The Ancient Modern

Endgame / Joshua Alan Sturgill

If I tell you I am sorry for my crimes. If I offer you my wallet.
If I tell you I am gay or brown. If I explain eloquently, but
with an English hued by my native, other tongue. If I share
with you suffering that only a woman can understand. If I
insist on my gender, despite the evidence. If I help you choose
and make Choice our common ideal. If I doubt the powers
and the patriarchs just enough for plausibility. If I question
historical accounts, call on you to trust yourself passionately,
love all expressions that claim to express love. If I agree with
you as in a mirror, darkly—then you will lift me on your
shoulders and celebrate yourself in me, and cheer for every
want we’ve made a Right. How strange! Before you know what
I believe, and before you know what decisions I’ve made secretly,
and long before I appeared on your screen and in your mind,
I crafted this agreement within you, cooperating with your
complacency. And truly: I want what you want: an Automatic
World. A world with only myself and the machines which feed
and fuel and reflect me. I command you: build me such a world.
You can’t now refuse. Because you are already building it.
You’ve already, by a million little searches, through a million little
purchases, said it’s better to have an automatic world than not.
It’s too late to go back. You’ve committed. You’ve said it’s better
to have everything come automatically, whatever the cost, even
if that world is someone else’s, even if someone else rules it.
Yes, it’s better, you tacitly agree, someone else’s instant, flashing,
automatic world, a world of the lonely virtual, rather than a world
of virtue in which you must work with others slowly, yet are free.

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2020 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

One thought on “Endgame

  1. You’ve presented an interesting outlook here, Josh. It’s difficult to separate the writer from that which is written. When I finished this piece, I thought it could spark anger in some or no change at all. There is a toughness about what’s said here. A real Truth for some or a smothering blanket for others. I was going to write paragraph or two in response, but then I decided to reply a bit differently.

    Automatically Better with Bubbles

    My choice is your choice;
    your choice is my choice:
    one and the same.
    Since we agree
    (for what else is there and
    what else would I want?),
    then we’re happy.
    Aren’t we?
    Let me know, for…
    I can’t decide.
    I’m willing to wait,
    if it takes forever,
    for that flash or that message or that flare-up.
    I promise that I’ll Like it (Click! Click! Click! Tap! Tap! Tap!),
    but only if you do too.
    Agreed? (Well, you know I do, my Bubble Friend.)

    I’m not sure that I got this feeling which I’m trying to express quite right, but this is just a simple comment, not a place for discourse, I suppose. My words spill onto the page in moments, to perhaps be forgotten later and regretted or maybe celebrated or simply ignored.


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