Ultimate Control (from the series ‘Voices from the Future’) If you’ve the aptitude and love the role, the Army’s always been the place to be. Rise in the ranks, absorbing strategy: coordinate, consolidate, control. And what a blessing when those new implants gave mind-to-mind awareness… and command. Like the unthinking fingers on your hand you can maneuver thousands with a glance. The battle then’s to see what you can wrest from other leaders, fighting mind-to-mind; you have to grow, or you get left behind: can you control ten million, like the best? Of would-be kings there’s never been a dearth... will it be only one who rules all Earth?
Ticking Away You have hopes. You don’t expect that they’ll ever come to pass but you drink, think and reflect as you look into the glass… And you wonder what will happen while your life just ticks away: Tick, tick, tick, tick… end of play. Science’s prognostications, things you’d pick up in a flash: soon they’ll start rejuvenations if you only had the cash… Cash cuts those who’d live forever from the rest as with a knife: Tick, tick, tick, tick… end of life. But you don’t like thoughts of dying so you hope you’ve got a soul; and though preachers are caught lying Heaven seems attainable… But there’s got to be a Heaven or prayer’s just a waste of breath: Tick, tick, tick, tick… towards death. Though you think that you’re so clever, you’ve got goals but not the How. Play the lottery for ever it must pay off - why not now? But you never do the homework so at question time you’re stuck: Tick, tick, tick, tick… out of luck. That affair you never had with the person down the street for you’re really not that bad and besides, you rarely meet… But it sits there like a present that’s unopened on a shelf: Tick, tick, tick, tick... end of self. So there’s all the other options for the things you’d like to do: travel, study, home, adoptions, building family anew, but you’re aging while you’re thinking and the chances go on by: Tick, tick, tick, tick… till you die.
Homage From British Expats Thou noble, purest British race! Thy children we, Inheriting thy every trace; From thy straight back, unmoving face, We learn the truest social grace, Pomposity. To thee the new is never good, ’Tis duty shirked. Thou’dst never think, and much less brood; Thou duty-bound eatst wooden food; Thou ever ramrod-straight hast stood, And never worked. Britain! Served on a silver tray Thine Empire’s tea – Respectfully we beg to say We praise thee, but we cannot stay, We have our duty far away, Escaping thee.
Robin Helweg-Larsen is Series Editor for Potcake Chapbooks (Sampson Low Ltd.) and proprietor of the Form in Formless Times blog. His formal poems have appeared widely in literary magazines.