“Morbid Fascination,” “Food Pantry in Winter: A Visit” and “The Drone”

by Andrew Posner

Morbid Fascination

Yesterday morning I read with morbid fascination

That “more than 40% of insect species are declining”

And nature’s ecosystems are at risk

Of a “catastrophic collapse.” [1]

In my $70,000 electric car on the way to work

(charged by solar panels

On my 3,500-square-foot suburban home),

I listened with morbid fascination to the news

About Trump’s latest efforts to entertain

Our restless, bored, attention-starved nation.

At the office, the social media feed on my $1,000 smartphone

Told of another indictment, another mass shooting,

Famine in Yemen, celebrity divorces, photos of well-heeled

Adult men with shoe polish on their faces—

Distractions from my nonprofit job tackling poverty

And injustice in America.

Back at home I was too worn-out to exercise, or read,

Or work, or write:

Instead I watched with empty fascination

Three-hours of online videos—

Comedy routines, “epic fails,” cycling races,

Cycling how-to guides.

And then at last I fell asleep pining for the new bicycle,

Expensive, carbon-fiber, lightweight,

That just like losing weight,

Just like being well-read,

Just like working 24/7,

Just like publishing a magnum opus,

I knew would never bring to life the ideal me

Which I glimpse in my fleeting, silent hours…

  1. Carrington, Damian. “Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten the collapse of nature.’” The Guardian. 10 Feb. 10 2019, <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature>

Food Pantry in Winter: A Visit

The cold light of winter filters through dusty windows,

Mixes with the buzzing of fluorescent lights.

I hear the slow shuffle of frayed jackets rustling,

Half-broken chairs straining under the weight

Of half-broken men and women and children, chipped

Tabletops holding like Atlas a world of Styrofoam

Cups and plates, plastic forks and knives,

Warm meals consumed by frigid bodies, minds, souls.

There are places where hope settles like leaves

And where the rake is withheld.

What have I to provide beyond my embrace and my wealth?

By virtue of birth I may come and go, migrate or nest.

I grow weary and tried. A balmy sleep is mine to enjoy.

Pausing, I brace myself against the frozen wind

And, still shivering, go home.

The Drone

The words are clear, o so clear!

Patriotism blaring from a bullhorn,

Justice promised in steel blindly shaped.

“The threat, the response,

The rule of law…” the President drones,

And the people listen, how they listen!

To his faultless monotone.

While far away, a single sibilant drone–

By a nation’s indifference flown–

Releases the cargo its people built

Without a thought for their pending guilt;

And the survivors, mingling with the dead,

Shout at this flying thing

That most human of questions:

“Will you atone

For this death delivered in monotone?”

About the Author

Andrew Posner

Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem 'The Machinery of the State' for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.