Polling the One-Legged Proles

You ask if they like ‘good’ and they
Will tell you that they do;
You say: “You hate ‘bad,’ don’t you?” and
They answer: “That is true;”
From all of which we gather what?
That one plus one is two?

Majorities, we learn, like wars
That sound like lots of fun,
And more than half will always say
We shouldn’t “cut and run”
No matter if we die while shouting:
“We are number one!”

The old vox populi gives voice
To popular content
With knowing not the names of thieves
Or where the money went;
Nor even why we haven’t hanged
The “leaders” we resent.

They lie and steal with such panache
That words cannot but fail
To conjur up the essence of
Their victims’ plaintive wail,
And yet they walk free on the earth
When they should rot in jail.

Our Romanovs and their Rasputins
Say we need a “czar”
Because we cannot rule ourselves
And don’t know who we are.
Our rulers scoff at serfs like us
Whom they find too bizarre.

So ask us if we like our lot,
And we will say: “And how!”
We wouldn’t want to disagree
With “liking,” would we now?
So just imply a “positive”
And we’ll take up the plow.

Our “goodness” we assume as fact
Implicit in the word
As if agreeing with ourselves –
The bovine, driven herd –
Somehow makes our conformity
The least bit less absurd

And so if we should take a poll,
We’ll find a total lack
Of any evidence that we
Are other than a pack
Who answer “yes” or “no” on cue,
And yet who don’t know Jack.

Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2007


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