"The Jailers and the Jailed" [by Tom Disch]

Tom DischThat will be the new two-tier social order
with pharmaceuticals the unofficial currency
distributed at the stadia and KFCs
of the unfamilied. Think of New Orleans
and multiply by n.
The jailers will own their own vans
and take vacations in the Yucatan
and Guantanamo. They’ll know themselves
to be a cut above the people they piss on,
but neither the jailers nor the jailed
will ever physically encounter those
who own them, shadowy figures as invisible
as movie stars. Once a year both classes
can get stoned and cast their ballots
for best victim in a documentary. So that
is what democracy means to me.
Now, have I won the essay contest?

February 26, 2008

— Tom Disch (1940-2008)

from the archive; first posted December 6, 2008


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