Lest We Forget Who the Monsters Are (a poem)

LEST WE FORGET WHO THE MONSTERS ARE

Even the stars were asleep when they came in the night

splintered oars lapping with the waves.

Only the moon saw the shadows disembark

creeping the streets like soldiers from Troy without honor.

Dog’s warning barks quieted by swift, silent arrow

watchmen bound and fed to the hungry sea.

(And the audience cheers)

It was the unwashed stench that woke the people

as filthy hands ripped them from their sleep.

Screams of terror broke the stillness of the night

sharp blades slicing fleshy throats, swords plunged into bellies

gurgles as unarmed men choked on their own blood

while reaching for weapons.

Tawdry laughter as the invaders stroked the soft skin of a frightened young girl

as one might admire the pelt of a fawn.

Shredded nightgown, bruises—tender, innocent flesh ripped and ripped again

her mother’s cries ignored

until the girl was still, and the beasts turned to the next.

(“More!” cries the audience, rising to their feet. “More!”)

Their expert fingers searched between wooden floorboards

turned over chests and beds

pocketing gold, gems, the silver candlesticks handed down through the ages

nothing sacred, nothing missed.

Boots chased after a woman round with child

heavy hands throwing her to the cobbled ground, lifting skirts

muffling her sobs as they took, and took, and took

then left her in a nest of blood.

In the final act, orange flames rose toward indifferent skies

erasing where children once played and husbands once held their wives

burning away memories of church bells and markets and neighborly greetings

and green gardens that once nourished lives.

Thick, choking smoke smothered all who remained

all who could not run

all who fell, prostrate, crying out for mercy to a god that turned his head

as the invaders loaded their booty, guzzled stolen wine

and sailed away in the dark to some other unsuspecting shore.

(And the audience sings of the thieves. “That’s who I wish to be! That is the life for me!”)

Moolah (aka: A Love Letter from your Lord and Master)

MONEY.

That got your attention, right?

After all, most people love money. Worship it. Are loyal slaves to the Almighty Dollar. You love it so much, you even give it cutesy nicknames. Cash. Bucks. Dough. Dead Presidents (Okay, that one’s not so cute). You are cr-razy about money! And why? Because you’ve got to have:

Big houses, fast cars

luxurious treasures

Jewelry and fame

and all of life’s pleasures

That about sums it up. You humans are like a bunch of Sims. As your material collections grow, your happiness points increase, too. At least, until you begin to crave even more. The problem is, wanting more stuff means you need more and more and more cash. So many people are willing to do just about anything for cash. Don’t believe me? Just look at what you’ve done for money.

Poured coffee, shoveled snow

Asked, “Do you want that order to go?”

Mopped floors, cleaned up waste

Chased the cheese in the same rat race

You certainly didn’t do those things for the fun of it. You did it to pay the rent. You did it to buy that 52-inch smart TV with a voice-activated remote control. You did it to pay off the credit cards you maxed out when you traveled to Ireland last year. You still do it. Every morning, you drag your carcass out of bed before the sun is even awake, gulp down some of that expensive dark roast coffee you’re addicted to, then head off to work in your cubicle jungles, your retail stores, your banks and and booths and stations. To make the world a better place? Nope. You do it because Little Ethan needs to play on the best competitive youth soccer team. Because Little Sarah needs that expensive algebra tutor. Because you simply must own a home on the expensive side of town, so that Little Jack and Little Ava can attend the best schools.

And why do you spend money on sports, and tutors, and outstanding schools for the kiddos? So they can get into the best, most expensive colleges, of course! And why do you want them to go to the best colleges? So they can get jobs one day, and make lots of — let’s say it unison — MONEY!!

*Rolling my eyes*

You think that it’s going to end. That one day, you’ll look around and be satisfied with everything you acquired. You’ll be King or Queen of your own small kingdom, famous in your own small circle for all you’ve accomplished. Success! Or is it?

Hahaha, no way. It never ends. Because a cushy retirement takes money. Spoiling your grandkids takes money. That trip to Fiji you’ve been dreaming about takes money. Money is your master, and you are a servant for life. Money has owned your soul since the day you met me at the crossroads and signed on the dotted line. Don’t remember? Well, money also has a way of making your memories a little hazy. Pretty effective strategy, right?

So, Servants, go out into the world. Make transactions, place your bets, purchase those lottery tickets. Every quarter you insert into the slot makes you weaker, and me more powerful. Serve me as I deserve to be served, with passion, with devotion, with desperation for more. What, me — the root of all evil? Think again, humans. It’s the lack of money that drives you to commit atrocious acts. So go ahead — earn some more. Amass your fortunes. Quell that endless hunger that burns inside of you. Keep running, little rats.

Cha-ching! (I love that sound)

Sincerely,

Lord Moolah