Everyone who was alive in 1885 has jumped ship.
Where'd they go? We don't know.
But they've taken their secrets with them.
And you and I, fast becoming museum pieces,
are on that same journey from the relevant to the obscure--
eyes soon to be staring from a sepia-toned photo
in the glass encased confines of the local historical society.
And what have you contributed to the dialogue, my boy,
and will any of it survive the fuzzy TV snowstorm screen of time?
And what would they know of the real you
if indeed a name or a photograph survived?
Still, you'd like to be remembered--and don't know why--
though you think it has something to do with being loved.
And you're content to write shit in silent protest of your solitude.
And you feign indifference in your involuntary celibacy,
telling yourself that ass isn't all it's cracked up to be--
though in truth it's just like food--no big deal until you have to go without.
And you wonder at what exact moment did you cross the line
from "so fine" to something more akin to what the cat drug in.
And why didn't anyone warn you of the impending disaster?
Now, generally, you avoid mirrors, though sometimes
you seek them out with a morbid curiosity.
In elementary school we sang "Frere Jacques"
and "When Those Caissons Go Rolling Along"
in our gruffest soprano voices.
"Play That Funky Music White Boy"
had not yet seared its way into our psyche--
the circadian rhythm of time still on the verge
of breaking into a more primal beat.
Now, all the young women are turning bi-sexual,
SO TIRED of waiting for guys to call...
and the beat goes on.
Dawn's curtain rises above the prairie.
Actors resigned to their fate
begin to stir and vie for parking spots.
Sweeping west, reptilian eyes blink and greet the sun.
Palm fronds sway in the breeze,
and your island dreams are dashed
in the swell of concrete--the shimmering heat
rising to meet the sky, and you and I
are no closer to our first hello and our last goodbye.
Day is done. The local TV newscasters--
so Shirley Temple serious--
so imbued with their own sense of self-importance,
as if anyone will give a damn
about the words they mouth from a teleprompter
ten years from now...or even next week.
Surely, my boy, YOU can manufacture
something with a longer shelf-life.
Or maybe not.
Maybe just another face in the group photograph
turning yellow with age--
waiting for some stranger
contemplating the swift passage of time.