mike koehler | baby boomer's lament


I have seen the brightest minds of my generation
succumb to Ponzi schemes and corporate greed,
trapped in golden parachutes and CEO boardrooms,
eaten by consumerism and ulcers, alimony,
401k’s, lobbyists, cocaine addictions,
betting on million dollar Prima Donnie sports players,
Self-worshiping actors,
Hollywood whores, prime time Jezebels
… people
with no claim to fame other than their fame.
Where has our righteous anger gone?
Our flowers and LSD parties and
psychedelic journeysexplorations into the realms
of the gods of children, trees, and gentleness?
Where is the one who will stand down a tank,
douse himself in flames rather than accept evil?
Where are the card burners and war resisters?
Where is the crier in the town square crying
Awake! Awake! gather here and listen.
We shall overcome, unite, protest. object?
Instead we cower behind Plasma TVs,
web browsers and firewalls,
get our news from the breast
of the corporate beast and practice praising
planned obsolescence, model year changes,
buy now pay much more later,
credit is easy, credit is a prostitute,
the Fed is her pimp, Fannie Mae is her handle.
She panders herself on the steps of AIG,
Goldman Sachs, Enron, for middle east sheiks
with sterling silver BMW’s, twenty Harley’s,
forty wives and an Oxford education.
Where is the young woman standing
by the road with a scarf smeared with her sister’s
blood holding a peace sign up to the face of death?
Where are the builders of schools and hospitals?
Hiding from militias and war lords.
Where are the planters of oat and corn?
Buried in mass unmarked graves feeding
generations of worms and scorpions,
fertilizing nothing.
It is easier to hate your neighbour
than to love them.
Easier to blame the President than to admit
you did nothing, said nothing, thought nothing.
Easier to say yes to the boss than no to the spouse.
Easier to let our children dress like hoods and sluts
than parent them in respect and self-esteem.
Easier to put them on Ritalin than be with them.
Where are the teachers and the leaders?
Making six figures in the private sector.
Pay a basketball player ten million a year,
pay an actor twenty million a film.
Ask why kids cant read, why they kill,
why kids are having kids and leaving them
with grandparents who already raised their own children.
You see why this isn’t right?
Why what hasn’t worked before won’t work now?
The dogs of war are no more.
Our doom-sayers are the bells on Wall Street,
the futile words spoken in halls of power.
There are no “duck and cover” drills this time,
even buying bonds will not help.
All that was history comes around again.
We never learn the lessons.
We thought we were so bright.
Man on the moon, the internet, Steven Hawking.
Stem cells, voodoo economics, this laptop.
All this might, all this brainpower
and we’ve forgotten how to count.
If you owe three and earn two
no one comes out ahead.
We give credit where credit is King,
start every day behind in the count.
We shit in our own yard
and complain of the smell.
Were we gods of the world,
giving with one hand but taking with both?
We are not gods.
We have become small in spirit,
small in vision,
small in our dreams and hopes,
Fear is big with us now.
Fear of children with guns.
Fear of people with aids and people
who don’t live or look like us.
We fear our politicians and they fear us.
We fear dying and feeling and losing.
We are not little gods but
little children who want now!
Who want first and want murderously.
We fear guns in the hands of others
but not the one in ours.
If you hurt us
we will hurt you back.
Where are the Grandparents
who sent us to the woodshed
when we fucked up?
Put in manor care homes for the forgotten
by families who don’t want
to be bothered, and replaced
by a membership at the gym
and summers on the beach.
What will happen when the keepers
of the Holy and Irretrievable Past
take their knowledge with them
when they pass from this realm?
Why, child,
only one thing can happen…
We will walk in darkness having doused the light.
We will stumble blind to the path at our feet.
Such pain and loss, such nightmares.
Where is the adult in us, the big person
who thinks before acting, who reasons?
This way forward.
This way back.
You are not alone,
no need to hide outnumbered.
Listen to hip hop soul; the message
is there, the language has changed.
The anger and outrage have not.
Heavy Metal tearing ears and bleeding nitroglycerin,
calling shit, shit.
Warning us, if you don’t do it we will,
and you won’t like it because we
don’t have flower power,
we have fire power.
We’ll pile the junk
and set that fucker off!
And the poets will pick up the mic
that spans the internet and what they say
we won’t like either but it will be heard
and they will not apologize for it’s heart
or it’s concern and they will point to us.
They have the right to do this.
Look at the world we hand them.
Look at what’s on their plate.
They have a world where it’s
common for citizens to threaten
their leaders with death.
Theirs is a world where
the enemy is a religious rule
and conservatives rail that
God belongs in politics
and liberals who say He doesn’t
and nobody thinks to ask Him.
In their world North Korea
brings a gun to the playground
and says respect me or I’ll kill ya.
China owns more of America
than the Indians do,
and Darfur is a cess pool,
Somalia an abattoir.
If we think they don’t give us
enough time, they must be disrespectful.
They aren’t. They have work to do.
Where is the inventor of a new power source?
Flipping burgers making minimum wage.
Where is the philosopher and his Rosetta Stone?
On a fifth floor ward making daisy chains.
Where are the jazz men, the blues men?
On Beale Street collecting welfare.
Where are the poets and writers?
Ghosting celebrity tell-alls.
Where are the gracious and graceful?
Being shouted down by crude louts
on a national stage with 24 hour coverage.
Every one has their eye on the
Suburban Yuppie Guidelines and lists of No-No’s.
How to raise latchkey kids
or make a dirty Martini
or figure out what LOL means.
Reminders to triple lock the doors
because the gangs ain’t quiet tonight.
And others pray their child won’t die in school,
or that their job don’t get shipped to Asia.
All through the belly of America
grumbles the hunger of what was,
grumbles the upset of what is coming.
White and Black.
Hispanic and Hmong,
suddenly we ain’t so different now;
eating from the same spare bowl,
wishing for the same good things,
rolling up our sleeves and doing
for ourselves like we always have,
wanting only the space to do
what needs to be done.

Stop by at onehandarmands and I ‘ll buy ya a cold one.

0 Replies to “mike koehler | baby boomer's lament”

  1. at one time or another i know i have thought about these things but my life has lacked a certain backbone to be able to say them out loud. it is strange to see the direction the world is going in and how disproportionate our concerns are. i tend to not mix with the public in real life because it all drives me crazy. everything in this poem/rant would drive me insane if i thought about it too long because in the end there is a feeling of helplessness in changing it. good write.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.