by: Frederick Pollack

What had happened? One moment
the upper-under and lower-working
classes, vast, tattooed,
eyes averted,
randomly pugnacious,
or both, were roaming
that restroom of a lobby,
popcorn underfoot, their children
crowding the grimy arcade before
the shows. On offer: vampire blacks,
idiot race-car drivers,
supernatural thugs, and suddenly this darkness.
My reaction was awe: Al Qaeda
was choosing smaller targets.
I could see the logic. (Though some of the
around me would say, no doubt,
it was the Mossad…) With the need
to chatter one feels at such times, I found
a paleoconservative to talk to. (I knew him
by his prissy vest and his unblinking stare.)
“You know, we probably regard
these people with the same complacent
despair—except you think they’re free
and want them to be obedient
and I the reverse. Though I wonder,
why were you standing in line
to drop ten IQ points?” He
lay silent, disdainful of me and the rising
flames. More good-naturedly:
“It’s strange how an old socialist
and an old reactionary
find themselves in a similar impasse.”