My friend has become an administrator.
First they welded his clothes
to his newly rigid body
so he would never even
in the shower stand naked.

Then he went on a pompous fast,
nothing but stuffed derma,
hot air and those little plastic
worms used for packing, defatted
lunch meats, white bread.

His brain was scraped, then
shellacked against mildew: thermostat
turned down for efficiency,
adrenals replaced by reaction
meters, poll results flashed

every minute on his retina.
Alert to every fluctuation
in the atmosphere of opinion,
ready to jetison ideas
at the first turbulence,

he is ready to take the helm
and steer the course of the giant
hot air balloon of destiny,
taking an oath he will
never deflate or look down.

© 1995, Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy is the author of twelve collections of poetry, and twelve novels. Her book of craft essays, Parti-Colored Blocks For A Quilt, is part of the Poets on Poetry Series of the University of Michigan Press. Her novel, He, She & It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction published in the United Kingdom in 1992 under the title , Body Of Glass. She is the poetry editor of Tikkun.