Making the World Safe for Autocracy
(Feb. 16, 1996)
There is delight in dismantling a beautiful machine.
Each screw unscrewed, never to be rescrewed.
Lordy, I succumbed to scrap-happiness
With little or no hope of reconstruction.
Building up is so bland, so ’fifties, so Ozzie and Harriet;
We explore through decay, we gain understanding through destruction,
And once we have obtained wisdom we sit on it.
I have forgotten more than you will ever know,
For I was there, taking it apart—taking it all apart—
And there is nothing left for you to plumb but vacancy.
It is simply your fault that you were not born sooner.
This will be held against you daily.
Your ignorance will be blissful for me—
It will keep you marching in perfect time,
Unaware that men did not always give themselves senselessly
To those who professed to know what was best for them.
I’m basking in the joy of my authority,
My crossed ankles resting on a huge teak desk that I will not dismantle.
I own the world, which is gone now;
I alone remember those things which are now ruins—
I visit those things in my mind, unaccompanied.
I hold the lease on Memory Lane, but I refuse to rent my property.
I dominate the world of flat surfaces and vacation in my brain.
I would prefer to live forever, but my death will be delicious;
Many will rejoice, but none so fully as I:
I have beat the Pharaohs, and all the other despots
Who tried to abscond into the next world with the silverware.
I have shown up those wanna-bes,
I have perfected their half-assed craft—
When I go, I am taking it with me! —Andy Senior (Feb. 16, 1996)