18 April 2018

Rationing Extraordinaire

The teaching machine, a mechanical
invention to automate the task of programmed learning.




Surfeit on food or sleep or pain or death
no more, with non-transferable ration
machinery wired into our brains:

A little bit like clockwork-orange drugs,
the unpleasantness of taking more than
our right share is prohibiting.  It hurts.

Degrees of joy will follow to sooth pain
and heal grief, metered through kindness, beauty,
and trades—value for value, gift for gift.

Machinery of brains wired to hands
and lips and other extremities seems
constraint and, therefore, like lack of freedom—

Yet this embedded conscience is the role
a fair adult might have in childrearing.
Move over, Plato and B. F. Skinner.

Benevolent dictatorship is my
desire, perpetually waging peace.
It shouldn’t be harder to build than bombs.


Skinner box
I know, I know.  It all depends on who is in charge.  Human nature is slithery.  I wouldn't be writing like this if I wasn't discouraged by killing and racism these days.  Posted for my prompt:

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Invention



My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 


© 2018 Susan L. Chast   


5 comments:

Panchali said...

"Benevolent dictatorship is my
desire, perpetually waging peace.
It shouldn’t be harder to build than bombs."-- I would rather live under the "less perfect" system for the entirety of my life...
Old traps and sticky paper are awful. As for the high pitched emitters - ouch...I can hear them.
Something is drawing me to a simpler existence. I've always been a minimalist, but lately I feel I need less and less.
A powerful poem...Susan. Thanks for sharing!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Your closing lines are profoundly truthful. Why has man not outgrown his warring nature when, clearly, war gets us nowhere?

Old Egg said...

War is about profit as the weapons needed are expended quickly and more profit will be made from their replacement. Manufacturers and investors love war but care little for their brothers and sisters. I just don't know why we are so blind to this. I do know really it is that not much money is to made from people smiling at each other.

Myrna R. said...

I like the idea of waging peace. Wish we ourselves could be that dictator within and wage peace in our lives. Great poem Susan!

Kim Russell said...


I love the lines:
'...perpetually waging peace.
It shouldn’t be harder to build than bombs'.