The Anxiety Of This Age

“This is America
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Look what I’m whippin’ now
This is America.”
~ Childish Gambino


As much as you might
know of yourself
at any one time,
you cannot know what
you’ll require of yourself
somewhere down the line,

or what will be
required of you
by someone else,
by someone othered.

In America,

when haven’t the humans hued
been humiliated and hunted,
haunted by history, bedeviled
by the histrionics of hapless
haranguers and hypocrites?

In America,

when hasn’t the minority mimed
the mellifluous manners
of a ministering majority
in order to live mindful
of ways and means
of making mild the masters
who may murder with impunity?

To survive is alliteration plus anaphora
(and maybe some rhythm and rhyme?),
a repetition of relativity and reason,
a repetition of reverse and return,
running backwards toward eternity,
what’s before you closely following behind.

When don’t you feel you’ve
got to keep an eye, keep an eye
on who’s coming up on you
in order that you may live
by any means necessary
by any necessary means?

Who’s fooling who?
Who’s the minstrel true?
Who’s the who?

Who keeps them down with fear.
Who beats them down with fear.
Who keeps them down with fear.

Aren’t you just one of us,
aren’t you just like us,
aren’t you any one of us?

Who’s the who
who knows who,
him or her or you,
whose gene coded clue
resolves what’s due?

We’re all going to pay.
This tax ain’t new.

*

The anxiety of this age –
has it ever been worse?
can it get any worse? –
is unjustified by its marriage
to its timely relevance
to your current feed.

The anxiety of this age –
what illusion,
what delusion –
have we ever
not been fearful
of the stupid power
of the stupidly powerful?

It’s time to know
once and forever
that although we’re
all stardust and spirit,
some of us are
always supernovas,

our radiating last gasps
of struggling as blinding,
as binding as the millions
of lightyears between us
when we speak
having nothing new to say.

And some of us
are the lodestone,
central to all
existence, the sun
of our own minds,
and everyone else
succumbs to the charm,
and everyone else
will burn in the heatflash
emanating from our core,

or die as slowly as
surreptitious melanoma
spreading like the ambivalent
rule of a careless king
serving without qualms
his own needs unto death –

of town
of province
of kingdom
and inevitably
his own
damned
self.

*

As much as you might
know of yourself
at any one time,
you cannot know what
you’ll require of yourself
somewhere down the line,

or what will be
required of you
by someone else,
by someone othered.

It’s a burning rage
slowly being consumed
by the anxiety of the age,
that there have never been
perpetrators like this
or victims like this,
that there has never
been a time
like this time
every time
for all time.

But all that has changed
are the dates
and their names –

so many names
so many names
that you just can’t
that you just won’t

remember.

 

 

 

Photo by Alexander Lam on Unsplash