I was a child once
perhaps we played together
were you the friend I helped climb the pear tree?
were you the friend who said jump over the puddle and we both missed and came home all muddy in time for trouble?
were you the one who got to the top of the hay bale first and said ‘I can see all the world’ from here and in that moment we really thought we could
or did you grow up in a nice apartment on the Upper East Side, sent to the best schools and expected to do well
which you did in that idle and coveted way of those who have purchase of a velvet lining
did you ever wonder what it was like for the rest?
did you ever wonder why so many famous people are the children of?
did you ever stop and question if ‘life is what you make it’ still stands true?
did you drink dirty water like the kids in Flint?
did you get poisoned by copper like the babies of El Paso?
if you went to a demonstration did you go so you could make change or to show off your $400 Free People outfit?
when you got your first job was it from hard-graft or the friends of your parents?
I went to university with you, I was the one who had a bicycle whilst you drove a Jeep
I wasn’t jealous except when I was hungry and that suited me because I couldn’t afford to grow
when you sat like King on your throne and your acolytes bowed, you crowned yourself head of our year and published the first zine
did it reflect truth or the diamond shanty of your ideals?
good for you that you had a pretty life and long vacations
many of us worked for a living and got up at 5am to empty kitchen tables
parents who stared through the rain at yet another long day
ground down by platitudes that didn’t apply
I’m not bitter it’s just that when we sit in the same room and you tell me
‘I’m sure you can understand Candy, as an owner of a small printing press I have to make ends meet’
I can’t help thinking how fake things that are meant to be real are becoming
we lost art to the debutante, we gave away our souls for front covers with dazzling lies
we have an election that denies the people and computers who act like surrogates
jobs if you’re in China and expensive degrees that promise nothing but loan re-payments
it is said there is no better time than now, and the past was harder when ancestors danced in death in ditches and were blown up
it is said there is no better time than now, we are the proverbial fatted calf, glutted on luxury, we don’t know how bad it used to be
for our grandparents who broke their backs and discolored their lungs in coal pits and the basements of rich homes
back in time we didn’t have flat screen TV and cell phones and fancy jeans but it’s swings-and-roundabouts
now we’re in time where not being online 24/7 can lose your job to someone who didn’t mind being beholden
we had vacations whilst now everyone’s too afraid to be out of the office and checks their cell phones at the dinner table on Sunday’s
where is our sense of self? Did we buy into the belief we are free and rich because we were told that by a meme or nodding head?
did we forget what George Orwell or Rachel Carson said?
Because when we’re young we think we have it all if we have sex and firm thighs and the right to protest
but what good is protest if nothing ever changes? ask the pipe lines who cut through our country if they have heard us yet?
or the profits garnered to keep the 99 percent out of the front lawn
but oh wasn’t it always that way?
sure I read Dickens too and the Little Matchstick Girl
poverty isn’t a modern-dilemma
however maybe apathy and delusion is
wasn’t Marx talking about that when he mentioned Opiates?
we don’t need to take our Big Pharma pills to know
cancer comes with a price tag and you’d better not be poor
the cost of ‘getting well’ is only one part, the other is the creation of the disease
ask the petrochemical industries, do they let their kids inhale or eat that?
does anyone think of the future? Or should we change what Marie Antoinette said to
let them eat lead
what does it say when you’re glad you don’t have kids to inherit these times?
I wanted to write poems and get published and you owned the rights like you always had
glutted and fat on your marble pyramid
you look at people like me, like the street cleaner regards bird shit
something it takes some elbow grease to clean and even then
the outline will mark the pretty pavement where you wanted to hold
your procession proclaiming the world is good and just
I suppose I didn’t fit in with that then and I don’t now
this world is made of dust and sweat, we toil even when we think we are not
against haters, against cruelty, against disregard, apathy and the unexpected
sometimes I think we got it very wrong when we called these Modern Times
Charlie Chaplin may have had a point there
as many who are gone now did, we’re in another incarnation of delusion
hurry up children take your medicine, sip, sip !
so … I won’t win a trophy or even get my name recalled when I’m gone
and that’s okay with me God
I just want enough to live on and to be unmolested by those who seek to tear down
an honest heart or a man who prizes integrity above fitting in
lest we follow a prophet who says he’s the one, and all fall off the cliff
did we ever figure out if the Pied Piper was evil?
down we go
you cannot find truth looking into empty crystal
you find it by noticing the hypocrisy and stepping out of the casting coach
it will be a harder road they always said
but a high road is preferable to one paved in gold
I was a child once