A Story of Power
Falling through the eye of time
puny humans shout out to gods
tossing prayers like smoke to the forces of the universe
till one eye opens in darkness.
It has it’s own plans but
we wake it, shake it, make deals with it
untill power is ours, jumps through hoops on command.
Why do they do it, these powers?
And what do they want in return?
Life inside a culture is life, just the way things are
it breathes you inside it like the air,
all that you believe is Normalized
Humans crawl tenderly through the present on thin ice.
The conqueror, history’s author
tells us that Ancient Aztecs believed in human sacrifice
Calls them Heathens—appeasing with beating hearts
Calls them Barbarians—scaring even Conquistadores
Imagines lines of divine scapegoats
Says they fell like flakes
like flashes of fishes, turning direction as one up to heaven
levering the whole culture higher towards god’s good side.
They tell us the Aztec sacrificed to terrifying gods
called one, Enemy of Both Sides
Called another, We Who Are His Slaves
If it’s true that they called them with blood and fear
I say their relationship to that was clear.
they didn’t have mass media or science
couldn’t Google how it worked
you just give ‘em living human hearts
it makes the sun come up.
The amazing invisibilty of power
just the cost of breathing here.
We walk on thinning ice, sprinkling fairy dust
—We’re all slaves to god
in our time, we don’t understand how electricity works.
0h, Technicians of the sacred—
Xcel. Exxon. G.E.
You pray way out there over vast distances
With fiber-optic coal mines, industrial waste continents
bandwidths to hell.
One eye opens in darkness.
Mountaintop removal, Fracking, Fukushima—all the pipelines, all the wires
We flip the switch and wall-to-wall power grids begin
tar sands tremble
we worship, from a distance, on screens.
If we flipped the switch,
and blood started to pour down the temple walls
If we turned on this light and life crumpled to the ground
a mountaintop exploded, somebody strangles in a crib
a womin loses all her hair
Flip the switch and
nukes contaminate 10,000 generations —
well, that’s progress.
We wouldn’t call it sacrifice.
That word’s too hot, like a beating heart
Give us keyboards, outlets, avoid at all cost, true contact with the world.
We learn to call the real world our jobs
We bend science backwards to avoid sacrificing anything
We don’t call it murder
just the way things are.
They numb us with data
swaddle us in darkness
We beg the gods for blindfolds just keep the lights on.
Our minds, colonized as banana plantations
while we feed the world to our machines.
It’s a story
it’s a prayer for power
it’s progress: what they say you can’t stop
it’s Progress, which could be called Escalation
It’s not a primitive myth, it’s Science
it’s our god
you press this button, the Power comes on
everybody loves the button
Life begins with light, every day.
Enemy of Both Sides. We Who Are His Slaves.
Flip this switch, blood starts flowing rivers
no one here is running for their lives or screaming in the streets.
Sludge fills rivers, the air and oceans toxify,
radiation is a verb.
Science doesn’t say
We are all slaves of god who created the world for humans to dominate
science just acts like it
Aztec people knew it took tremendous sacrifice to keep gods happy
what do we know?
We flip that switch. Something happens.
We don’t know what it wants
or why or how
We just join the great apocalypse,
a traffic jam on thinning ice—
Whaddaya gonna do?
Organize a resistance movement against gods?
Do you believe everything the conquerors say
or are you ready to blockade with our bodies
the blood soaked altars of those temples?
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