A Profitable Propaganda Prologue
(with apologies to William Shakespeare's Henry V)

Wanted: a hack for hire who would descend
The darkest depths of Disbelief's suspension.
TVs for a stage, dunces to act,
And morons to consume the threadbare theme.
Then should the Precious Peacock, him or her,
Put on the bomber jacket while the troops,
Like gladiators chained, prepare to fight
And for the mob's enjoyment, die. But wait!
We promise that with each new show you'll learn,
Again, Brave Audience, what we have taught:
That nothing real concerns you, so relax
And let us your attention span beguile.
Don't touch that dial (or digital remote)!
We'll be right back with further plots and schemes
Designed to glue your eyes and ears and minds
To images that flicker and move on
To be replaced with advertisements glib
Exhorting you to buy expensive stuff
Of which you've neither need nor can afford
But must from your exhausted credit borrow.
Brave Audience, if we have done our jobs
Your courage, once projected on our work,
Will serve, we trust, to fill in all the blanks
Which otherwise might mar, through glaring gaps,
The inconsistent logic of this tale.
Blink, when we show you dragons belching flames
And feel your skin begin to warm, then cringe.
Your thoughts, suppressed, have nothing they need do
At Warp Speed, through black holes, you'll conquer time.
Whole galaxies will fly apart, then merge
Into an episode on Friday night
Of Fragrant Perspiration: Season Six.
When nothing matters anyway, why not?
So sit and stare, and we'll supply, the rot.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2019