“Poem En Route to Oblivion” by Michael Harmon

My poor dear, were tight plastic ties placed

on your tender wrists? Were you marched down

a long dim hall to the room “Philosophy 101”?

Told to lie on a tilted metal table, worn-out towel 

and bucket of fresh water at the ready?

Was it easy to confess that the logic and the ethics

of your arguments were treason?

Sad to contemplate if then you were stood up,

a rough hood placed on your gentle head,

and you were prodded to the Science building.

Was there a hovering buzz of chemical light?

Were you stripped of unseeing those terrible

smooth raw blue walls of Reason? Forced to

view moist eviscerated toads still twitching

on operating tables? Made to witness

various curious disembodied brains drowned

with formaldehyde in dusty disregarded jars?

Bullied to accept how unscientific your flowers

and the process in your gizzards were?

Were you deprived of decency and clothing

and then endured a “journey on a gurney”

through a crowded campus afternoon?

Shoved into the hazy gray maze of a Psych department?

Were you slipped into an itchy white gown

with no ties in the back and made to bend, inflicted with

a search so intimate to prove your poignant lack of feeling?

And was the worst humiliation saved for last?

Were you put in an orange leisure suit, purple shirt,

fat yellow tie with big green polka dots,

placed face up in a pine box and dragged to

that dreaded “Chamber of Personal Esthetics”?

Were you examined closely by a surrounding circle

of nodding heads in hoods of white silence?

Was your beauty assessed meticulously and denied,

even though it was found distinctive how

the pain of your strangeness instigated effusive gobs

of pure indifference? Were you exiled to a fate

of digital darkness? Oh, how I worry. I haven’t heard.

It’s been awhile. Will news of you be good?


Michael Harmon holds a B.A. in English Literature from Long Island University and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Arizona State University. Some of his work has appeared in North American Review, Adirondack Review, and New Plains Review.

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