Jeff Ball (c) 2010 – Used with permission

dissection commences upon these
orphans of ideology
birthed of greed and invention
razor wire twined minds
inoculated against thought
suffering attachment disorders
imprecations rain when drawn near
our distended bellies emetic fed

military industrial complex choke-chain
asphyxiates a discernible truth,
speak for us we moan
as our mouths are sewn shut –
who threaded this needle?

the omniscient coroner sings:
humanity is a crooked timber
from which no straight thing
can be built (or imagined)

twisted images spin the picture
like crime scene photos
of abundance and stability
politicians and CEOs mistake
words of confidence for reality,
monuments of ego for power

missiles of tyranny
parading as democracy
mere echoes of Pericles’ stones
immuring liberty
flags dyed in blood from
renewable resources
(the marginalized and foreign)
nourishing the warmongers

in the ethical wasteland
these post-apocalyptic landscapes
leveled playing (killing) fields
are littered with mutilated animals
and fetid dead tossed in mass graves
waiting to be tallied by infallible machines

selected from the masses
the coroner’s team prepares to plastinate
stages of fixation, dehydration
forced impregnation, and hardening begin

pumping formalin through our arteries
removing skin, our fatty and connective tissue
a baptism in acetone
precedes vacuum impregnation
silicone rubber penetrates each cell

we are now posed, death grimaces
cured with gas, light, and heat
to a preserved splendor
harnessed for display

coroner proclaims science
has become more beautiful than art
our diorama, a stripped Arc,
impoverished ecology frozen in time
a testament to its endeavor –
technological mutations
of philosophy’s thunder

this towering foundation of Platonic ideals
denatures with rot, denies human striving
an exit wound embedded with fragments of skull
terrors devour and obliterate rationality
massive impersonal forces rumble
demarcating the territory where
vacuous monsters spew acid
dissolving thin barriers of freedom
as the great experiments fail

Notes: This is a significantly expanded rewrite of my poem Dystopia, previously posted in April 2012. If you’d like to better understand plastination you can read about it here: Also, thank you to Jeff Ball, my best friend, for the use of his photograph from the exhibition I had the honor of naming, RuiNation. More of his stunning photography can be viewed here: