You Know You Want To

Be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

There’s a time and a place to be original.
But that time is gone, son. It was fun.
Now it’s done.

Be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

You could be you, or you could be cool
but you try to be both, that’s the path of the fool, so:
be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

You had your chance to dance in the spotlight
under the hot lights at the brightest midnight
but it got uptight with all of the not-quites
mixing with the do-rights ending up in white flight
so now it’s best to
be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

Be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

B-E. G-E-N. E-R-I-C. Let’s go!
B-E. G-E-N. E-R-I-C. Let’s go!

Be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

They paid the cost; the Rubicon crossed.
you grabbed the brass ring: it’s since been tossed.
You were different all summer, but with winter’s frost
you’re rushing to defeat and the war’s all lost.

Be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

Slip into the background like a good drone.
You gave your best shot to “to each their own,” now
be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

It’s our genetic disposition to
be generic. Be be generic.
Be generic. Be be generic.

B-E. G-E-N. E-R-I-C.

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Trial of the Century

Just as you think that nothing’s sacred today
and if almost anybody can always get away
with just about anything there under the sun
it’s fun to flash back on old bones of contention
when the people of the public got pissed at all their peers
for hassling the issues of the day in active spheres
of influence – and arguments could everywhere be heard
about innocence and guilt and the punishments incurred.

What with Sacco and Vanzetti and Leopold and Loeb
and those Rosenberg spies with what they sent across the globe?
That other Adolf had his day decided in Israel.
The desk murderer was hang-ed with no chance of an appeal.
Let’s talk about justice. Let us think about crimes,
pondering on all the victims cut down in their primes.
Let’s consider injustice, however cruel and elementary
as it’s been judged and adjourned in the trials of the century.

Both man and a monkey got some press in twenty five,
debating which one might be the best source of how we thrive.
A Lindbergh baby loss held our attention for a while
until a German patsy took the fall and lost the trial.
Each of these adventures were the story of the year
until the next one came along, simply leaving us all queer
and excited – just to sing about the latest greatest thing
trilling on, thrilling to what the new big case could bring.

Jeez! With Patty Hearst and Claus von Bülow, plus that Alger Hiss
it’s like there’s not a Century-Trial that a year did miss.
What Helter Skelter’s family did to Sharon Tate
was horribly banal, and hardly tempting fate.
Each of these rough stories, though they held our interest fast
were clearly not enough to make our attention last.
For as soon as the juries sent perps off to penitentiary
we’d move on the next week to the subsequent trial of the century.

But now we live a life
where whatever sort of strife
people might get up to
will not be enough to
get in the people’s brains
`so that they will sustain
the energy to maintain
the interest to contain
a trail of a new century…

We have a country that has judged all others for a century
and looked upon the planet as plenipotentiary,
which suddenly must ask,"What has happened to me?
Have I been played the way I’ve treated them: unconscionably?
Is this the world I’ve made: no democracy,
which, after so much done to others – ironically –
seems somehow, appropriate, at least, symbolically."
And asking this, must realize, ashamedly

that blaming other nations for their influencing polls
while we have done it often in much reverse-ed roles
is somehow some relation to a kettle smoking pot,
or asking to judge others while ignoring your own rot.
In any case, in this new age, with these new eyes, we see
a brand new hundred years and new crimes to prophecy
and though this nation has just seen some righteous heresy
it’s possible we’ve yet to know our latest, greatest, without debatest
most heinous trial of the century.

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Third period is the worst. It’s Science with Doctor Death-Smythe and he spent the entire class talking about alternate realities and Harmonic Convergence
– but did he ever – even once – pull out a dimensional portal to show us Earth 18
or Earth 95
or even Reverse Earth B?
Of course not!
Something about Justice Squad insurance having lapsed, he said. Still, this could have been interesting;
but it’s become one more exciting opportunity
here in Sucktown USA.

Another worthless day in Sucktown
Another day when no one cares
Can’t wait ’til I can escape Sucktown
Nothing to do – anywhere.

After home room is Gym, which is even worse than Science,
which, yes, I said was the worst but, just…
just stay with me here.
Rocky Carson is the instructor
and he denies it, but everybody knows he’s really Major Combat. He wears the same outfit, except for the pit helmet. It’s so lame. He insists on drilling us on super acrobatics, saying, “if I can do it, a mild mannered gym teacher, than anybody can!”
and then rolls out a quadruple flip with no start. He’s so damned smug.

