Saturday, July 7, 2012

Back in the Day


C. Neuroticus Absolutus

Back in the day,
We thought ourselves immortal,
Racing along the bluff-shaded road that followed the river,
Foot heavy on the throttle.
It’s a wonder we didn’t kill ourselves
Or someone else.

Back in the day,
Our far-less-jaded dreams
Dripped with the impertinence and arrogance of youth.
The only dragons and demons we knew
Lived in the pages of children’s books
At the library.

Back in the day,
We’d sit around the drug store
Boasting of things we’d do, the fortune and acclaim we’d win.
Sweethearts sat close in a booth and drove each other crazy
Holding hands under the table
Or rubbing a leg or two.

Back in the day,
We parked at the drive-in and
Ordered homemade fries and the best burgers in the world.
Later, at the parkway overlook,
We studied biology and anatomy
And traded mustard-flavored kisses.

Back in the day,
Neighbors said hello and more,
At church, on the street or at a high school football game.
Gossip raced through a switchboard and along party lines,
Keeping us in touch with a human warmth
Much kinder than today’s instant messaging.

Back in the day,
A quarter bought a day at the movies,
With serials, the news, the Three Stooges, cartoons, popcorn and drink to accompany
A double feature in Technicolor and a chocolate bar high.
Six hours of exploratory groping in the dark
Was exhausting.

Back in the day,
Movies brought the world closer,
Fantasies until ghosting, snowy-screened televisions came into our homes
And showed us ordinary people prospering in the world beyond our mountains.
That storybook life beckoned
And we answered its call.

Back in the day,
We fought two wars we thought
Would finally make the world a place where men were free
And the skies were always blue.
But then came Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan where many, too many, died
And we never understood why.


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