We should have seen it in the eighties
// Poetry //

November 2019

I was born in 79

on the brink between generation X and Y

Between whatever and why

so somehow, I feel innocent.

It's not my fault.

Firstly, I was too young,

and secondly

my apathy is not my own:

it is a trait of my generation.


But anyway, I feel

that we should have seen it in the eighties.

We should have seen it in the eighties.

When they leveled the forests

with asphalt and parking lots.

When they erected malls

and sucked the life out of the cities.

When it became normal to have more televisions

and cars

in one family.

When Chernobyl exploded and sent

threatening clouds over Europe.

When they brought strangers to the country

to maintain our lifestyle

without having enough housing

so the young people had to walk the streets

and occupy abandoned warehouses.


We should have seen it in the eighties


That growth led us out of the road

to nowhere

We were even warned by David Byrne and Talking Heads

who sang about the same road

and about nothing but flowers.

But our eyes were fixed on MTV

and on everything American.

Betamax

blockbusters

and headfirst liberalism.


In Denmark, my generation has been called the discount generation.

Because we were born when all the discount stores were built.

And we grew up eating discount food

And carried our groceries home in discount bags

And bought our necessities at discount prices

and lived our discount lives

in discount houses

in pastel colors

while we were smiling

windy wide smiles

with government-funded braces

and with the political concerns swept away

under the living room rugs.


We should have seen it in the eighties.

When the yuppies took over for the hippies

and made sure that everything became a race.

As if life was about being the first to reach

nowhere.


There were price races

on the groceries

while price and quality galloped towards zero

faster than you could say agricultural aid.


And there were career races

against the curved floors of the director's corridors

and toward a life in speedboats

vacations in Spain

and champagne enough

to drown yourself.


And there were family races

to deliver the children early enough in kindergartens

and pass the red light

before the neighbor

in the residential neighborhoods

which were built to inhabit.

But not to live in.


We should have seen it in the eighties

But now we’re here

And we are being shouted at,

by a younger generation

and its spokes girl from Sweden.

Who threatens us:

that the eyes of all future generations are upon us.

And she asks:

"How dare you?"

And as Hunter S. Thomson in sixty-eight

I also remain disillusioned.

And I’m looking out at the tide pole

taking note of the mark,

where the wave of the eighties broke

and all the wrapping paper from the luxury goods

came rushing back upon us

as a regular

pole melting

ocean rising

biblical flood


Long ago, we should have seen

That the shadow of the eighties

and decades of carefree abundance,

 exploitation of the Third World

and predatory utilization of natures resources

would come back

in the same way as Bruce Willis

always comes back in a Die Hard movie:

with a vengeance.

Revenge-bearing, ultraviolent

and without any regard to life.


But we are still Homo Pastelius

 And we still do as we did in the eighties.

we hide

sweep away

and shroud

the truth behind concepts.

We call it terror,

and mass immigration

and refugees

and natural disasters.

and forget

that we knew it all along.

The colors were too vivid

too bright and too clear

the scents too pure

and the flavors too tasty.

It was all a dream.

And though I formally belong to generation X,

and therefore, should not care,

there are just enough generation Y in me

to ask

Why?

Why don't we wake up?

 

©2019 by Jannik Landt Fogt.