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Politics of Abnegation | Hieronymus Bosch

America is the logical conclusion of the Roman Empire.
A country whose potentates learned from the missteps of
French aristocracy. Napoleon sold the dream of equality,
and usurped the status quo only to replace it with his own.
 
America, an accelerated civics experiment,
hydrated with the blood of the Indians,
built on the backs of imported Africans,
Suffragettes had their moment, before the
social upheaval of the 60’s generation.
 
The American aristocracy learned that those who do not
remember are forced to repeat, and thus instituted
safeguards to protect their pretty necks.
 
In the midst of cultural, civil, and social revolution,
a strategy of self-censorship was implemented.
Successively perfected, and massed produced.
A brilliant mechanism was gradually introduced,
to induce the citizenry to accept and practice self-annihilation.
 
Like the urban myth of a frog boiling to death,
the system that was designed is deceptively pleasant.
A ghost ship adrift in a placid sea of consumerism and avarice,
Where twin sirens beckon us to inertia with trinkets, baubles
and financed lifestyles.
 
And instead of receiving the promised fulfillment as advertised;
the cars, the clothes/jewelry, and the four walls of our abodes,
have been used to construct our self-imposed debtor’s prisons.
Wherein, our entire existence is centered upon maintaining
the facade, as much for ourselves, as for others.
 
Thus cocooned, all energy becomes expended in pursuit
and maintenance, and slowly siphons off creativity, confidence,
and vision, leaving only desiccated carcasses and parched
chests, from which have been ripped,
the still beating hearts that we failed to protect.
 
We relinquish that unique capacity that makes us human,
and instead become reduced,
to the basest impulse of survival
hands to mouths, feet to work,
badges hung around necks,
like so many cow bells, touched to pads,
access denied or granted,
coffee to purchase, screens adjusted,
keys to punch, a tasteless life,
day-to-day, month-to-month,
year-to-year.
 
People instinctively know they are dying,
from a thirst for authenticity of lives lived fully.
Americans, and increasingly the global citizenry,
have become like an army of lab rats,
tested and prodded to determine the extremis
of our tolerance, for control and mediocrity.
 
We somnambulate,
yet seek to feel through the prick of a needle.
Through the prick of a member, as it invades our
sweet, wet, fecundity, a fleeting unity all too soon over.
 
Whilst others indulge in alcohol or cheap thrills, and
those who can ill afford it, dole out chunks of their salaries,
because “if you don’t play, you can’t win”.
Implicit is the false promise of instant transformation
from invisible plebeian to invincible noblesse.
 
Jonesing for a fix, we daily tune in, to watch fictionalized
accounts, of lives totally scripted, for liquid medium.
Where, in these insensate, cacophonous tales,
we strain to find a path to the real.
 
These virtual dreams, further diminish our capacity
to navigate the labyrinth of an increasingly consolidated
world, where basic necessities of water, food, and clean air,
are wielded by the 1%, as tools in the arsenal of populace
subjugation. Subtly and judiciously employed,
to maintain their permanent ascendancy.
 
Obsequious apostles who feed on the dregs from tables of these
captains; often known as “talking heads”, are dispatched as
overseers, to cajole and facilitate the sacrifice of “lesser” souls
upon these altars of irrelevance. But their greatest value lie,
in the ability to titillate and announce, a string of depravity and
inhumanity perpetrated around the world and packaged as “news”.
 
Diminished thus, we seek solace in the misfortunes of our fellow
human beings, revel in their public humiliations, and in perverse
elevation of murderers, rapists, pedophiles, con-artists, we
provide millions of hits each day with just a few key terms
on a world-wide web, where search engines, delivers to us a full
report on the most debased and fascinating of us.
 
It seems, if we were honest, that our curiosity lays in
these reprobates’ apparent lack of regret, whilst we lament
and envy them the courage to act upon their inner urgings,
and wonder how they remain immune to the framework
constructed to keep us tethered and emasculated.
 
Upon these pyres of stillborn dreams and interrupted desires,
sits perched the illusion of equality. The underpinnings of this,
being the basis of the American dream. Come here broke,
and in a few short years, with the right con/opportunity/sponsor,
one can join the vaulted ranks of the well-heeled monied crowd.
 
Born here broke, claw your way out of harsh ghettos;
to play, fight, sing, and dance on some titans
screen, stage, or multimillion dollar arena stadium.
 
Our aristocracy has carefully
rebranded their image, to stave off the ire of the populace;
all the while paying pittance to their
Gladiators (football, basketball, pugilist, etc.),
Entertainers (singers, comedians, actors, etc.),
Sexual Sirens (models, trophy wives, adult entertainers, etc.),
employed and deployed to keep the public engaged and
placated, and we mere mortals pay into the kitty
and marvel at how much these owned “assets” are getting paid.
 
Beware! Wake up!
Lest we find ourselves even deeper in the mist.
A fog has crept across the intellectual and artistic
landscape, wherein any hope of commercial success
comes at the sacrifice of illumination, authenticity, or autonomy.
And our minds, increasingly trained to process only fodder,
are unable to digest the magnitude of the
quandary in which we find ourselves.
 
We must wake up and step out of mediocrity’s and
mendacity’s deceptively soothing tendrils, for if we fall where we
lay, and relinquish the power of our intellect, prowess,
and creativity, we shall wake to find ourselves in a cold,
satin lined, dirt bound bed; to which many of us have already
succumbed; and above whom rests in granite or marble,
markers as testament to lives interrupted
and dreams unfulfilled.
 
It is no different now than at any other time in human history,
we seem by design to seek to subjugate and inflict misery.
We speak of vaulted concepts, yet establish systems
to practice one up one down entrenchment.
Take heed, the rich are always with us,
and Saturn seeks eternally to nullify his children.
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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

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