This train of thought began
as I was reading a poem in a magazine
by someone I haven’t seen
in many a year.

Back then,
she talked politics,
music, art, Sylvia Plath,
wrongful arrests and
how the older generation
were nothing but suburban zombies,
conditioned to some fake American dream.

None of this seemed remarkable in those days
but it does now.
For the poem avoids anything
she could possibly feel enthusiastic about,
paints a pretty scene that’s all,
like she’s become no more
than a water-colorist in words.

There was nothing that reminded me
of the city streets at night,
the neon, the traffic,
the dive bars, the freaks,
or the cheap apartments we lived in.

The difference that strikes me
between then and now
is that we drank a lot of coffee,
scribbled poetry on paper napkins
and nobody was published anywhere

Our lives went on from there.
Some of us true to our youthful ideals.
Some of us regardless.

© John Grey 2020

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in New World Writing, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Work upcoming in Hollins Critic, Redactions and California Quarterly.