It’s like the Hanseatic League
thriving on trade and new business.
It calculates like bankers in Zurich.
It weighs and stacks ingots,
tracks odds and bets on Belmont and Preakness,
the Grand National, rugby, and cricket.
Even in war, its numbers can be fun,
as long as the boundaries and bullets
are moving away from us,
but closer to Moscow or Venus,
to Baghdad or Mars,
or to whichever destination
our shepherds proclaim
is in the thrall of a new Hitler today.
The devil resides on its chessboard;
in shell games and deceptions.
And it loves nothing better
than to wave a false flag
to make the other side
of the world’s brain take the blame.
It will never consider
that every flesh-and-blood pawn of ourselves
is gone forever and can’t be redeemed
once it’s sacrificed on that chessboard
to the mind’s heartless queen.
But what about the heart,
though it can muster no host
against bishop or king,
though it can finance no fleet?
Can any of it survive
the suicide of the world’s mind
or the beginning
of the countdown
from ten to naught,
to Thanatos or the Keres,
to a whimper or a shriek?