The evidence had been presented against me, and then finally, the Judge asked me to approach the bench. "And how do you respond to these charges levels against you, that you are lazy, the charge of poverty, the charge of professional negligence, which we understand to be the negligence you are responsible for in not securing a normal career for yourself, a crime in our society these days, which you bear the sole responsibility for... for your lack of fitting in to the Futurist Agenda and the Ten Beneficent Major Corporations that are its sponsors and which unselfishly guide the public citizenry through the wisdom of Their Needs."
"That's just it it, Sir. The problem is the stress that comes from being poor and uncertain about the future... That stress just knocks your immune system, then you have an allergic reaction. So even as you've worked as hard as you can, the day off, when you know you want to be searching for more, for a better way to serve society, you're so tired and unhappy, yes, you're so tired that even though you do your laundry and cook as frugally as you can, you order Chinese delivery, eat it, and end up not accomplishing anything. Barely able to get up off the couch. You retreat to bed and breathe through your stomach best as you can, as if you were meditating, and even fall fast asleep. It's the stress, Sir. It catches up with you. And I'm not young anymore, which is why I've never fit in so well with the Futurist Agenda I remember growing up on a road out in the country back when the dairy cows used to be out in the green hilly fields..."
"Objection, Objection," the main Prosecutor shouted. "Immaterial statement, no bearing on the fact of crime committed. Completely irrelevant to the charges against him." He glowered against the desk of the judge, adjusting his broad shoulders with a twitch of his thick neck, then reaching his arm out straight, punching the air in my direction with a pointed finger which he held there. It was clear he had a deep personal hatred toward me, as I represented everything wrong with the world. "In fact the defendant is highlighting just the kind of fanciful poetic dithering, of 'being out in the fields,' that he stands guilty as charged over, where it is in fact a known fact in our Tea Party Understanding upon which the Futurist Agenda thanks to our Corporate Sponsors is officially one hundred precent based on that the cows of the factory farms that stay indoors all year round produce as much milk, if not more, thanks to our science and modern injections. And where has the defendant been, but out writing poetry, a completely useless individual as far as our society must be concerned and policed. The defendant has made his choices as to where he wants to belong."
The Judge looked down on me. He seemed to think for a moment, to gain a broader view. The pause indicated I might speak once more. "It's the stress, Sir, the stress that comes from having no certain future. I think I try my best sometimes. I try to take care of the body, with exercise and fresh air." I did not have a lot of optimism, and I made one last attempt to reiterate that I did have a record of honest work, at least as how I saw it, honest hard work, though perhaps it had fallen through the cracks, I suppose. The thought crossed my mind, maybe it is true that the individual mind is 'a terrible thing.' Maybe I could teach the others the benefit of yoga and meditation when I got to the Prison of the Failures. "But it's true, that I don't always know what to do with myself, where to jump into the stream, how to help out and serve society... I thought my work as a bartender did some of that, but it has left me not knowing sometimes whether I am coming or going."
The public apologizer rose one more time in my defense, before the jury provided by the Corporate Sponsors. "Well, look at this man. Look at the prominent veins on his hands. Look at the lines of concern etched on his face. Look at the sad look in his eyes. Look at his frame, how he has endeavored to stay in some form of shape, despite absent record of expenditures with the Corporation of Pharmacological Beneficence and slim record of abiding to the dietary standards and suggestions presented and allowed by the Corporation of Big Agriculture... He has not worked with the Corporation of Wisest Public Education, nor with the Corporation of Right Media Information, nor with the Corporation of Natural Forestry and Gainful Water Usage, the Corporation of Fossil Fuels and Carbon Freedom, with the Corporation of Protective Firearms and Brotherly Surveillance, the Corporation of Successful Environmental Balances, the Corporation of Benevolent Communication, Appropriate Behavior and Information Gathering..." He gestured with his hand, expressing some sort of confused frustration sympathetic to the jury, toward the corporate logos lining the foot of the jury stand. "No, this is true, but..." And I wondered if he had lost his train of thought, and I myself sort of wished to disappear, I mean, not in handcuffs. A part of my mind recalled something about "behold the man," but I did not wish to think about that, as it was not a slope I wanted to go down, wishing to stay positive and all.
How does one explain to a jury of his rather more corporately engaged and successful peers the thought expressed on the old dollar bill, the pyramid with the eye looking out from the tiptop in all directions, engaged in a mystical democracy that sought no interference with anyone else, not the affairs of other peoples, but rather, seeking to harbor a guiding light in the primitive world, letting nature stand as it is, humble and basic and friendly, impossible as all that seems.