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Don't You Understand?

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  • Don't You Understand?

    A fire dances, dark and dreary,
    Painting their outlines on the wall.
    Two men: one strong, one weak and weary,
    One sitting straight, one standing small.
    His back to flame, face pale and darker,
    His velvet chaise makes him look starker,
    Than his companion in the room,
    Both wearing suits, both smell of doom.
    He's dressed all black in a tuxedo,
    He has his wine and his cigar,
    Not quite the devil, but not far.
    His gaze akin to a torpedo,
    It penetrates the man in gray,
    And so begins the judgment day.

    The shorter man is a professor,
    He's got the glasses and the beard.
    Although he feels himself the lesser,
    The taller man he never feared.
    His eyes say what he knows is boundless,
    He has seen things he thought were soundless,
    But if the tension weren't so high,
    You'll see the twinkle in his eye.
    You'll see that though it's been forever,
    There was a time back in his youth,
    Before this man found out the truth,
    His smile was never gone. Not ever!
    Now many wrinkles hide his fears,
    On a face wise beyond its years.

    He is our designated speaker,
    He'll fight the case for planet Earth,
    He'll get across what we, the weaker,
    Cannot make government give worth.
    This is our battle and we're losing,
    But it is not of our own choosing,
    And so they've chosen one to speak,
    On our behalf to voice the weak.
    He has but one thing on his planner,
    It is to make them Understand,
    And not to drive them from the land,
    He'll do so in a peaceful manner.
    Now that his purpose here is clear,
    Let's hope that things will change this year.

    This room, you'll find, is quite well hidden,
    It can't be seen by mortal eyes,
    No one, in fact, if they were bidden,
    Could find this room, or where it lies.
    This room exists for this one meeting,
    When they arrived, they exchanged greeting,
    And when they leave, there'll be no room,
    Except the lingering scent of doom.
    This room has but a single function:
    Through time and distance this room soars,
    It has no windows and no floors,
    It is an interstellar junction.
    And in these depths of outer space,
    True Understanding will take place.

    The scene unfreezes, time is flowing,
    The figures slowly move with care.
    No need to hurry where you're going,
    If you have all the time to spare.
    This gray man gives his throat a clearing,
    He knows the other one is sneering,
    An ego bigger than this room,
    That's filling with the stench of doom.
    The lecturer, his hands all shaking,
    Summons a blackboard and some chalk,
    Not that he needs them for his talk,
    It's merely just to soothe that aching.
    He starts the talk that he has planned.
    He starts it "Don't you Understand?"

    He so continues, deftly speaking,
    A picture often seen before,
    He teaches, he's not power-seeking,
    Unlike the man he stands before.
    A scientist and politician,
    One has the power, one, the mission,
    To make clear all misunderstood.
    The first, uninterested in good,
    Holds all the keys, mentally grainy,
    Air as entitled as a prince,
    The type the scientists convince.
    So let's watch brawny fight the brainy,
    And see what matters lie at hand,
    That we must make kings understand.

    He started big: "The climate's changing,
    And there is so much to be done.
    We'll face effects, all of them ranging,
    From monsoon rain to burning sun.
    Killing the ecosystem quickly,
    And spewing toxins vile and sickly.
    The Earth's not heated at this pace,
    Since long before the human race.
    We need to stop with fossil fuel,
    It's overused and running out.
    Although there is another route,
    For fusion is our crowning jewel.
    A revolution is at hand!"
    He added, "Don't you Understand?"

    "Our R and D is just appalling,
    Rather, the budget that it gets.
    Instead we make sure bombs keep falling,
    So we can play with tanks and jets.
    It's lack of cash to research fusion,
    So we maintain this grand delusion,
    And it's our primary expense,
    For half our budget is defense.
    There's always war somewhere or other,
    And most of us turn a blind eye,
    As many who we don't know die,
    Those who were someone's dad and brother.
    If only guns could hit the sand!"
    He echoed, "Don't you Understand?"

    "Yet there is something more appalling,
    Than killing in a distant fight,
    The issues make my skin start crawling:
    It's murder just to show our might.
    I could decide to, if I wanted,
    Go buy a gun, unstopped, undaunted.
    A year's two hundred times a war,
    Some thirty thousand dead and more.
    And it's not banned. Oh, no. Far from it.
    For every single time we try,
    The protesters all start to cry,
    And we're so scared of them, I vomit,
    And beg that firearms be banned!"
    He whispered, "Don't you Understand?"

    "And then there's medical attention,
    Which they are ready to provide,
    If in return you give your pension,
    Your house, your children, and your bride.
    For medicine, for some odd reason,
    Could be for gun wounds or flu season,
    Is not quite free for you to get,
    It comes with smiles, hugs, and debt.
    So many there don't have the money,
    To pay for some half decent care.
    A basic need, and yet unfair.
    And life looks a whole lot less sunny,
    When you can't meet their high demand."
    He shivered, "Don't you Understand?"

    "And then there's those whom they call ladies,
    Except that what many have done,
    Is have them lie on a Mercedes,
    As objects, clothed in next to none.
    And then there's issues with their wages,
    Like something from the Middle Ages,
    On him, no dollar is not spent,
    On her, seventy eight percent.
    Some cultures, those the most outdated,
    Just cut away what lets them love,
    Make children, whole or part thereof.
    A hundred million! Mutilated!
    They bear the scars! The cruel brand!"
    He shouted, "Don't you Understand?"

    And there sat still the politician,
    The smile long since off his face.
    He's made no move and no admission.
    His eyes stare blankly into space.
    And the shell crumbles as he's thinking,
    And into his own thoughts he's sinking.
    And though his soul once came from hell,
    He's finally waking from the spell.
    That all of this was his creation,
    And he's done nothing all his life,
    But cause them pain, and grief, and strife.
    He stands and with determination,
    He speaks, for once, not in command,
    "I thank you. Now I understand."