Planetary Chess

Imagine the world on which snow now falls

in fat fluffy flakes

limning everything near enough to be visible

thru the snow fog

with thick soft snow.

Imagine that invisible beneath the snow

a planetary grid divides the surface of our Earth

into innumerable geometric tiles

like the pentagons that cover a soccer ball.

Imagine that you are standing on

such a pentagonal tile

just large enough to give you

standing room.

Imagine that each of its five sides is bounded

by five other tiles some occupied, some empty.

Now you must choose

to stay where you are or move

into an adjacent tile surrounded

by another set of choices.

Imagine there are consequences

for each move makes you richer or poorer

stronger or weaker

more lonely or more loved

lighter or heavier of heart

more or less alive.

Imagine that each move you make

also affects other beings including humans—

a soft word taketh away wrath

a hard word hardens it

carefully listening enlivens the speaker

half listening turns him away.

Imagine that every human on this global chessboard

is also making small but consequential moves—

eating a plate of cow meat or tofu

turning a key that fills the sky with carbon dioxide

or drains the electric grid that dams wild rivers

kneeling to pray to a cosmic tyrant

or voting for a populist thug or

moving two fingers across a board tiled with 26 keys

knowing that if enough of us deliver

words of truth

to minds that can still hear it

this empire of lies will vanish

like February snow.

2 thoughts on “Planetary Chess

  1. ok so it didn’t turn out what i was afraid it could. the chess idea makes sense. that’s what it is essentially but most people take selfish turns to win. or just keep complicating the game.

    i like the poem. i like its coherence.


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