# “A Lost Generation”
I am singing banshee notes this morning
as raisins and dates fall from my mouth.
Thick bands of cerebral clouds build up
their satin layers in my Great Beyond.
There is too much traffic at the flagpole,
I need to shout at the top of my voice
GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!
But I’m too polite, afraid of the afterbite
of acidic bile. There is much work to be done
by the giants who hold me hostage, tying
wedding ring knots in the bed sheets, strung
from the not-so-ivory towers into the moat below.
All of this can’t be real. I desire corn flake-baked
chicken and sliding boards with wax paper
dungarees for super slides into the next generation.
They are dying out, too, before they have a chance
to hatch from their eggs. I can help them translate
their disfigured language but they don’t know
how to listen. My mother anchors me from careless
abandon, reminding me that genetics is the uncontrollable
widget in the machine of lost dreams. “Carry on,” she says
from her grave. “Live out your days until you know it’s time
to close your eyes and pass on what’s left to the weak
# Waiting at PDX for a Dot-Matrix Printer to Access Me a Seat
There are things that are burned forever into that portion
of my brain that handles personal history. Like the printer
that broke at the American Airlines service center. Such an
ancient reptile. It was all that did we had back then. I could
have missed my flight and been unable to show up at work
for a second day in less than a month.
There were phone calls and irate people, cursing the reps
who were doing the best they could, stuck between a rock
and dinosaur. I tasted salt water and lemon meringue pie.
My hands smelled of salted caramel. My palms itched.
I had to sit down to process a dream about swimming
to my destination.
The woman sitting in front of me was unraveling a sandwich
with grilled onions, and the odor was becoming stuck
in my clothes. She spilled her soda and chipped ice bounced
off of the floor, up into my left eye. The agent called my name.
“I’m sorry to tell you that you have been placed on another
flight in Concourse D,” she said, handing me a limp card-
board ticket with smudged ink. “I can’t read this,” I said.
“How will the next agent be able to read it?” She pointed
to her left like a weather vane. “It’s all in the bar code,”
she said. “Hurry or you’ll miss your flight. Have a nice day.”
This and that superimposed
upon beyond below in front of you
with no heart felt me up so good.
Patton and FDR; Stalin and Hitler;
Mozart and Babe Ruth; Elton John
and Liza Manelli; Ruth Bader Ginsburg
and Einstein; Caesar Chavez and Mickey Mouse;
the Lone Ranger; John F. Kennedy and Mister
Rogers; Julia Child and F. Scott Fitzgerald;
Larry Flint and John Wayne. And all those
hypocrites on Mt. Rushmore.
We wait for status proceedings to bestow
glory and fame upon ourselves, praying
that our children make better than us;
that Having It All is the gold standard;
that a mortgage we can’t really afford
is the panacea for our poor mental health;
that a baseball bat crack on the skull is
a close substitute for what that brings.
(Say Amen, brothers and sisters.)
Personalized license plates fill in the gaps
like MuscleMan and 8UP; Gotitall and
that silly fish thing. Baby on Board
and My Child is an Honor Student.
I Sell Avon; Applejack and LSU.
(I’m smelling dead rats in your trunk.)
The dollar bill frames itself for misconduct
and doesn’t count anyway because it lacks
zeros. We are the modern Romans, eating
the lead in our aquifers, and telling our families
to fend for themselves as we head to the casino
for just one more pull at the $1 slots.