By John Beer



For those about to embark on a journey of discovery
That will take them past the point of no return
Until everything you thought you knew is history,
For those about to stare death in the face,
For those about to stop entering the numbers,
Heedless of consequence, giving up the rations,
The olive oil, chips, the powdered milk, for those
About to create a new society, chartered in the trust
That only surviving a plane crash without damage
To cheekbones or brooding glances can create,
Although this brave new world is torn by strife
Since Jack thinks Locke is wrong to open the hatch
And Sawyer for a while resents the torture
Which was necessary, because no one has the right
To horde lifesaving medicine when it’s a question
Of survival, for those about to learn that they might
Be caught in the wheels of a grand experiment
Set up by folks in the age of black-and-white
Preserved in dusty archives and the odd promo clip,
For those about to put their fathers to rest, because they drink
Even when about to perform surgery, or because
They stole their child’s kidney, or because
They’re a mobster who makes Jin do his dirty work, or because
They got tricked by a cheap con man into killing themselves
Along with your mother, and so you took on the name
Of the man you thought responsible, but in the end
He was somebody else, and you had to go to Australia
To figure everything out, which is where you met
The surgeon in a bar, except at that point he wasn’t
A surgeon anymore, but just the father of the man
Who’d end up ordering the torture, though these days
You have more of a problem with his thing for Kate,
For those about to find that going home isn’t always an option,
Whether you’re a beautiful fugitive or a fat guy
Who won the lottery, a member of Driveshaft
Or an onlooker sitting at home, so you can’t go home
Because you’re already there, for those about to sift
The wreckage to find the manifest, for those about to hug,
For those about to lose heart, for those about to sink
Below the blank blue Pacific, for those about to wonder
If this is going anywhere or if they’re just making it up
Week by week, flying without a map over the blank
Blue Pacific, for those about to switch to a different show,
For those about to say that it’s one way, even though
It’s the other way, for those about to give up
And go home, you can’t go home,
You’re already there, for those about to design
Their own island, nobody’s an island,
John Donne said it first, now he’s out of
His wheelchair, for those about to whisper,
For those about to shoot, for those
About to kill a boar, we defy, for those about
To lose a brother, about to build a church,
We respect you, for those, for those about to run
A marathon, for those about to burn, we observe you,
We adore you, we supply you, we reflect you,
For those about to talk, we will view you.


John Beer is the author of the poetry collection The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium Books, 2010).

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