In Case of Fire by Gally Lines

Safely Remove Hardware, drawing by Christine Lines, © 2009
(For more of this drawing and inspirations, please see Mind Scribe volume 1)

In Case of Fire
Poem by Christine Lines, © 2010
Inspired by an excerpt from Mind Scribe volume 1 by Christine Lines, © 2009

as a society,
have become so base
and infuriated with each other
we should have warning labels
over our hearts
that say,
“In case of fire,
please remove hardware.”

A wildfire
of scarlet purses and shoes
made by slave orphans in China,
of crimons diamonds
from the death-mines of Africa,
of red right-wing bandwagons
rigged with loudspeakers and hate,
of gas in luxury cars with archaic engines
bought with the blood of Muslims
spreads freely in our cities
while the human machinery
we call “respected employees”
oil the corporate cogs
with sweat and tears
oversaturated with caffeine
due to lack of sleep
from watching ads
upon ads
upon ads
telling us to forsake
time with our families
so we can work two jobs
so we can afford the shit
that will replace
the people we love
and silence
our screaming A.D.D. kids
we don’t have time
to take care of.

You don’t know me,
I don’t know my neighbors,
he doesn’t know his kid’s teachers,
she doesn’t know who invented the computer
or car or toothpaste or first synthetic cell,
but you know the name of that one celebrity
and her hororscope and her favorite restaurant
who has no affect on your life whatsoever,
who does those charity commercials
for feeding the hungry in Darfur or Haiti
when she could feed them all
all by herself
by selling her personal plane and island,
and you know the name of BP’s CEO
so you can bitch about him
while sitting in front of the TV
and watching animals drown,
livelihoods destroyed,
beaches desecrated
instead of getting up
and helping.

Sue me
if I don’t get
your order right.
Sue me
if you burn yourself
with your hot coffee.
Sue me
for taking away
your trans-fat.
But it’s okay
for you to leave me
a one dollar tip
after I save your fat ass
from choking to death
on your rubbery well-done steak
and butter garlic lard fried mashed potatoes
with a side of heart disease.
But it’s okay
for you to leave me
a little black Bible
as if Jesus
will personally pay my rent
and my tuition
and my health insurance
but only if
I’m not gay.

I realize this poem deals with heavy topics and lacks any form whatsoever, but I hope the pacing makes this easier to read. This is a 2 A.M. brain dump of thoughts on the news or real experiences that have really bothered me. For example, that last section about a server getting a $1 tip after saving a choking customer and nothing but a Bible as a “tip” from another customer really happened to my husband while we were in college and broke.

+X+  Gally

Drawing © Christine Lines 2009
Poem © Christine Lines 2010

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9 Responses to In Case of Fire by Gally Lines

  1. alienhippy says:

    Absolutely brilliant…. you have put into word just how I have been thinking this week. I hope you don’t mind me reblogging your poem, it just needs to be shared. Fantastic, thank you. x

    • Gally says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I guess it’s okay to repost it, I just ask to give me credit and keep all the copyright info and links intact :3

  2. Pingback: [Writing] In Case of Fire « .:Lest I Smite Thee:.

  3. Kavita says:

    Okay… I have only read the first stanza … and it was BRILLIANT!!!!
    Now lemme read the rest! 🙂

    WOW!! Such a powerful poem!!! I am at a loss for words right now… But every point you’ve mentioned here rings true!! 😦
    An eye-opening poem for sure!!!

  4. Many thanks, Kavita! I’m glad you like it and truly appreciate your thoughtful feedback :3

  5. deadpoet88 says:

    Whoa, this is just brilliant! So much truth, and so much irony. We do live in a world where we are being driven by ads, celebrities, brainless garbage! People hardly read anymore, people hardly want to help out anymore. The rich keep getting richer, the poor poorer. All we want is branded clothes, and the new most expensive gadget, but does anyone care that the places where these are actually manufactured are filled with people far below the poverty line? Do people know the kind of unsafe conditions these people have to work in? Ah, I could go on ranting, but I just wanted to say that everything you have written is so true.

    Also that incident with you husband is very sad. What kind of world do we live in? *sigh*

  6. Damn. No. Heavy is fine. Heavy is sometimes what life is. So true, so pained.

    The nasty irony is that I read this on my touchscreen phone while walking (“screaming A.D.D.” mind?). But trust me, my mouth was hanging open nearly the entire time, eyes locked on these words.
    Thank you for this.

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