W.G. Wells wrote the book,
a movie with Raymond Massey followed
in the thirties.
Some things anchor in my mind for years.

These last months, on TV, I see it
in their faces, there seems to be a joy
in the way they swing their batons
in Oakland, in Liberty Park, especially
in Chicago at the unarmed protesters
who refuse to fight back.
No difference men, women, young people,
older people.
Chicago in 1968, same difference.

They call themselves, “police” as if
the word excuses their behavior
and gives their brutality justification.

* * *

In a small rented conference room in
the Regis Hotel on Clark Street
he was one of the few 1930s socialists
still alive.|
He speaks to an audience of 36, mostly
older people who came to hear what he says
will be his last speech.
The audience, what once were in the hundreds,
has evaporated.

“It’s over, isn’t it?” a woman, probably in
her late seventies, asks. It is more a statement
than a question.

“Pretty much for a lot of people,”
the speaker replies, “not all, but for many.
Back in 1938 we never figured the good
days of the twenties would ever come back.
Then came the war, people had jobs
and those we called poor,
rose from destitution and utter poverty.
Mostly I saw that ordinary people
were able to send their children to college
and rise above their prewar stations.

“My grandfather saw the power
of wealth rising after the Civil War,
and is still rising.
He didn’t say it but I am,
that because  the country is divided
into powerful separate states that vie
for political and economic power,
and religious power and recognition
unlike that of European Nations,
our elected leaders have other things
on their minds other than the citizenry.

“I’m not sure how right he was when
he said there may come a time when
most people will swim in the current.
Those who can’t swim will drown and
that will be accepted as normal.”

A much older man stood up.
“Nature has a way of evening things out.
Things are happening, climate change,
breathing air is polluted,
water in many places isn’t fit to drink
unless it’s doctored.
Then, and it’s possible like
the 1918 flu epidemic, millions died
all over the world.
And maybe the new epidemics will be
man made like EMF waves
from WIFI and cell phones.
And of course, a nuclear screw up in New York
City like the one in Japan?”

The meeting broke up at 9 PM.
A new recently passed law required
gatherings of more than ten people
to disband at 9 PM.

3 Responses to “THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME by Ray Foreman”

  1. I remember the H.G. Wells story and the old movie with Raymond Massey. Other H.G. Wells stories were made into movies–The Time Machine, and War of the Worlds are two that I remember.

  2. Great poem. The shape of things to come came and it will never be the same.

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