Conversing with Aliens


It's deceiving, how magically the alien

Appears to speak in our language

Yet prefers bowing in, dropping out

Over engaging discourse

Leans toward evasion 

of our questions, willful blindness to

Competing facts or views

And silent stony staring 

At any random misfit thought.


Yet draws us in by sleight

Of hand illusion, words of vague 

significance as certitudes,

Aggression cloaked in soft tones

Shifted meanings, insurgent rhetoric

Truth detached from reason,

Science determined by the weight 

Of passion, lardings of emotion

The spirit of the mob

Rushing to some a priori judgement.


The alien confronts, demands surrender

Insisting on the final word

Silencing dissent. 

Appeal to some guy's holy text 

Goes trumping all before it.

Liberty, dignity, undone at last by

High platitudes shielding the low purposes

Of moral chauvinism.


The prestige lies in reversing the

Compass words, calling by

“Progress” its opposite, to mask

Their reactionary project, restoration

Of clerical autocrats, 

Celebrity aristocrats

And the world lit only by fire.


Language is war by other means.

At least the rocket armed 

barbarians have the civility

To play it straight.

 © Philip Knight 2018