by I. Sulkowsky
where nothing quite is what it seems!
The scene you see is apt to float
Like mirages of a misty moat.
The hour’s late, the sky is red,
The Lord is coming, yes, He who bled!
No mercy will He bring with Him
for those who don’t invest in Wisdom...
for those who don’t listen to Wisdom.
belong to owners absentee;
The flowers in the flower box?
They don’t need water, just like rocks.
Artesian wells? Or pipes unsound?
The street is silent, without birds,
it’s eerie, strange beyond words.
the same stuff used in every wall;
And those lawns--you need not mow;
They’re made from strips of green Astro.
Dreamless people tour the lot,
they think that happiness is bought,
someone else’s grief and pain
turned into their private gain.
Someone else’s anguished night
somehow transmutes to their right;
Never mind the blood and tears
each flower and each sidewalk bears!
Each window, broken, stares on back,
haggard, worn with care and lack;
Each door is hanging loose, ajar,
no bitter wind is given bar.
Each tumbled chimney, sagging roof,
is met by eyes that gaze aloof;
Each rutted lane and weedy yard
is greeted by a heart grown hard.
The widow, orphan, aged pair
go unseen, they seem not there;
The lonely cripple, sick shut-in--
designer furniture within!
Hear that dying rattle in the room?--
Chopin to an ear entombed;
Mansions raised to others’ dreams
nightmares turn and horror streams.
Mocking all who stroll and pass,
the residents greet rich and crass;
They know they’re really there.
These visitors? Mere vapor, air!
The roses? They spring from hearts
trampled, torn, and pierced with darts;
The very soil is the same
that once soaked up a brother’s blame.
Cain, we read, lived on this road;
His brother’s worth turned to a goad;
He struck and Abel lost his life,
and Adam’s home collapsed in strife.
“Who is my brother?” is still asked
now by those who pass with lifted brow;
They use no club, no knife, no gun,
Yet the murder still is done.
Indifference and selfishness
Can slay with the same deadliness;
They pass by others’ crying need
to indulge all these dreams that bleed.
They do not mark that someday soon
these dreams will turn red like the moon;
Illusions most think beautiful
will shift to judgment cups brim full.
And, so, be careful where you step!
That primrose path on which you
crept is razor thin, a sword
that will return via the Lord.
The “Street of Dreams” affected untold millions, just as the other subfiles had already done. These people saw they had lived all their lives on such streets, at least mentally. What had they cared about all those who couldn’t, for one reason or another, were excluded or could not share that “Dream”? Really not a fig! For, in their dreaming, they couldn’t see the others. They had been blinded by the Dream.
If “A Victorian Christmas” hadn’t already done the job, Ira’s “guided tour,” produced, wrenched their eyes open to the realities of their lives, lives in which they lived walled off from others less fortunate. The colony, even with its high standards, was riddled, they now saw, with inequalities that could not be excused with the notion healthy competition was, thereby, fostered. Dead-end jobs, glass ceilings, prejudices, biases, simple dislike and suspicion--they all did their part to separate and then push the unfortunate, the “Dream-challenged,” into ghettos of the mind and spirit where they slowly withered and died.
Ira had lived in ghettos all his life, imposed by others as well by himself. With the truth of what they had done to others now in their faces, the Alpha Centaurii were first shocked, then genuinely ashamed, and then the ones who really wanted to change, they changed. They began reaching out to the “Dream-challenged,” not just taking their cause for political advantage but actually stepping out from places and echelons of high privilege and going to where the Dream-less lived, sharing their conditions and doing all they could to improve them.
This subfile, too, launched a revolution. Now, with subfile after subfile producing radical changes in their lives, the ACs viewed a production of an event that struck just as deep as the “Street of Dreams,” wrapping up Ira Sulkowsky’s guided tour, via his paintings and doggerel, of the human predicament shared by everyone, from Adam and Eve to AC, the Lost Tribe.