J. Lena Evans: Selected Poems
Poetry » June 2002

Civilized

We cover our briefcases and feet
and wrap our waists with dried hides.
We rub razor blades along our skin
and glycerol and peroxide in our hair.
We cut clefts in our chins, plant silicone
in our lips and cheeks and breasts,
and steroids in our thighs. We wedge
colored glass into our eyes. We grow
microphone ears and antennae. We fence,
we box, we phone, we fax, we codify
and classify. We confide in copyrights
and communicate with credit cards,
enchanted by binary codes, buoying
voltages and vibrations of sonic hum.
We redefine freedom to be just another
clipped fragment of isolation, gone fuzzy
like a radio signal, just another disease
of digitized scratch. We mass produce
bullet-proof vests and gas masks, we install
metal detectors and airbags. We sell
toy guns and plastic grenades. We hire
security guards and buy life insurance.
We are the violent, cruel children
of the umpth consumption, of vanity,
of appetite, heating microwave burritos
and refinancing our condos,
and the philosophers are too tired to fight.

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J. Lena Evans received both her B.A and her M.A. in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she has been an instructor of Composition and World Literature for the past five years. She has recently published in the Red River Review, 3rd Muse, and Inscape.




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