Rite for the Next Decade

what I think our next age craves is keyboard’s constant clack
ideas gel, structures misbehave, sideways plot attack

and what of dress-up velvets, outrageous rhinestone gleam?
embrace ourselves, the craven and the brave: hips, belly, rack

kindness, yes, due diligence–and reciprocity
learn our tells, our shifts of favor, that discernment’s not lack

it’s time to topple systems, cultivate our gardens, rest
old empires fell while autarchs raved (an encouraging fact)

not to mention what we can’t foresee and never could
hurdles melt, new skills to savor, exalt in changing tack

what we make, we’ll wage against our heartbreak yet to come
beyond all hells, beyond our graves–our mischievous impact

for Patty Templeton, on the occasion of her 39th birthday
C. S. E. Cooney and Patty Templeton, Chicago, IL, October 2009
Patty Templeton and C. S. E. Cooney, Los Alamos, NM, October 2021,

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