Volume 28, Number 3

Alien Observation

In one of their small nations
The indigenous dominant species
Has formed itself for government
Into two competing political groups,
Each it seems primarily focused
On not being mistaken
For the other.  The general populace
Makes assumptions, infers processes,
Projects outcomes.  They are not
So good at this, so at some point
It is just the perception of differences
That matters, even if the differences
All lead to the same outcome.
Matters muddle along for a while,
And then elements of the general population
Decide the questions and answers at hand
Are too complex for them; and while
They are right, their remedy
Of imagining the questions and answers as simpler
Is wrong.  Nonetheless
They often seize the attention
Of one political group or the other—
Which then, to curry favor,
Begins to reduce all questions
And answers to simple sentences,
Sometimes partial sentences,
And then transform them to merely
Blame and magic. 
If these take power, then soon—
Despite blame and magic—
Physics and biology, chemistry and economics,
Strikes all of them down and it seems
They have to start from scratch—
Hopefully, with the few left
Understanding how complex their small
World and little lives actually are.
I’m glad we only observe
And don’t have to fix it.

—Ken Poyner