Sunday, July 25, 2010

Total Confusion

Although much of life is cyclical, cycles confuse me sometimes. Why do fashions return every 20-odd years? Why does my daughter love my '80s clothes? Why is deterioration a precursor of rebirth? Why are there annuals when they could be perennials? How come it's already time to get on the Poetry Bus?

Niamh takes The Total Feckin Eejit's Bus on world tour with a confusing prompt this week. Please go visit the wonderful forms of confusion my riding companions capture.

Have We Left the World a Better Place Than It Was Before We Got Here?

My generation came of age
and the neighborhood boys
got shipped to the jungle to fight gorillas
the girls went to college
the college boys wrote manifestos
police became pigs and war became stupid
We tripped and fell and tripped again
Elvis gave way to the Doors
We expanded our minds
We fought a war to end a war
and we won by God we won

Then came disco. We were besotted
by paychecks and stopped checking out
the guerillas among us rose up
to be brokers and lawyers and such
our soldier boys suffered from PTSD
tended by women who had burned their bras
We declared war on drugs
We invented Earth Day, cell phones
indestructible plastic and global warming
We dreamed up the world wide web
and we paid by God we paid

We survived Y2K but died in planes
new weapons of mass destruction
We declared war on terrorism
sent our sons to Iraq while our daughters
turned experts on mochas and fraps
our grandchildren texted and our parents
declined so we placed them in homes
watched Alzheimer’s kill them
one step at a time. Our drugs morphed
into anti-depressants and cholesterol
fighters, our portfolios crashed
and we lost by God we lost

How did we get here and why did we stop
believing our power to change all for the good?
Idealism died and we wrapped it in plastic
shipped it off to the landfill
with the rest of our trash. We who invented
the peace sign know little about it
in our Golden Years
We no longer protest
We no longer fight
We’ve left it all to our children
and we want to retire
My generation has aged
and what have we done
by God
what have we done


Alice Audrey said...

I have no idea why fashions come and go as they do. I mostly try to ignore them.

Gwei Mui said...

The journey you take us on is real, modern and continuing,
"We no longer protest
We no longer fight
We’ve left it all to our children
and we want to retire
My generation has aged
and what have we done
by God
what have we done"
I feel another generation going the same way

Brian Miller said...

wow. powerful verse...and step through history...and where we have come ....for better or worse...but where do we go from here...

Magpie said...

Wow! That's a powerful piece. It hits home hard. Thanks for the ride on the bus of confusion. :)

Andrew said...

Yes, oh what have we done?

And what are we doing now?

RNSANE said...

I have the blues today and this poem really let the floodgates loose. I wonder, often, what we've done to ourselves, under the guise of progress and growth and I think, not a hell of a lot.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

This has a deep historic backbeat, I like it!

The Bug said...

Wow - VERY powerful poem! I was just commenting the other day (or was this a conversation I had in my head? Hmmm - I don't remember) that I was in college during the "me" years - we worked hard to major in things that would earn us the big bucks (I was an accounting major). Our professors just shook their heads at us - we were obviously not going to carry their torch for the next fight...

Prayer Girl said...

Very impressive. Well written and quite interesting.


Dianne said...

just what i was thinking, dang you can write! although i hate these, it's what i can say today....:)

the watercats said...

really enjoyed this popped bubble. The flow of it is really nice and angry, like you could march to it. I think the things you speak of though are a perpetual cycle of events that has exsisted for all of the age of man/lady.

Karen said...

Turn, turn, turn. Of course, you get that reference, but now I'm thinking that the worm has turned, too. Or maybe the butterfly turned out to be a worm after all.

You have captured our idealism and betrayal perfectly. This is a ride I took with you, Chris. Where did we go?

Argent said...

Very powerful and really nicely crafted. I love the xx, by god, xx form of the last line of each verse and what a killer ending!

Erratic Thoughts said...

I loved it!
What a simply great poem :)
Confusion reigns so high in our daily life.nice piece of poetry.. :)

Shadow said...

you ARE full of questions today, aren't you *grin*

Niamh B said...

This is brilliant, you've covered so much ground in a few short stanzas, and point out the strange twists and turns in just one life span, the mind really boggles doesn't it, when you think of it?

Titus said...

Very powerful, and so well crafted - some great internal half-rhymes. Although it's a "global" story it feels personal, and that makes it very moving. And the repeated structure is very good.
Loved it, and it felt like you lived it.

Kat said...

When you put it like that, Chris, I want to go and find a small island somewhere and be a hermit.

Very reflective piece and you do those so well.


Anonymous said...

wow, a brief and succinct history of the 20th century, beautifully expressed, really loved this one.
thanks for sharing

Paul C said...

So true about how the 60's generation has turned inward and egocentric. Pharmaceuticals and all...

Gabriella Moonlight said...

This is amazing...You managed in a meer page to succinctly touch on much of my life and my mothers!!!

And thank you!

I've had some situational depression hit me so haven't been on much but am feeling better, exercise has helped and yoga/meditation.

Missed you and hope to catch upon the blogs.


Anonymous said...

Loved this - such a complete vision of a lifetime and written with every fibre of yourself. Have to commend to the stanza endings and clever half-rhymes throughout. Your lines are clipped and efficient and carry your passion in a rhythm that builds and builds.

jinksy said...

Nitty gritty wisdom at its best, Blogpal.

Gerry Snape said...

I'm a child of the 60's, though I was ever so good then and yet down inside I was angry at all the crap going on. I read the female eunuch and thought about what was happening in the world. I marched in my 50's against the unfair poll tax, but was shocked when I went to do a degree as a mature student to hear the 18 year old girls say " oh don't be so boring... just let us have fun...feminism is old hat!!! I love the poem, the way the words come up and hit you and the changing repetition at the end of each verse. thankyou...and thanks for visiting my post...much appreciated. Gerry

Syd said...

There are still some of us out here fighting, protesting, and trying to make a difference. I haven't changed a lot since those days, older but maybe a bit less strident but still with a desire to do the greater good. Great poem Chris.

Doctor FTSE said...

I'm so glad I visited this poem. Thank you.

Martin H. said...

"..our grandchildren texted and our parents
declined so we placed them in homes."

"Idealism died and we wrapped it in plastic
shipped it off to the landfill
with the rest of our trash."

Just two of your observations that struck a chord. The whole piece should be set to music!

Jeanne Iris said...

Well constructed history lesson here, E.O. The operative word is 'lesson.' How can this lesson evolve to become the next revolution? I like your quest in the final stanza.

Helen said...

(I am a generation before you ~ grew up with Elvis!)

I read your work and was transfixed by the words .. the truth .. the insight .. just telling it like it was, is and will be!

Domestic Oub said...

Excellent, excellent. So much told, so many questions. And I wonder about the time span of this poem from the next generations point of view...

Tracy said...

This poem is just incredible. I don't know if I have ever read such a candid and accurate description of our generation.

PS 80s fashions are back? GAK!

Peter Goulding said...

There's so much in here its like a mini-novel. Reminds me of that Talking Heads song about water flowing under rocks.

Scott said...

Chris, this is quite a commentary... wow! What a wonderful way you have, of making things come alive in my mind :-)

Awesome, thanks!

the walking man said...

As i have said many times in many pieces the one thing we forgot to bring with us from our youth was the ability to give a shit about other people. Including our children.