“How to Lose a Democracy”
– Kathryn Kirkpatrick
First you believe you can have
whatever you want
whenever you want it.
Make the desire concrete –
white goods or appliances or jewelry –
anything you can’t afford.
And let someone else define it,
so that what you do not need
you cannot do without.
Forget the night sky
and clear water over rocks after rain.
Forget to say what you see,
and courage, forget courage entirely.
Cede what you know to be right
to comfort and plenty. Ask the land
to bear each wound. Ask the animals
to leave their nests and lairs.
Having lost so much, it will be easy
to unhinge language,
to unname each flower and tree.
Call occupation liberation.
Call surveillance protection.
You see how little it will take
to fail at what you say you believe?
History will say you lost your nerve,
if anyone has the nerve to write history.