History 1 on 1


January 11, 2008 at 8:23 pm

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
An event that happened a bit too soon,
‘cause in sixty-nine they were on the moon.
A happening not without precedent,
The same place Galileo’s telescope went.
Which isn’t to say we’ve become farsighted in our views,
Proof of which is the daily news.

From Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
To imported Nissans and Kawasakis.
The songs the British rockers sing,
Bring back images of Cromwell fighting the king.
To think that neutron bombs held détente’s faint hope,
In the hands of an army strung out on dope.

The poet said, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.
Let’s take a closer look at this insanity.
Watch the TV, play the tape,
The latest chapter in the great escape,
Look at Spock out trekking stars,
Forget the Earth and her petty wars.
A country of R2s, D2s, a world of Darth Vaders,
The Senate makes less money than the Oakland Raiders,
The Renaissance sparked dreams of new worlds coming into view,
Dreams turned into the reality of Madison Avenue.

Ad campaigns sold peanut butter to Peter Pan,
And life rafts to the Tidy Bowl man,
They even sold Kojak some Afro Sheen,
And Turtle Wax to Mr. Clean,
Gil told us they sold tuna to the Chicken of the Sea,
So what do you think they are selling you and me?
When nightol becomes a permanent state,
Apathy and ignorance begins to escalate,
We sit back and watch the dollar’s value deflate,
But how long will our enemies sit and wait?

Visit him, on the wall of his office hangs the head of a moose,
And he sits behind his desk reading Dr. Suess,
This could be a character on your local TV,
But it could be that character in Washington, DC.
Folks going to college to expand their minds,
Can’t relate to dropouts in the unemployment line.
The prisons fill up with perpetrators of nonviolent crime,
While only the Army is working overtime.

Reagan stood Marx on his head,
Headlines proclaim that God is dead.
McDonald’s did what Hitler couldn’t,
Malcolm said what Martin wouldn’t.
The news is void of any meaningful views,
Display any manners you’ll be politely excused,
The Holocaust monument opened to cries of “never again,”
while Bosnia was being ethnically cleansed.

Muslims are on the endangered species list,
Plastic American culture no one can resist.
Ask for principles you’ll find the politicians ambivalent,
Yet they definitively state that the UN is irrelevant.
Cornflakes may become extinct due to gasohol,
The international system has become a free for all,
We trample our freedoms yet proclaim our democracy is best,
Yet Bush might lose to Osama in a popularity contest.

All this while the American public is suffering from back to the future shock,
incapable of distinguishing Afghanistan from Iraq.
We accept the next war as passively as lambs accept the slaughter,
By the way, Did Dick Cheney ever find his daughter?
And on and on the story goes,
So now I’ll bring it to a close,
My purpose has only been to have myself some fun,
Playing ball with history, 1-on-1.