Would You Like to Play a Game of War?

your enemy has 
        the weather dominator 
        & you trying 
        to shoot at clouds. 

strategy is more than 
what the opposing team 
releases publicly. 

this seems like a given, 
                                      but not 
                                      by the way we act. 

we see war as a narrative
of stickers that glow in the dark. 

               written history fixated 
               on the parts 
               that serve our future defeat. 

               detailery camouflages 
               the battles we’re losing 
               each time we feel 
               like we’ve won a point. 
                                          made our case. 

told someone off 
  & got their goat 
                 etc etc. 

or maybe we still don’t see this war, 
because we have hulu without commercials. 

because we already booked 
tickets to burning man. 

because we got funner things to do
than read what section of 
the art of war this is from. 

what instruments are we using 
that misdiagnose these signs? 

how is there no doppler 
for the slight between friends 
that ends communities? 

why are we looking for catapults 
in the middle of crowded shelters? 

I wake up every day 
and watch masses 
        fight over bedazzled scraps
        while the source 
        drains into 
        the mouths of monsters. 

I watch the screen 
and folks can’t be bothered outside
the realm of petty resentments. 

I walk the world and too few 
           hear the weapon coming

gestating through civilizations, 
                hidden within distractions, 
en route 
to all the places 
we’ve failed to protect 
from unintended consequences. 

all the choices we thought 
were just having a laugh. 

every strike we’ve felt entitled to 
in our bathtubs of pain. 

a reckoning on the cusp 
of irreversible. 

the signal to acknowledge 
the weight of scale before 
the sale becomes final. 

From Well Played (Not a Cult, 2020) by Beau Sia. Copyright © 2020 by Beau Sia. Used with the permission of the publisher.