“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”  —H.L. Mencken

In days of yore, like maybe fifty years ago,
We scorned all those who claimed they’d seen a UFO,
And only numbskulls said they came from outer space;
The Project Blue Book study sealed their fall from grace.

But now the Feds say blips seen on a radar screen
Are proof of aliens. I’d say their case is lean.
In ‘89 our satellites could see our smiles,
And Gorbachev’s birthmark was mapped from twenty miles.

Our warships (so they say) are being tricked and tracked.
They’ve brought the Martians back and now we’re being attacked!
It’s clear the Covid scare just didn’t scare enough,
So now, convenient little green men huff and puff.

Get ready for the lockdowns and the tinfoil hats.
We’re lab rats in the grasp of fat cat bureaucrats.
NO, don’t expect they’ll show us any hi-res photos…
They’ve stacked the deck. We know the tech. We’re not all dodos.



Mike Bryant is a poet and retired plumber living on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

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21 Responses

  1. David Watt

    Mike, I particularly love the line: “We’re lab rats in the grasp of fat cat bureaucrats.” The bureaucrats are having a wonderful time trying to outdo each other in creating nonsensical restrictions. UFOs are just another means of reinforcing the “We’re all in this together” line.

  2. Paul Freeman

    I do recall those Chariots of the Gods,
    believed in by all tinfoil-hatted bods.
    The aliens’ pyramidic-building passion
    became a nineteen-eighties TV fashion,
    along with Sly, the boxer known as Rocky,
    and Michael Myers, whose mask was not for hockey.

    You’ve hit the nostalgia spot, Mike.

    • Mike Bryant

      Thanks, Paul. I know that if I had a spacecraft I would definitely travel light years and build pyramids on developing planets. Just imagine how much you could screw up those people’s minds! To hell with the Prime Directive.

  3. Jeff Eardley

    Mike, this is great and very musical as it bounces along to a count of seven. In stanza three, line 2, I think it needs “and now” between “back” and “we’re” but hey, what do I know. I love the reference to that Gorbachev birthmark and I remember dark nights in the 70’s spent UFO spotting. A most entertaining read today,

  4. Brian Yapko

    Mike, this is a very enjoyable poem (Gorbachev’s birthmark is priceless!) on the very serious subject of agitprop and the propaganda we are fed in order to distract us from what is really happening. I just recently watched Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks” so I’m especially amused by your invocation of a Martian invasion that we must prepare ourselves for with tinfoil hats and lockdowns. But if it wasn’t Martians, it would be something — or someone — else. Creating or identifying new enemies to distract and control the people is an old and insidious tool of statecraft. Thank you for a laugh which also happens to be an important warning and a thoughtful read.

    • Mike Bryant

      Thanks, man. They have tried everything… the craziest thing happening now is the continuing effort to make us hate the Russians, when any thinking person must realize that China has us by the short hairs. Too many on both sides of the political divide (and in the center, too) are making way too much money out of China to do anything about it.
      God help us.

  5. Peter Hartley

    Mike, I don’t care what you say, I utterly refuse to be inoculated against threats from COVID-19 positive intergalactic shellycoats. That is a step too far. So too is the wilful confusion of Mikhail Gorbachev’s naevus with the Jovian red spot. And that phrase quoted by David above. I’m convinced that you and Susan must have a special machine to churn out these tongue twisters. This poem is seriously very funny.

    • Mike Bryant

      Thanks, Peter… although I’m pretty sure that leprechauns are much funnier than shellycoats. I’ll have to check with Susan on that. Pfizer IS working on the Shellycoat Jab. It’ll be ready the day after tomorrow and, of course, it will be completely free of charge.
      As for Gorbachev. I must have accidentally said Jovian birthmark. I meant jovial naevus.
      Susan is my tongue twisting machine. I gotta run everything past her.
      I hope you think it’s funny when you’re stuck at home with your mask and tinfoil hat on! LOL

  6. Sally Cook

    Mike —
    Love the subject, title and especially the poem.
    Here’s my take on the subject – an actual incident.


    About the time of which you speak
    I painted flying saucers, as described
    By married couples, captured side by side,
    And solitary souls who saw them once a week

    Or more, or less and suffered shakes within
    From ice cold pale green swift intrusive hands
    In operating rooms. These alien bands
    Sliced single slivers of the victim’s skin.

    Anticipating God knows what, some sort of doom,
    I painted one, filled up with others, small
    And hung it on a cold museum wall,
    But something didn’t like it in that room
    And stabbed it, through the heart in aggravation;
    Museum paid for its defenestration.

    This subject may require a contest!


    • Mike Bryant

      Hey Sally… thanks. Aliens/leprechauns/shellycoats are known to carry knives for the express purpose of destroying any artwork that gets a little too close to the truth. I wonder if the curator had previous experience with the ne’er-do-wells…
      It might not be a good idea to have a contest… they are STILL watching, and they do have their knives out. The truth is out there…

  7. Martin Rizley

    This is a really hilarious treatment of a subject that has been hyped so much by the media lately. It makes you wonder what´s going on– but I think your analysis brings us close to the truth: “It’s clear the Covid scare just didn’t scare enough/ So now, convenient little green men huff and puff.” That line made me smile, as many others did. It is good to keep a sense of humor amidst all the craziness of the times we are living in, times in which it seems that the government likes to put a little “chaos, uncertainty and fear” in the headlines from time to time as a means of creating of insecurity, which facilitates social control.

    • Mike Bryant

      Thanks, Martin… I agree that a sense of humor is an absolute necessity in almost any situation. These days there’s not a lot to smile about, so it’s imperative that we all take the longer view. The truth really does set you free.

  8. Yael

    This is a fun and entertaining poem, it reminds me of the US Congress scene from the old movie Mars Attacks:


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