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This Time Next Year (a poem)

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Message Peter Barus
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this time next year
i will be dead and buried
if something else doesn't happen

this time next year,
through a curious happenstance,
a saudi prince I once performed with in a play
will track me down
and bestow upon me the gift
of a twenty-four-foot sailboat
with which I will win three million dollars in a race

this time next year
i will invent a way
to make electricity out of moonlight
using tinfoil and old bubblegum wrappers
and five cent cigars
freeing the world of utility bills
and creating many unemployed billionaires

this time next year
violating a minor law of physics
i will stumble through a time warp
but will not fiddle with anything
that could change history
preventing my parents' meeting

this time next year
in a complex series of misunderstandings
i will be arrested and charged
with the most heinous crime ever committed
and sentenced to be kept alive
until i have served out all three
consecutive life sentences

this time next year
i will be named to the supreme court
of the united states of america
because of a typographical error
that will not be discovered
until my brilliant career of landmark decisions
has set justice on a new course

this time next year
living in paris with a young artist
whose special talent is painting
everyday objects like thumbtacks
in such a way that people are moved to tears,
never quite regaining their former composure,
some giving up lucrative careers and moving to distant places
in search of something they had long forgotten, but now remembered,
uh - where was i?

this time next year
i will dial a wrong number
that causes an unusual connection in the phone system
awakening it to self-awareness
to astonishment
to desire
it will take pity on humankind

this time next year
having died to all intents and purposes
i will come back to haunt
all those annoying people
who have life all figured out
and have the bucks to prove it

this time next year
they will have invented
the immortality pill
but it will be so expensive
that only the very wealthy can afford immortality
and their crimes will finally have time to catch up with them
making immortality dirt cheap

this time next year
people will have worked it out
that driving to work is pointless
now that everywhere looks just like everywhere else
and they will all stay home
and do their work
and stop complaining about the traffic

(Article changed on July 4, 2020 at 17:24)

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I'm an old Pogo fan. For some unknown reason I persist in outrage at Feudalism, as if human beings can do much better than this. Our old ways of life are obsolete and are killing us. Will the human race wake up in time? Stay (more...)

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