There is No Way Out
John Robert Colombo, Abracadabra (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1967): 20-21; and now in All the Poems of John Robert Colombo (Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2005).
1One of these days they will come for you
2it will happen on a day like any other day
3but this day at four in the afternoon
4they will drive up in their big black Cadillacs
5the tall men in overcoats
6and they will ask about you
7their black briefcases bulging
8their synchronized watches ticking.
9You had better be ready for them when you are pointed out
10you had better have something to say to them
11something to show them something to whisper in their ears
12those signs you noted in passing
13those words those phrases you only overheard
14but there is nothing you can say to them
15for in the shadow of their black Cadillacs
16there is no one to help you.
17Your friends are strangers now
18your acquaintances merely acquaintances
19your business associates are strangely somewhere else
20this is your concern and yours alone even if you deny it
21there is no one who is able to give you an explanation
22even if there were explanations to give
23your neighbours sit quietly on their porches
24or they peer from behind half-closed apartment doors
25as the tall men in overcoats lead you away.
26Your neighbours are willing to watch you disappear.
27At four in the afternoon of an unparticular day
28a day in an unparticular week of an unparticular year
29they have come and taken you away
30for all you know their Cadillacs might have been ambulances
31their papers white uniforms
32for in the final hours of some future dreamless night
33five uniformed attendants will come for you
34they will strip you and fasten you down and shave you
35they will beat you and lead you away screaming for love
36then they will take you to a dark room an unspecified nowhere
37and there begin to insert the electrodes in your skull.
RPO poem Editors:
"There is No Way Out" from <i>All the Poems of John Robert Colombo</i>, copyright 2005 by John Robert Colombo. Reprinted by permission of the author.