflection or regret;

it adds indignity to ignorance,

and gives the lie to a most basic truth:

that other lives have value – same as yours!

 

Such statement from the one who took a sacred oath

is wrapped in our failure

to pierce the veil of the preposterous;

gains credibility because we see one tear, but not the many.

So our heads, with all their calculation, must tell us that a million deaths are each a tragedy,

and that the anger and demands must capture that which our hearts can never hold – the suffering of multitudes, each Other being one like us.

The Boomers’ Last Dance

There is something beautifully melancholic watching the old folks dance under the Moonlit sky; the whisper of the waves adding a second beat.  A ray of light shows faces, and we see they are familiar, Bernie, Joe, Elizabeth, Mike, Amy. Of course, we say to ourselves, these boomers would never leave the dance floor without a nostalgic and sad set of last dances. And a dance contest it is, too.  The tired bones seek the honour of the ultimate square off with their contemporary from the opposing group, the reigning champion. They all condemned Pete as a greenhorn interloper not worthy of the contest, although Pete, in fact, is a crypto-boomer. Not for boomers to leave the dance floor to others, though, and now he is gone. (I know, I know, I am being kind to Bernie, Joe and Mike. Technically they do not even qualify as boomers, although their mind-set does).

It is hardly news that the boomer generation is egotistical through and through. From the time its denizens could throw their first paving stones the generation has been setting society’s agenda. Many years ago someone said that when boomers become old designer cemeteries will become the new craze. We are not far from that.

The songs the boomers dance to are pre-boom ‘As time goes by’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ – all forgotten is ‘I hope I die before I get old’ although the refrain ‘talkin’ ‘bout my generation’ still goes straight to boomer hearts! Boomers celebrated their youth, and continue doing so, and, of course, the youth of succeeding generations is of miniscule interest in comparison. The accusation of ageism is a beautifully self-serving boomer invention designed to neutralise any suggestion that their time is up.

But up it is! What we experience is last gasp boomerism, and it could thus be ventured that we should not worry too much about the next election, because it is, after all, only about the next four years. Yet, four years is a long time in politics and the danger is that the destruction that has taken place apace over the last few years will continue and will lay waste to the foundation of the society that following generations will want to build – not to speak of the possibility of incompetent or negligent triggering of the apocalypse. As the boomers slow dance into the dark it must be made sure that they do not take the future with them, although it would be so boomer to go out with an ‘après nous, le déluge’!