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Tuesday, January 05, 2021


by John Hodgen


Consider the twenties, not Gatsby, not  
       Daisy, not that Roaring, and not  
just that double deadbolt year  
        just past like a Times 
Square mask. I’m meaning 
     all ten, that bright decade  
you were hoping for after college  
     like a swath unwinding, like red brocade,  
like ten Handmaid’s Tales crossing 
     Lafayette Square against the light,  
holding their bonnets, laughing 
     their asses off, like bridesmaids nearly  
collapsing, all of them needing  
     a bathroom, bad, before joining  
the Women’s March. You can do anything
     your parents said, or was it your  
sloppy, drunken aunt, waving 
     her Tanq and tonic like a scimitar  
at Thanksgiving or your hot cousin’s wedding, 
     nearly falling out of her dress  
like Delacroix’s Liberty Leading 
     the People.  And since it all goes so  
fast, that dreading, 
     that mindsuck, that hellscape  
     you only get one shot, one Hamilton,  
maybe two, considering, 
    and then you’re gone, tik tok, (think  
Lorde, think Lizzo.) You listening? 
     And since it’s also abundantly clear  
there’s no gaming  
     the future for us (think Zuckerberg,  
think Bezos), I’m thinking 
     there’s only the present then, the art  
of self-promoting, posting 
     the mini-marvel movies we make for  
ourselves, starring us, of course,  
     like flashing dwarves, elves, like little  
DiCaprios, each a wee King 
     of the World coolly leaning over last  
year’s cruise ship railing.  
     We’re our own Captain Americas,  
Wonder Womans now, hawkeyed, land- 
     locked, running for our lives, down  
to our last Mohican, imploring, exhorting 
     our loves: I will find you. You must stay  
alive. So we stay living then 
     every blursday with this singular  
difference from anyone living  
     for the last hundred years. We’re  
zombies for life. We’re increasing  
     our brand, and no one can tell us  
a goddamned thing. 

John Hodgen, Writer-in-Residence at Assumption University, won the AWP Prize for Grace (University of Pittsburgh Press). His new book is The Lord of Everywhere (Lynx House/University of Washington Press).