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The Last Days of Freedom

I was well aware of all the prejudices of the people
against machinery & of their notions about the extortions
of Bakers, Butchers, &c., which notions, Corruption's press

was constantly fostering ; but I know my countrymen well--
I knew that, if in kind language they could be made
to see their error, they would no longer persist in it

& I relied on my own talents to produce that conviction
in their minds. A word about their minds: served fresh daily,
the tenderest of them harbored no ill will toward even

the beggars-can't-be-choosers in the remote constituencies.
& who could execute a verbal joust in such unphobic
quarters? Verily, one spent no less than a third of one's

time fingering the last olive in the jar. & more verily than
that I can't fathom. Windward, a storm cloud,
conjured as occasion saw fit, chomped at the bit. The

hounds were spooked. The candlestickmaker's empty panes
shattered. I stumped for calm, recalled for skeptics
the vestigial tails of wellwishers, made contacts for

their mind's eye &, peeling their onions, produced tears.
The machinery cowered in bleak overhead compartments,
poor darlings. I flanked plebian notions with asthmatic

scares -- unkind? One might protest and bear witness
to such were not the extortions of so precise a nature
as to exclude all thoughts of my entanglement. My

countrymen know me as a banquet crooner & hearth
stoker -- & well they might. We censored broadsides
by tablature alone, found foster homes for orphans,

served fritters to veterans. All pleasantries are duly
noted in the annals as in the ventricles, vesicles &,
yea, tentacles & testicles. Our errors are quite to our

credit I made sure to tell them. The machinery's
forgiveness is boundless, unintelligible, wet, & warm.

                                            March 2001