Refuting the Book of George

[This was originally published by About.com in its Poetry section, back in 1999, in response to the release of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. It was retrieved via the Wayback Machine as About.com no longer exists, and I’m republishing it here for my own archives, but also in an initial response to Boba Fett’s return, about which I’m feeling a little ambivalent.]

Dateline: 8/10/99

A movie review, news article and poem, all wrapped up in one. . .

Refuting the Book of George

or, why one month a year for poetry isn't enough. . .

Two hundred years from now
on a submerged island
off the coast of Las Vegas
divers searching for clues
to our downfall
will come across a sealed vault
containing six tapes of digitized history.

   Watched in order
they will tell the story of a boy
whose battle with evil
saw entire worlds destroyed.

Scholars will dismiss the preface
         IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY
as allegorical
concluding they have found
the final chapters of the New Testament
call it the Book of George
      explain death-stars and the Force
            as metaphorical
      and faith as sometimes
      necessarily blind.

A noted anthropologist
writing from death-row
in an obscure journal of alternative histories
will note that
      amidst a diversity of species
the human race seemed overwhelmingly white
most having a curiously British accent.

Little Asian boys and girls
will be eyed suspiciously
their black counterparts
calling shotgun
      grateful for being included at all.

A small group of rebels
based in an underground community
in the ruins of an eastern island city
will hold weekly meetings
at the risk of death
      reciting poetry.

   Out loud
the words of Whitman, Williams, Hughes
            Clifton, Lourde, Giovanni
            Baraka, Bukowski, Perdomo
mixing with their own
      leaping from mouths
          to ears
             to hearts
                to minds. . .

      setting them free
      setting things straight.

History is a precious thing
unappreciated until it is lost.

Long, long ago
in a galaxy far, far away
mine was rewritten
      sold to the highest bidder
      thrown overboard
      trampled underfoot
      hung from trees like ornaments
      converted, civilized, homogenized
         their stories lost forever.

In the Book of George
they do not exist.

Lando Calrissian fell to the dark side
      went on to hawk malt liquor
Sam Jackson delivers 3/5th's of his lines
as if in the sequel to Pulp Fiction
      and I find myself hoping
      for Boba Fett to return
      remove his mask
      and look something like me

As much as I always wanted to be
      Luke Skywalker
I knew all the force in the world
could not make it so.

   Long, long ago
in a galaxy far, far away
poets risked death and poverty
      never questioning why
      because they knew

there are too many stories that must be told
to let one person tell them all.

Β© 1999, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Header image via StarWars.com.

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