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Poetry #539
(published May 19, 2011)
November 33
by Kenneth Anthony Slaathaug
Kilo, Lima, Mike, Oscar and November
Three decades running, January to December

Part of a triad of air, land and sea
From the fallout, there is no sanctuary

A conference call between all five sites
Can lead to a litany of winter nights

Unnaturally eerie, functionally weird
These are the outcomes that everyone feared

The end of days foretold by prophets before
These foreshadows are no longer the stuff of lore

Fallout landing, totally salting the Earth
The mother unfruitful, unable to give birth

Her children can't grasp the concept of sphere
Their land claims are only protected by fear

Whether in concert or by an agent gone sour
We are now inside the final quarter hour

Even though the first shrub started drawing down
We are on part to go six feet below the ground

Not the sixty feet where the officers are
Everyone else is now part of the perennial scar

Despite being paved over, hope is fleeting
On our own shit we shall be eating

Standing on the concrete of November 33
Our fate is totally determined, it is not free

We cracked the nucleus, the glue of physicality
And we've tried to reel in Pandora so frantically

The inability to do so has us acting graphically
We can't overcome it and so we act erratically

Stupidity reigns and the the mistake occurs
Unleashing a successive set of blinding blurs

No wonder the adroit travelers have passed us by
Despite our ability to fly high up into the sky

But that doesn't matter, not a single consideration
The open sky is just another theater of operation

All we understand is sin, death and proliferation
And the concept of dominance by a single nation

The bards have lost faith, the artists are done
Painting optimism is the move that makes one numb

Numb to the fact that we are slaves to negation
To disavow the fact leads to angst and frustration

So write down your thoughts before you say farewell
Welcome all earthlings to the bonfire of nuclear hell

Stoically standing, an ironic landmark on an empty prairie
A barren landscape before and after, it's funny and scary

Fifteen facilities, standing always armed and always ready
Away from the populations centers, a dichotomy so heavy

This is the basest human nature, a weird sort of paradox
Living to the bitter end set to our own watches and clocks

Kenneth Anthony Slaathaug lives in east-central North Dakota, in the heart of America's Cold War Nuclear Missile Defense program. Ken is a tour guide at a former missile silo.

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