You Sit On The Back Row
by John Gohorry
Sat 2nd Apr 2016
You sit on the back row
watching the action unravel
- a child at a border fence
blinded by tear gas,
a dictator, ninety-two now, partying on
in his drought-ridden dictatorship,
the seismic aftershocks
of an underground atomic explosion,
a massacre in a high school,
starvation, rapes, torture, beheadings.
On stage, public speaking
is an art of deception,
the candidates in the roadshow
building walls with their rhetoric,
and party smears all that’s on offer
to purge our dystopias.
The Senecan pageant rolls on,
its bloodthirsty improvisations
remorseless as clockwork;
the roadshow antagonists deliver
the lines they have learned by heart.
It must all run its course, you think,
nothing can change it now.
Except you, in the darkness,
free to stay, free to leave,
can exercise freedom of thought,
and now the lights come on
leave your seat on the back row,
walk out onto the street, into
the rest of your life and there,
resolute in the hurl of traffic,
make what difference you can.