I live in the city of Wanna-Be
In the State of Much-Too-Hard,
And watch for the all If-Only folk
Who stick to their own backyard,
The schools are breeding their robot kids
That I call, I-Know-My-Rights,
The courts acquit them of larceny
And turn them loose in the night.
And some are ticketed Not-My-Fault,
Along with the other Why-Should-I?
They all just Wanna-Be-Free,
Then I-Had-A-Lousy-Childhood think
They can moan, and cry on the stairs,
While I have a word to answer them:
But often I notice, way out there
The ones who greet with a smile,
And nothing is Much-Too-Hard for them
They go for the extra mile,
The bus conductor who tips his cap,
The woman that works in the Mall,
These were the people I loved out there,
For they made me feel quite small.
One night I wandered along the streets
When everyone else was home,
I like to muse in the darkness when
The city is all alone,
Then somewhere out of the darkness loomed
A warehouse, painted black,
And the lights were on, and the door ajar
So I peeked, was taken aback.
For there on a line of hangers hung
Those folk I'd met in my day,
Hooked on a slow conveyor belt
They had nothing at all to say,
The woman there with her Can-I-Help
The conductor with glassy eyes,
Just hanging there ‘til the early dawn
When they'd be re-energised.
The girl with Have-A-Good Day was there,
And even the friendly cop,
The little old lady of Bless-You-All
That served in the pastry shop,
The young lad parking attendant who
Had said No-Trouble-Sir,
They all hung there on their hangers, marked
There must have been over a thousand there
Or maybe a little more
Along with the kindly You-Keep-Well
The Council were keeping score,
They'd tried to bring back civility
By giving us pleasant Robots,
To counter the surly Who-Could-Care?
With a thousand Forget-Me-Nots.
I cleared on out to the country where
The people waved from the fields,
I put my ear to the chests of some
To find they were really real,
There wasn't a whirr or a ticking clock
So they caught me off my guard,
I'd never return to the city now
In the State of Much-Too-Hard!
David Lewis Paget
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.