(GDP)— It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. – Robert Kennedy, 3.18.1968
Gross Domestic Product
Surely it is sick with all its counting. Sick, too,
of selling the numbers which mean nothing
until they do. It counts the distance from the top
of the flagpole to the middle and how long it takes
to raise our symbols up. It counts wild blazes
in Western states. It counts the placed, the displaced,
the length of a grey blanket raining ash in its wake.
It counts the monuments but has forgotten the graves.
The most hateful among us, the poisoned water supply,
the garbage island measured by its relative size to a state—
who could stand to know so much as the brain we create?
Who else could count the gold in the bank or how little
trickles out to towns that need it most? Our gracious host
assures us they have counted every vote and the winner
will be announced after a short commercial break.
Also—the chef would like to know how you liked your steak.
If you got sick put your name on the list and we will call
your name shortly. Please hold. Your patience has been noted
and scored on a scale from complacent to irate. You didn’t win,
but then again, most people don’t and we’ve got the numbers
to prove it. Move along, nothing to see here says he
who needs to believe he saw nothing, would omit
all wonder from the official record. Nay, it won’t
count those who found a wolf’s teeth flashing
at the edge of the woods and the field of lavender
behind it all, odorous and possible. It can’t count
the nautilus hearts beating for what ought to have happened,
who imagine pressing on through the heat and the smog to
a more perfect future, that tense in which to read the new world.