Just another worthless day in Sucktown
This one-horse, one-store, no account place
Counting days ’til I’m outta Sucktown
and they’ll find me gone without a trace.

The bus is late again because of the Wombat Army invasion last week. Even though the Divisive Duo kicked their asses
back to Marsupial Island,
now there’re burrows all down Grand Street
and traffic’s just been ridiculous.
Jenny Smith smiles at me, but that’s just because she’s psychic and knew I was checking out her butt earlier. Maybe I’ll ask her out at some point. I dunno.
The comic store didn’t get any new shipments
so I just went straight home and put on the TV.
Some news report out of Concourse City, and how the Colts are gonna win the series. Someday, I’m gonna move there. That place is so cool!

Lost here in the middle of Sucktown
feel like forever I’ve been here
Can’t wait to escape my fate in Sucktown
so afraid I’m gonna die right here.

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Endings and Start

This may not be the day that you die.
This might not be at all the day you die.
This may not be the day you die
but believe it, my oh my,
that day is coming soon,
by and by.

Since birth you’ve had an expiration date.
Since birth you’ve had an expiration date.
Since birth you’ve headed for that date,
at first real slow, but as of late
the velocity’s been getting great.

Every day is closer to your death.
Every day is closer to your death.
each day you draw closer to death,
whether kissing babies or huffing meth
keep that in mind with every passing breath.

Today may well not be your last on earth.
Today may well not be your last on earth.
Today may see you stay on earth
in healthy form, jolly with mirth
but the last one’s coming, surely as your birth.

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Pete 100

It’s been a long time – hell! Long changing times
of many long roads, over oft-changing climes
and some may have gone on to roads far less travelled
while many more brethren’s voyages unraveled.
Still, since olden ages, and all the years past,
it is grand yet to see that some legacies last
and no matter the protests and everything
we still have bells to ring and songs to sing.

Look beneath the clouds; look across the waters
and ask yourselves, grandsons and granddaughters:
what shall we overcome today?
What shall we overcome today?
Look under the sun, my son,
and see out into the sea.
Say whatever you may, my daughter:
convey what we’ll overcome today.

There is more to do – there is always more!
It seems that this world is in ceaseless war
but there is hope – there is always hope!
Just as hemp can twined to rope
to pull up a friend or tie a knot
or be used for crimes that time forgot
for as long as we live, our memories won’t cease:
the war never ends, but nor does the peace.

After all we’ve woven; after all we’ve spun,
answer me granddaughter. Respond to this, grandson:
what shall we overcome today?
What shall we overcome today?
Unwrap this best toy, my boy, and tell me what you see.
Spin the top and play, my girl,
and finally display what we can overcome today.

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“Maybe Not”

Generations ago
she said yes to him.
I hope she’d say no, but
she said yes to him.
Their love seemed so pure
when she said yes to him
that I had to demure
since she said yes to him.

She said yes to him
and I was fading fast.
She said yes to him
but then it couldn’t last.
She said yes to him
and lived well at the start
when she said yes to him
but then they grew apart.

She said yes
but then she said no.
They had a great start
but then had to go.
When I first looked at them,
I told everyone so,
“After seven plus years,
they’ll lose that glow.”

She said yes to him
but then they went and split.
She said yes to him
after he’s gone and done it.
She said yes to him
but now he must atone
cuz she’s said no to him
and said to leave her alone.

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Ramon S.

I got twenty four hours before the sedation.
(I don’t want it. I don’t want it.)
There’s no one to contact. All of my relations
called to commit. Called to commit.
I wanna get away. Gotta get away.
I need to head down to the beach!

I have twenty hours left until the trepanning
(they’re gonna drill it. They’re gonna drill it!)
and all I wanna do is run away for suntanning.
(Just let ’em grill it. Just let ’em grill it.)
If I climb out the window and head for the door
I can hitch a train down to the beach!

And then I’ll have eighteen hours ’til the extirpation
(with all the cuttin’, god! all the cuttin’)
unless someone in the family has some revelation
(but they believe in nuttin’. They believe in nuttin’.)
Nothing to hope for; no reason to stay. Only thing to do is reach for the beach and preach to each and every peach on the beach to beseech for my freedom…

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My Worth

I’ve learned of your knowledge and wisdom, which your corrections so frequently show
They present some form of your interest, by sharing all that you know.
But it’s obviously only a semblance of caring, because of all of the ways
that you find faults in multitudes of matters over months, over weeks, over days.

