wordsout by godfrey rust
Welcome To The Real World  < 46 of 59 >



31.12.99

In the afternoon we pushed 
     through the funfair on the Mall,
went twice on one of the less 
     gravitationally-challenging rides,  
saw a tv personality on a big screen  
     in the sunset in Trafalgar Square
and rode back on the Piccadilly Line 
     for the early evening service at St Mary’s, 

where a few dozen sat quietly 
     to hear the old familiar promises
and shrug off the weight of resolutions 
     unmade or unkept— 
a conspiracy of silence 
     with the shared alibi of being human—
travelling back later for the fireworks 
     with thousands making determined pilgrimage 

and looking for meaning 
     in the rollover of figures,
gazing upwards into the sky 
     not at an apocalypse bursting like bombs 
above Baghdad or Kosovo
     but a harmless display, 
famous for fifteen minutes, 
     visible from outer space 

to catch the eye of any passing god 
     accepting worshippers at this point in time,
while down here each watches 
     from his or her vantage point— 
myidentity@anywhere.com 
     in y2k version 1.0—
as the digital nightmare of the 21st century 
     opens up like a lapdancer:

on Millennium Eve a planetful of celebrants 
     exiled from one another
search for something which is not found  
     in the image of the couple at Green Park,  
the woman pleading,
     brushing away tears,
the man’s face immobile, set against 
     the unattainable truth of a century’s high water mark,

the notion
     All you need is love

stupid, nave in execution 
     if not in concept,  
a cry of hope vanishing 
     in bangs and flashes:
as we escape, the virus of the old century 
     is smuggled in in the bloodstream of the new.


Godfrey Rust, godfrey@wordsout.co.uk. See here for permissions.