Saturday, July 26, 2014

Punk Poetry Corner: At One Time...


Ana Vujic: "Birth School Work Death"
(Mixed media on wood, private collection, 2014)
http://www.gallery-daeppen.com/_artists/ana_vujic/index.php

At One Time...

<Birth>
At one time...you could go shopping for fun, spend hours at the mall, and still have money left over when you were done.

At one time...two parents didn't sweat like dogs...just to afford
all those wonderful toys at the mall.


At one time...families could afford two weeks' vacation a year,
stay in a hotel each night, and enjoy some meals out.


At one time...you could actually buy groceries,
and not feel like you needed a bank loan.

At one time...you could visit long-distance relatives and friends

a couple of times a year (even on weekends)...
...and afford the gas to get there.

At one time...people got involved in what happened around them.
Now, they just don't seem to care,
no matter how crazy it gets.


<School>
At one time...civics courses were standard K-12 fare.  Today, they're drowned out by the drumbeat of standardized tests.

At one time...you had to know what the Constitution and
the Bill of Rights said (and they also taught you
something about early American history).

At one time...people could identify Vietnam
or Norway on a map without hesitation.

At one time...schools looked out for every student's needs,
and didn't try to make everybody the same.

At one time...you could afford the promises of college...when
the regimes in charge offered more grants than loans.


<Work>
At one time...people stayed in the same place, and weren't forced
to move every few years, just to make a living.


At one time...even a minimum wage office job (boring as it was)
offered some sort of hedge against moving every few years
(until those jobs eventually dried up).


At one time...banks competed for customers' loyalties,
based on interest rates. Today, they slap fees
on every ounce of your slavery.

At one time...businesses were smaller, and didn't draw big red lines
through the communities they pretended to serve.

At one time...if people were practical and frugal,
they put something away for a rainy day.

At one time...many people lived on farms
and felt rewarded for the fruits of their labors.


<Death>
At one time...we would never have questioned
if “Solyent Green” felt like a documentary.

At one time...working till you dropped sounded like something 
out of a bad science fiction novel, 
or a cheesy '70s movie.

Today, life is the stuff
of a cheesy, bad science fiction movie.
Logan never stops running,
always in motion -- 
alive and well for now,
but whether he sees 31
remains ripe for speculation.

--The Reckoner & The Squawker

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