Report of the Fourteenth Subcommittee on Convening a Discussion Group

by Marge Piercy


This is how things begin to tilt into change,
how coalitions are knit from strands of hair,
of barbed wire, twine, knitting wool and gut,
how people ease into action arguing each inch,
but the tedium of it is watching granite erode.
Let us meet to debate meeting, the day, the time,
the length. Let us discuss whether we will sit
or stand or hang from the ceiling or take it lying
down. Let us argue about the chair and the table and
the chairperson and the motion to table the chair.

In the room fog gathers under the ceiling and thickens
in every brain. Let us form committees spawning
subcommittees all laying little moldy eggs of reports.
Under the grey fluorescent sun they will crack
to hatch scuttling lizards of more committees.

The Pliocene gathers momentum and fades.
the earth tilts on its axis. More and more snows
fall each winter and less melt each spring.
A new ice age is pressing the glaciers forward
over the floor. We watch the wall of ice advance.

We are evolving into molluscs, barnacles
clinging to wood and plastic, metal and smoke
while the stale and flotsam-laden tide of rhetoric
inches up the shingles and dawdles back.
This is true virtue: to sit here and stay awake,
to listen, to argue, to wade on through the muck
wrestling to some momentary small agreement
like a pinhead pearl prized from a dragon-oyster.
I believe in this democracy as I believe
there is blood in my veins, but oh, oh, in me

lurks a tyrant with a double-bladed ax who longs
to swing it wide and shining, who longs to stand
and shriek, You Shall Do as I Say, pig-bastards.
No more committees but only picnics and orgies
and dances. I have spoken. So be it forevermore.

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