I used to think that folks are no damn good,

I thought that they at best are pretty bad.

But in my dotage I have come to think they would

Be better if they could be. Now I’m glad

To say i think most aren’t as bad as I had thought. To

Tell the truth, most act the way they ought to.


Most, to say the least, have hearts of gold.

When they do bad they feel real bad about it.

Does it do them any good to scold

Them for the sins that Satan makes them do? I doubt it.

Most folks say they’ve got the say so what to do;

But some say they’re more free to choose what not to do.


The guide they come with isn’t very clear.

It says one thing’s okay but not another,

In another place another seer

Says don’t do the one thing but the other.

Some stuff that the manual says, despite

The fact it says they can, just don’t seem right


So they don’t do it, and do some it says is wrong.

Why it’s not clear is it was written in

A foreign tongue at first, and was so long

Ago. Just think how different they thought way back then.

Today folks still are trying to translate it

To sound more like ‘now,’ to as it were update it.


They have left good things amongst the dross.

They’ve scattered lots of pyramids around.

It seems that anyone can come across

One anywhere, and not all have been found

As yet. A lot are bigger than there was a call for

But they’re still not big enough for all. For


There are always folks who get their hands

On more than their fair share of cargo; they

Get to control most lands and make the plans.

Free enterprise is said to say: You pay

More than the going rate, it goes for gin.

Their chaps will still go hungry and the men


Will still abuse their wives. The haves can build,

By keeping more, more buildings filled with books.

The mass of men, it seems, have always kneeled

Before the right of kings. Perhaps one looks

Ahead to when he will be one of them--

To when more of the cargo comes to him.


I sometimes ponder why folks fight so much.

Could it just be ‘the dailiness of life’

They fight against? Just to endure things such

As they no longer get a chance to. Strife

Is in their genes. It’s been there since the start,

Along with superstition and their art.


Life is a game, with rules to make it harder.

Hark back to when it was not a game

But live or die, when by one being smarter

Than your average bear a man became

A player, made it home and made more kin.

A cave was home, a tapestry of tiger skin


Hung on the wall, a bearskin bed, a fire

To cook on, brew some tea, to warm his toes,

Scare dinosaurs away. What more could he desire?

Meat stuck on a spit, the fire glows

Against the dark. He tells how he had played

With death and won the match, was unafraid.


A pretty rock to dangle from an ear,

A lump of colored clay to say what they

Saw in the darkness and beyond--some deer,

A bison, bear, an aurochs, done the way

It would be done today if someone could.

But no one knows how to today as good,


To think and put a mirror to the thought,

Transfigure and convey within the work,

To conjure beasties from the image wrought

Upon the inner eye that peer out from the murk,

Lit by a flare that floats upon a bowl

Of fat, that they had been, were in control.


They could have been out in the open stalking

Dinosaurs or fishing from the lake

Or dancing, singing, making babies, talking

Of the many other ways to make

A living, happily agreeing their

Way was the best. [Who said, ‘Life isn’t fair?’]


Today their way of life is not as easy

As before. It’s something of a bore

Compared to then. A Wal-Mart’s not as breezy

As the steppe they knew in days of yore,

But it’s the best place they can find to stalk

A beer, to roam the aisles and shelves, to walk


For miles before they find their prey, surprise

A six pack, capture it without a scratch,

Stuff it in plastic to suppress its cries,

Then swipe a card at ‘Ten or Less.’ The catch

Is theirs and they can take it to their truck

And make a run for it, pray don’t get stuck


Amongst the herds of immigrating cattle,

Trekking all at once to better grazing.

Let the rush hour catch you, it’s a battle

To get through it. Finally free, he’s raising

Someone on his cell to put some beans on, more

Than they can eat, and barbecue a boar


On that new propane cooker signed by George.

They savor smoke and stinging eyes, the chill,

The ants, the gnats, the flies, the chance to gorge

On ’burgers seasoned with a little grit. The thrill

Of really roughing it and sloshing it

All down with longneck beer. Before they quit


They eat and drink too much against the chance

They may run out before the next big kill

Of loaves and fishes from Winn-Dixie, dance

To Elton John, the Beatles, Barry Manilow, and Will-

ie. They would be the last to say they’re bright,

Are rare or special, and they would be right.


They’re average, more or less the same as six

Or seven billion more. They’re merely players

On a stage of blue green marble. Clicks

Can find them all they want to know. Conveyors

They call culture, custom, making copies,

Gets them where they want to go. Like floppies,


Some go obsolete or get worn out,

Used up, or left behind; the bits and bytes just scatter.

I said at the start that folks are bad, no doubt

About it, and they couldn’t get much badder.

But I’ve come to feel that most folks feel

They ought to do what’s right, so if they kill


They feel they ought to feel it is. What they’ve

Decided is that if it’s to enforce the laws

Or if it’s for your country or to save

somebody, [you especially], or because

A judge and jury said so, go ahead. [Some say

That being dead is better anyway.]


But most folks, though they know they can’t be sure

They’re in the right, keep right on showing up

Most days. They don’t prevail but they endure.

What’s more, I cannot see them throwing up

Their hands and letting global warming wipe

Them out; in my opinion they’re just not the type.


I think they’ll do whatever it requires,

Reclaim Iraq and make it as it was before

They burned the forests for their cooking fires

And growing corn, plant trees enough and more

To save the ice. They’ll turn to Ra again,

Collect enough to run the earth and plan


A trip to Mars and back with part of what’s

Left over. They’ve got problems, that’s a fact.

If they asked me I’d say have fewer tots

Till things are back in balance, not so packed.

And wait till all the haves and nots are dead,

Then people Earth with perfect robots in their stead.

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