HazMat Review

What’s Hazardous Material in
This Day and Age?

“We have no missing persons in our county.”


“I have see the future, brother. It is murder.”

Suppose you read a book of poetry … say 240 pages. And never once in the whole thing was “a discouraging word” heard. Nothing. So many pages full of upbeat warm fuzzies. Happy endings, inspiration, no political content of any kind. No hidden meaning, just sap. Would you begin to wonder, “Am I missing something?”

Perhaps a tome of academic correctness. Not a participle dangling in the lot. Or a Jobian dissertation on the orgasm. All right!! Thirty thousand vampires on a pin head? Remember that old sixties poster, “Had enough?”

What did Leonard Cohen mean? “I have seen the future, brother.” Why did he say, “It is murder?”

It might be hazardous to think about that. Seeing the future. What the hell is that all about, anyway?

You see a man eat arsenic. You say, “Tomorrow he will die.” He does. Did you tell the future? You see a crack in the dam. You say, “There will be a terrible flood in a week or so.” There is. Did you tell the future? Maybe a great deal of telling the future is just taking a good look at what is going on today. What if that was all a prophet, or a poet, really did; just take a good look, scope out the scene?

Hazardous? Some, maybe, a little. Not really, though, if he, or she, would just shut his, or her, mouth. Who cares, right? Who gives a damn if the bloody dike is about to burst? Hey, Little Dutch Boy. It isn’t my problem. Do I look like some kind of engineer?

Picture a society with bad things happening in it.

Think of some things which would be hazardous to talk about in such a society. Think of some thoughts which would be hazardous to think.

Things like: The McVey Hypothesis as an answer to the question, “What is the future of small, independent farming in Western New York State? … in the whole U.S. of A?” An advertisement that begins with the flat statement, “Forget about job security.” That really should be a political party bumper sticker. An Iron Mountain discussion on how far back we can go – apartheid, no vote for women, chattel slavery, cannibalism? Really now, why stop at child labor, the forty hour week? A picture of Dahmer in the theater, watching Silence of the Lambs, taking in the crowd’s reaction. Wanting to cry out, “It’s me! It’s me!” Confession that the USA is six percent of the world’s population and consumes thirty percent of the world’s goods and energy; while China is thirty percent of the world’s population and consumes six percent. Hello! What’s wrong with this equation?! A picture of Dahmer in the theater, watching Silence of the Lambs, taking in the crowd’s reaction, wanting to cry out, “It’s us! It’s us!” A Gulag Archipelago stretching far beyond anything ever known to man, servicing one out of every nine black people, growing by leaps and bounds. An S & L disaster, the greatest financial S & M in the history of banking. An average high school graduate who cannot determine fantasy from reality let alone right from wrong. Somewhere in there the definition of sanity. National interests in every country on the face of the earth and afraid to go out on the porch, let alone fly in a plane, because some “terrorist” (a person who does not have access to an aircraft carrier) will blow you away. Dahmer watching Silence of the Lambs, feasting on the crowd reaction, shouting, “Follow me! Conquer the world!”

Had enough?

Keep us in mind.

Send us your poems and your stories.

There is still time to change the road you’re on.

There is still time to say so in literature.