Social Justice Poetry

The Dreams of Oligarchs | A Social Justice Poem by Buff Whitman-Bradley

In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people — the bottom half of humanity.
An Economy for the 1% — Oxfam International

In the dreams of oligarchs
The rest of us are
Interchangeable nonentities
Faceless helots of drudgery
Who only exist
To feed ourselves
To carnivorous machines and factories
For the multiplication of assets

In the dreams of oligarchs
We are insects underfoot
Cartoon roaches
Skittering and scrambling
Much to their aristocratic amusement
To avoid the master’s
Exquisitely hand-crafted Italian heel

In the dreams of oligarchs
A tailored and cologned and manicured God
Said Let their be wealth
And there was wealth
Pornographic accumulations of riches
Stolen from those who create it
With their labor and their lives
Who watch their children
Go hungry
Who watch their children
Die from poisoned slums
And lack of medical care
Who watch the flames flicker out
In their children’s eyes
As it dawns on them
That their beautiful and irreplaceable
Minds and bodies
Are so much detritus
To those who live
In the pages of glossy magazines
And inform us who matters
And who doesn’t

But in the dreams of oligarchs
There are also the dark corridors
In the rat-infested tubercular tenements
Of their souls
In the fever dreams of oligarchs
The insects grow huge and vengeful
In the fever dreams of oligarchs
Limousines sprout fangs
And an appetite for the upper classes
Estates become fetid swamps
Mansions decay into tar paper flop houses
In the fever dreams of oligarchs
The sweatshop destitute
The ghetto asthmatics
The landfill dwellers
The garbage eaters
Come in the night
To kidnap their darling money

And in the dreams of the rest
Justice breaks out
Like a sky full of kites
Like boulevards of food and flowers
Like conga lines
Of love and liberation
In the dreams of the rest
Fiestas erupt in the streets
Backyard potlucks go on all night
And the poor dear oligarchs
Become little gray moths
Banging frantically and furiously
Against windowpanes and porch lights
Unnoticed by everyone
Except themselves

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