It’s you, centered
a childish thing of wants and gimees
value-locked down
the bubble fits like a second skin
like a prophylactic
keeping you clean of the disease of other minds
mine, me first, mine
petty and constrictive
and then the bubble expands
to include family and clan
and for thousands of years
poking right back to our animal past
that’s all there was
outside immediate kinship
existed a range of beings:
monsters, brutes, heretics
worthy only of spear point or sword
subhuman scum
filthy, fecal-smeared and stinking
disposing of them was duty
thus was life –
dutiful slaughter
honorable torture
righteous rape
the world of five senses
and a lone content provider: Church
blessing barbarity under the sign of the cross,
an existence wretched, low and controlled,
but then it happened
the greatest horror parochial power monopolies have ever known: Books
a publishing explosion in the age of exploration
the globe well-traversed, opened a new frontier – inward
off came the cultural condoms
and that disease of other minds, once feared,
now passionately consumed
a sensual friction of varied ideas
literacy racing to empathy – the path to compassion –
the compass into other lives, foreign custom,
enlightenment and reason, but of course,
nothing trends exclusively toward progress
old juvenile temperaments can arise
mine, me first, mine: mein, mein kampf, mein
burps of rude social behavior:
Nazis, khmer rouge, objectivism
temporary infarctions against the overwhelming tide
washing out their failed edifices of sand
their cloistered paranoiac delusions
as small towns grow into cities
and the terror of people not like you recedes,
finally we might approach the time
when calmly, softly
practically without notice and of no concern
the bubble pops


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