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Monday, September 14, 2020


by Gary Glauber


My potent potable’s amber glow
reflects the lights and I reflect

that we are in jeopardy.
Everything has become a contest.

Surviving a Global Pandemic for 1000, Alex.
Science becomes a new focal point.

The game is charged with toxic partisanship
and many ignore even the obvious clues.

It’s a contest rife with unfathomed wonder,
close and chaotic and requiring an overall knowledge

that frightens the general populace,
yet the game continues to another round.

Heading to commercial, the camera
pans over a studio audience—too old, too white.

Suddenly, a few minutes of pharmaceutical ads
tells me of exotic brand names that can cure my ills

so long as I’m fine with a litany of side effects 
that seem worse than the targeted ailment.

And soon we are back. Alex battling
against his own threatened mortality;

contestants making small talk 
while trying not to self-embarrass

through slow or ignorant response.
Alex may chide them for being too young

to know a particular answer, and this
is the microcosm of how culture shifts,

the ways generational views differ on 
what defines patriotism, which lives matter.

Rule of Law for 600, Alex. 
Conspiracy Theories for 800.

The numbers indicate much is at stake
as we collectively head into the final round.

The category is irrelevant:
life revealed as a ruthless game.  

What are the parameters of true compassion?
When is a life worth less than economic progress?

Do the necessary math, then
wager it all when you realize this:

all the answers have been phrased as questions 
for far too long.   

Gary Glauber is a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. He champions the underdog, and strives to survive modern life’s absurdities. He has three collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press), Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and Rocky Landscape with Vagrants (Cyberwit) as well as two chapbooks, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press) and The Covalence of Equanimity (SurVision Books), a winner of the 2019 James Tate International Poetry Prize. Another collection, A Careful Contrition (Shanti Arts Publishing), is forthcoming soon.