Thought experiments and uncertain futures are not a good mix (a poem)

I learned recently about Jim Simmerman’s 20 Little Poetry Projects. I thought I would give it a shot, since I haven’t felt very motivated today… 

The future is Schrödinger’s cat—
the world’s fastest existential uncertainty,
an invisible silent movie.

The scene burns in the back of my throat,
a wretched feeling just like the one I got
when I saw the news
that George Michael had died
at his home in Goring-on-Thames,
and they didn’t know why
but an overdose might be a possibility…

(At this point, sound explodes from the set;
I forgot to turn down the volume
before switching channels—
I always have to crank it up for discs
because they’re so much quieter.)

That bit of news first surfaced
in the Twitterverse—
I felt I ought to avoid Twitter
for a while after that,
because every time a news story
about a celebrity appeared
someone died.

‘Proceedings can’t begin
until 90 days after abandonment’—
I’m pretty sure I don’t have
that much time before
the taste of even a stale cracker
will feel like sugar to my hungry tongue.

The frantic scratchings of deprivation
feed this urgent waiting—
but its nails give my itching back no relief.
I still feel the small raised bumps
over my shoulder blades.

Clearly, the thing to do
is to buy every lottery ticket
in the greater metropolitan area.
Mr. Jackpot will be invincible
after those numbers hit,
and the crispy scent of menthol
and camphor on a winter afternoon
will sow seeds of future nostalgia.

In the meantime, if I stop watching my Twitter feed
fewer celebrities will die prematurely,
n’est-ce pas?

Yeah, this is why Schrödinger’s cat—
its breath smelling of salmon—
is calling me a dumbass
as it warns me about the future…

(26 February 2018)