On the Loss of Energy (and Other Things)

no more the chicken and the egg come

one of them
before the other
be fadin (steady)
from the supersafeway/a&p/giant

         the pilgrim cornucopia
         it ain’ a pot to pee in
         (these days)

gas is gone
and alka seltza runnin gas
a close race
name it
         toilet paper
         halfway honest politicians
there’s a shortage
step right up)
a crisis
(come in closer)
A International Disaster
Definitely Takin Place
(give the little lady down in front some room)
and (how about the brother in the back row/can
you hear me brother?)
                  I SAID THE HOT AIR’S RUNNIN
                  I SAID
                  THE MEAT’S NOT GOOD
                  FOR KIDS TO EAT
                  TOO FULLAFAT
                  AND STUFF LIKE THAT
                  IF YOU EAT MEAT
                  HOW YOU PLAN TO PAY THE RENT?
                  I SAID
                  THE OILWELLS DRIBBLIN
                  LOWER THAN A SNAKE
                  AND SOON WON’T BE NO HEAT
                  EXCEPT THERE AINT NO
                  MEAT TO EAT
                  I SAID

                  BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?

these things/they gettin more and more worse in
the time it takes to tell
how the country’s bound to hell
if you be middlin poor or poor or Black or Black-and-poor
this profit-makin mess the worst
mess we been force to handle
since the civil war
close down the crackers
how the north won
into victory the crackers like to celebrate/a
reconstruction of the facts
on poor and Blackbacks
I am digressin/folks
please settle down and listen good
I say you know
you know
the affluent society
starvin high
on the hog as pigs can get
I say you know
we all been pigs
but mostly we been little pigs/I say
the big pigs
got the whole big pigpen
underneath some tasty big-pig pigs’ feet
dynamite can move
where is the dynamite?
How come we tryin to cooperate
with this “emergency”/this faker/phony
got you plannin
not to die and not to have a baby
on the weekends
not to do too much/
much less to start to die or start to have
a baby
on a Sunday
or on early Monday
got you/stiff and slow and hungry
on them lines the richboys laugh about/
Will somebody
real and prominent and smart
please stand
up here
and tell about inequities and big and little pigs
and other animals and birds/and fish
don’t know a thing about no hog behavior/where’s
the dynamite?
I say you know/I say
you know.
And so do I.

June Jordan, “On the Loss of Energy (and Other Things)” from Directed By Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by The June M. Jordan Literary Trust. Used by permission of The June M. Jordan Literary Trust, www.junejordan.com.
Source: The Collected Poems of June Jordan (2005)