Just for fun, and because I haven’t posted it yet, I’ll post one of the futures poems I read the other night. Since it’s in the form of a cowboy poem, it’s one of the few I have written that rhymes.
There is a backstory, if you’re interested:
The year is 2031.
Balkanization has made the world into a cacaphony of special interests, races, religous groups, all becoming more fanatical as they withdraw from and attack the mainstream political and social culture. The traditional concept of national sovereignty is crumbling and the US government is in crisis.
The information economy has exaggerated the “have/ have not” (“know/know not”) gap to unstable extremes. Terrorism and crime have made the physical world dangerous while advances in cyber technology have made a rich and realistic online world. Corporations have stepped in to provide social infrastructure, schools, etc. to ensure that there will be people who can buy their products and work in their factories. Defense contractors have turned their business from big military hardware to the booming personal and community security market because it’s much more lucrative.
The biggest such security services corporation has teamed up with Disney entertainment services to provide master-planned,
fortress-like islands of community “the way it used to be” for those who can afford it. Mostly the knowledge workers and upper
classes have retreated behind the walls of such communities to become “gaters”, leaving behind masses of people whose means and opportunities leave them on the outside looking in. Communites of outsiders crop up around these walled neighborhoods in almost feudalistic style to provide physical services like day labor, dry-cleaning, and anything
else that must be done in the physical world and not over the Net.
The “cowboy” archetype figure of the day is the delivery man — what we now consider as a common truck driver. He must travel the dangerous roads and transport physical goods so he must be wary, agile, street-smart, and skilled in close combat — in other words a real bad-ass dude. These guys (and occasionally women, but hey, the world hasn’t changed that much yet) are usually employed as part of larger corporate security forces and trained like military personell, but there are independent contractors” who handle special deliveries…
Song of the Latter-Day Cowboy, 2031
You sit safely behind your electrified fence
With the world outside so dark and intense.
While a bunch of poor slobs huddle outside in anger.
I ride through poverty, pollution, and danger
To fetch you the stuff you can’t get off the net
`Cause teleports aren’t available yet.
The rabble outside who pick through your trash
Just wait for the chance to jump your rich ass.
To go out yourself, dude, is rollin, the dice.
If you want the hard goods gotta pay a high price.
So give me some money, some fear, and respect
And I’ll bring you your mail and your groceries direct.
Don’t get your hands dirty. Make that my job.
I’ll bloody my hands to fight through the mob.
I’m the baddest mother trucker who ever hauled a load
Got lead in my foot and my eye on the road.
Got laser-sight taser to knock out your senses
and an EMP canon to fry your defenses.
Got non-lethal measures all over the place
and a Glock and an AK in hand just in case.
My name is feared for the things that I do
but it’s also revered cause I always come through.
I’m a gear jammin’ cowboy. I breathe through a mask
while drivin’ through hell to accomplish my task.
I hauled the world’s very last catch of fish
to some rich guy for his wife’s birthday wish.
I took a small nuke to some dudes in L.A.
what they had plans for, they wouldn’t say.
(I don’t ask questions as long as they pay.)
I’ve hauled toxic waste and organs on ice
black market water and transgenic mice
Chemical weapons and contraband clones
designer drugs and remote-controlled drones.
I can deliver. There’s no job too tough.
If you can pay, I’ll bring you the stuff.