I wish that you could love me for the semblance of human I am
but I understand how just that thing is quite an unreasonable plan;
just as you cannot judge the book before it’s removed from the shelf,
how can you possibly love me, if I cannot yet love myself?

You don’t know my worth
because I don’t know my worth
but I’m heading for rebirth any day now.
A renaissance soon heads my way,
as I mentioned, any day,
I feel it coming, come what may;
I don’t know how.

Oh, lord! I can feel it coming tonight. I feel I’ve been waiting a while.
It’s thick in the air. It’s everywhere, a sense of return from exile.
Thank you for trying to fix me, by presenting my faults with such wit.
It shows, I suppose, your belief that I could be more of a “he” than an “it.”

Or maybe you just felt it better that people be kept in their place.
I’m not sure that it matters, for soon, I can hope for a taste
of a better life than this one. Where I can live with the rest
of the folks in the world – like you – who will strive for their very best.

You don’t see my worth
because I don’t see my worth
but soon the breadth and girth of my value
is something we’ll both recognize.
And my worth’s Goliath size
will be such a precious prize
to hold onto.

It’s not your fault. I’ve set it up. I’ve been this way for years.
Allowing you and everyone else to exploit all my fears.
If I’d looked inside, or gotten self-help, or been to the wizard – or read,
I might have resolved this decades back – or, chances good, been dead.

But as it stands, I’m certain, change is gonna come,
and sure as hell, I mean it, well, my downward days are done.
I’m coming up, like a flower, and I want the world to know:
this is the very last night that I am eating crow.

You don’t recognize my worth
since all I speak of is its dearth
but if my last act on this Earth is to transform,
then you will see a chang-ed man;
I’ll become something else again
and as far as the horizon’s span
we’ll see a new norm.

You don’t know my worth
since I ain’t found my worth
but bet, I will unearth it any moment
At some point I will be
deserving, eventually,
of glory, and worthy
of that bestowment.

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The Stairs

The end bell rings, and school is dismissed
but to rush home quick is a thing I’d resist.
The walk back is quiet, which makes all the sense
as my only companion is silence.
For me, Three o’clock came quickly enough
but it’s clear that the rest of today will be rough.
The hours still left in the day may be long
as I wonder how everything right went so wrong.

Those tall stairs rise so high.
From here, they all but blot out the sky.
Well, of course they do; I’m here inside
but in these stark halls, there is no place to hide.

I’ll offer some story so cleverly spun
that tells inexactly what wasn’t quite done
and doctors the truth just enough so, perhaps,
when they hear it, my ass won’t be beaten to craps.
If I hold my nerve and the narrative’s controlled,
the weak won’t win. Fortune favors the bold.
“I can explain,” surely, I can exclaim
but after, will they ever see me the same?

As I climb these stairs,
my calves and thighs in their pairs
all feel incredibly, shakily impaired
as I prepare to enter the dreaded lion’s lair.

The news that I carry is scary, it’s true.
This package, rather un-delivered, is due.
If there’s something I could occupy, and then rue,
it’s that not to have to tell this thing to those two.

But those goddamned stairs look so big.
When I left they were hardly so ig-
nominiously large.
This morning I practically barged
out the door charging to school
now I feel like a fool
coming home with this shame
upon my home’s name
soon the family will know
what I did at the show
when we went on the bus
and I started to cuss
and the teacher got mad
because I’d been bad
and goddamn I’m so sad…
my dad will not be glad

and these stairs
are so

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Joan of Acre

It is said
that fifty years after her death
her daughter dis-entombed Joan
and found her in good shape.

The church says
that means you’re touched by god.

It also means
you’re touched by your daughter
since Elizabeth said
her mother’s breasts sprung up again
after being pressed.

Why was her daughter checking her mom out?
Why did she wait so long to do it?
Is this a Catholic thing?

It wasn’t enough to canonize
Joan of Acre
even though
her name sounds a little bit
like somebody else’s.

I am ever buried
and get disinterred
so my body can be savaged and humiliated
let me just say
you can start much sooner.
Now, even.

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