The zipper don’t work on our jackets
the drugs don’t work on our kids
our breath stinks
our teeth are cracking
and we’re haggling with the bartender
over the price of our bicycles, so no:
we’re not drinking PBR to be cool anymore.
We are huddled up together here
where the landlord won’t start shit
watching Wall Street windows
spit out suits
like gears flying off a dry machine.
The television cuts to the hard numbers
the graph a vast scream with jagged fangs
but the sound is off
the jukebox is on
and Johnny Cash is laughing
at our plans.
Remember these days.
This beer is dishwasher-filtered diarrhea
with a thick head of shaving cream
and a generous sediment
of only the finest Milwaukee boogers
and it will never taste better.
We will buy it for girls
whose perfume has a higher alcohol content
and they will pretend to be drunk
and we will pretend to be somebody
and the laughter
will be completely honest.
Nobody’s selling anything
and the buyers market
is a flock of overfull blimps
floating off to burst in the airless void, so
Here’s a beer.
I couldn’t afford to wrap it
but I made the bow myself
out of fortune cookie fortunes; it says
riches are coming your way
In the meantime
remember these days.
The inspirational clichés and epic guilt trips
of countless grandparents
were forged in generations like these
so come on over.
The Xbox is in the pawn shop
and the cable’s off ‘til next week
and the possibilities are endless.
The banks are burning
and there’s no cover charge
at the weenie roast
no white noise
to blur the rhythm in the wind
whistling down the steel canyons
and the songbirds
haunting dead wires
and the echoes of mighty rivers
floating up from the gutters
so let’s steal some music
the old fashioned way.
Remember these days.
I don’t know if you hear the same things I do
up ahead, and I can only hope the smoke clears
before we get there
but in the meantime
we must learn to hold hands again
so shake mine like your father’s
and we’ll toast
to the ghost of tomorrow.
This poem originally appeared in the historic port city, Volume 5 of The Ampersand Review.
Tod Caviness is a three-time member of Orlando’s Say Anything Slam Team and has been largely unmedicated the entire time. He has been the host of the Speakeasy spoken word night, the heir to Patrick Scott Barnes’ long-running Backroom Words. He has been a film critic, a haunted house employee, a candy store manager, and a waiter. He has been featured at Boston’s Cantab Lounge, NYC’s Bowery Poetry Club, and the most hostile bars in Brevard County. He has never felt he was a typical gemini, but then geminis never do.