For Sale

By Frederick Pollack

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They want the perks of death without its drawbacks.
They finance the idea
that consciousness is distorted
data, always delayed, the self
a costly entitlement, but they can fix that.
Shrink-wrap the underclass. One-time payments
to the families of liberals, with the proviso
there won’t be any more. But they too,
the deciders, in an odd fellow-feeling,
want sleep. Vast doses of sleep
are better than psychotropics
and trophy-wives. The essential
liberty is liberty from dreams.
The poor, of course, in their warehouses become
piped-in reruns, but the masters
go on buying and speculating
through clever proxies. Eventually we (in a sense)
leave earth, in a translucent block
like a plaque. Lines on graphs
go up and up, unseen. Eventually
we-in-a-sense huddle
for energy around the last stars, then
in the ergosphere of black holes,
but even those dissolve. Though the proxies seek
a new investment, there is only
more comprehensive sleep; and they feel, perhaps,
a delegated grief.
Poor machines, poor force-fields,
still guarding my insomnia deep in their files.

Frederick Pollack