This is a competition entry. The remit: write a poem of no more than 50 lines on 'improving the human'.
The hospital screamshakes
with a newly born blamelessly cannonballed
into blinding lights and cooing parent arms.
Doctors with dead disco eyes take a blood-reading
and inject the goo into the Parent DNA Database.
The results blink as the numbers crunch.
A telephone is grabbed and buttons punched
followed by a clipped robotical relay of lifetimes:
… radical affiliations...
… autonomous collectives...
… millitant... previous...
… 92.7% likelihood of subversive behaviour...
Bursting opening double doors:
Leather law stampfeet
bounce echoes down clinic corridors
and standstill, warmless
retrieving the newborn danger.
Stamped, numbered, barcoded, taken.
The newborn bawls through her history:
At two: Screamshakes her glasswall foster home.
At ten: Screamshakes every shoved warpraganda.
At twelve: Screamshakes the psychologists
with their needles, microchips
and smileless, crippled faces.
Gradually, things get easier. Slower. Number...
Eventually, reaching sixteen, the newborn
Siphoning of revolutionary impulse: complete.
Blank pupils – check.
Drained skin – check.
Manifest obedience – check.
Let loose, a moving shadow,
she trickles down.
Rainlashed streets ache her feet.
Any shelter, any shelter: a tree, a bus stop, a man...
Wrinkles etched deep in young flesh.
But the screamshake still buzzes violent -
a constant itch, a perpetually germinating plume of rage.
Autopilot: a can of petrol in hand,
box of matches in pocket.
She swerves towards a dim, half-recognised memory -
a hospital -
- to turn the foundations of history to ashes.