Or maybe the name should be

‘it all started when

he hit me back.’ I mean how

do you decide if an act

is an accident, an innocent mistake,

or a deliberate flaunting

of some unwritten agreement,

a social contract.

It is only the result – the murdered soldier,

the child shot in the head, the rabbi bled

to death – that makes you think of it.

What were you Doing

hiking out there off the approved roads

with armed soldiers as chaperones

when the people of this town

fear attack? And you, why

did you take your child to throw stones

when there were real bullets flying in the air?

Don’t you people know enough to run for cover?

Ah you had a right

to be where you were, to go

where your gods have gone,

a duty to protect your land,

your state, your way of life!

Fine. Let’s do it where it is safe.

Let’s play ‘provocation’ in cyberspace.

Here are some of the rules –

the stronger the reaction you provoke

with the more of your own who are killed

the higher your score.

Of course that is only the general idea.

The rules are more complex – age (at both extremes)

and gender count too. Ancient ladies and little girls

are premium, and there are far more points for provoking

reactions before a camera, or staging dramatic moments:

empty ambulances careening through a street, orphaned families

praying over a father’s fresh grave.

I imagine this as the kind of game that could take

an entire evening, a game whole families could play,

an educational entertainment.

At least, it would keep

the people

off the dangerous,

dangerous streets