poetry in motion

THE FUTURE ANCIENTS > LUKA LESSON

From the book FUTURE ANCIENTS
http://www.lukalesson.com.au/

“In the future
the history books will study us

our cities will have been renamed
our languages slanged into something new
and this moment
will one day
be ancient

The future ancients
dig theoretical trenches between settlement and invasion

shoot rifles at each other from across the plains
and place prayers within the screaming bullets

they shroud their heads in mourning

and afterwards line their soldiers up in cemeteries like voodoo dolls for God

The future ancients
will be encased behind glass in museums

Greek ragtag squadrons
with backpacks
gas masks
and shards of Athenian columns for weapons
will be installed in exhibitions
of either terrorists or freedom fighters
depending on who it is that wins

this time

they will stand side by side
with wax dummies of ‘good men’
in shirts and ties
who never leave their suburban blocks
but are called to duty through computer screens
shooting unmanned cannons in far away places
and are called things like
husband
son
sweetheart
and Lieutenant

The future ancients
will have their artefacts locked in storage
shards of Molotov cocktails
from the Egyptian revolution
will be tagged and filed
next to Michael Jackson albums
smartphones
Playboy magazines
and the Australian Flag

The future ancients
will be found by future archaeologists
preserved and embalmed
in tequila and Chanel Number 5
alongside pop-star prophets
who thought they were somehow saying something new
this time
they will find them
praying to gods who believe in Science
on a planet of do’s and don’ts
of factions and fractions of us’s and them’s
and we’s and whatever’s
and maybe never’s
and never again’s
the future ancients will be found in tombs
of cheap liquor

in databases of tradition

on screens called culture

as relics of broken signals

They will hardly be visited as bones
but remembered
in the symbology of pixel
and paranoia

The Future Ancients
will be remembered or lost depending on what we decide

Since democracy has been paraphrased
sustainability called primitive
refugees criminalised by the first invaders
and Indigenous cultures lined up side by suicide
in prisons
like voodoo dolls for the future
the textbooks will study us
our cities will have been renamed
our languages slanged into something new

and our stories will be the only link left
between objects
and their meanings

They will try to twist and turn our histories
based on what they find of us

so our voices are the only artefacts worth keeping
alive

So whose lips will we honour?
on whose tomb will we lay our tears?
those that risked everything to speak
but spoke anyway
those that gave meaning in the darkness
those who not only spoke
but gifted us a moment of silence in this madness to so that we could learn to hear
ourselves

Those thoughts are your artefacts

your jewellery
jade
and bronze
and your words are your monuments
your stone
and bone
Parthenon
and Colosseum
everything worth leaving behind

In silence is how we surrender
speech is the architecture of fate

So are we pharaohs of fallacies
empresses of nothing?

What will they engrave below our statues?

In the ancient future”

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