I have a question: Why is it that we
Spend so much of our energy
On chasing after trivial concerns,
When deep inside ourselves a fire burns--
A longing that is never satisfied?
Why is it what we see with our eyes
And what we feel inside we don't believe?
I have a question: Could it really be
That we have lost our autonomy,
Chained to the constant chatter of the news,
Opinion polls, talk radio, and views
Endorsed by self-important PhD's,
That we no longer heed or trust
Our own intuition and so must
Say what's acceptable or what's "PC"?
And why do so many athletes make
More money in a year than it would take
For some of us to earn our whole life?
And when they beat or kill their lovely wives,
Why do we rush to get their autographs?
This whole circus makes me cry and laugh,
For I don't care for some baseball strike
Or jealous athletes with "substantial" knives,
Rich lawyers thriving on publicity
And all the idols and celebrities.
And so it continues day by day,
Someone gets rich and someone else gets laid,
Someone gets raped and that one there knifed
Will make a juicy story, and that's life!
I have a question: Why is it that we
Who like to call ourselves "humanity,"
Are motivated by materialism and greed,
That we all want much more than we may need
And hide behind our fake, self-righteous masks?
Why is it so? Why does no one ask
What is essential, what is real, anymore?
And so we dream of stardom, while next door
Someone unnoticed in silence weeps--
I have a question: Are we all asleep?

                                                               August 5, 1994
                                                          --Alexander Shaumyan