I asked the guy what it all meant,
what was the deal with all the murder,
hate, killings, beatings, rapes, random
attacks, religious zealotry, blood-thirsty
ideologies and such, what was it all about?
He just shrugged at me, smiled and kept
sweeping the same spot of sidewalk with
his worn out old broom. I shoved my hands
in my pockets and kept walking until I got
to a flower shop.
I went inside and I asked the clerk the same,
what was the deal with the beheadings, the
lynchings, the fires, the traumas, the abandoned
children, the bombs, the sadists? She said they
were out of roses but to come back Tuesday.
The rain started, I pulled my hood up against
the pelting winds, my socks got soaked in puddle
after puddle. I looked up and the sun was still
shining, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen.
Yet I was drenched, in the rain of our human misery.
A tanker truck rolled past me on the street,
the large tanker had the words “ Grade-A Fear Juice”
painted on the side and it was headed to the near-by
public school cafeteria. The tanker had a sign on
its back advertising for a cable news station.
I shook the dampness from my head and followed
the truck as it made its rounds, from schools to offices,
to government buildings to the mansions of the wealthy,
to the huddled masses of the poor, to crack houses to
sixty-thousand dollar a night re-hab centers.
The tanker truck driver was formless and shapeless,
in shadow and secrecy he went about his work.
Amping up our inner and often irrational fears of
boogeymen and bumps in the night into terrorists
and dirty bombs; minor concerns into terrifying nightmares.
I thought it was just us
creating these things through jealousy,
misunderstanding, poor education, selective
listening, bigotry, and run of the mill untamed
But no, there’s a tanker truck driving around,
creating all this fear of each other, of our
neighbors, we’re not to blame at all for all
the terrors we’ve permitted. It’s that tanker guy,
doing it all. And none of it means anything at all.