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Should Be Any Time Now (A Paranoia) (1984)

Should Be Any Time Now (A Paranoia) (1984)

©1984 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1984). Should be any time now: A paranoia. Unpublished poem.






I first had the idea for this poem in the 1960s, when my brother and I traded cars. He got my 1961 Chevy, which I should have kept, and I got his 1961 Volkswagen bug.

It occurred to me that I was driving around in a car my country had warred with not all that many years ago. I thought, what if someone is holding a grudge.

By the time I got around to writing it wasn’t German products that were flooding the market, but Japanese– so I switched from one former Axis power to another. The bizarre reasoning of the poem’s protagonist   in no way reflects my own feelings about either German or Japanese people. It’s just a poem.


Should Be Any Time Now

A Paranoia by Dallas Denny



Some might call it

Economic warfare

I think it’s more direct than that

Let’s walk a little further away

From that Sony television set


Our generals were surprised

When they gave up

After we hurled only

A few kilotons of man made

Fire-hurricane at them


Surrender is their ultimate dishonor

It demands ritual self—sacrifice

I hope you’re not carrying

A Walkman on your person


Now they’re Westernized

Wearers of leisure suits

And wing-tip shoes

They became businessmen

Merchandisers of electronic trinkets


They make it better

Sell it cheaper

Than we can or will

Tape recorders and wristwatches

Transistorized terrors


Something they make

Will be within your very sight as you read this

Do you truly understand

What your computer games

Your stereo receivers

Have inside them

I thought you didn’t


Somewhere in Tokyo

In a secret war room

(Or maybe in a corporate board room)

There is a master button

Linked by radio waves

With all those

Television sets and Toyotas


And someday one of them

Will push that button

You’d better buy American

Some might call it

Economic warfare

I think it’s more direct than that