Generational poem

You call us apathetic
You say we’ve lost touch with the world
You say we don’t communicate
We haven’t much to say and are not eloquent

And yet we pour our souls out to a stranger
Because we are always in need
Of a soul who will listen

We don’t write poems of international acclaim
But we capture our hearts and minds in online epics
Seventy-three times a day
Creating oxytocin so our brains continue to churn ideas
In the incubator of the shower or in the hollow darkness of the mind
Before deep sleep

In the age of fifteen million novels published a month
And exabytes of data born online
We persevere, we are masters
Of the art of the mundane

We are weekend hippies with neatly trimmed facial hair
Pleasantly fragrant armpits and shaved legs
Who go to work on Monday morning
With a certain dignity
Quoting Whitman and Dylan Thomas
To the neighboring cubicles

We work at corporation-less businesses
So we can be big business’ biggest competition
We hate customer service
We hate the Internet company
We hate the network provider
We make tea in a thermos in the morning
And walk by Starbucks smirking

We study anthropology
We double-major in English and Spanish literature
With a minor in women’s studies
And go into consulting
The best minds of our generation
Are thinking about how to make people click ads

We have no savings
We work till the a.m.
At McKinsey and Deloitte to pay off student loans
And save enough to go to Argentina, Cuba, Vietnam
We work at an investment bank until we go insane and take two years off
To build schools outside Bogota

Or we don’t work at all
Because we want to find the occupation that will get us out of bed
We seek meaning in our work, and money too, but meaning first, did you?

We take public transportation
We protest any cause
We save the polar bears
Mull over water prices in Bolivia
Mourn Santa’s helpers in Sichuan

You say we have no depth
And when we take a stand you fault us for our lack of understanding
You say we have no morals
Yet you tell us our friends are not allowed to marry
Or have to leave the country
Or have to leave their country

And we laugh through our tears, and our friends’ tears
Because we know you won’t be here forever
And one day we will have our way, and our children,
Rebels too, perhaps will have it even better

You say we have no generational identity
But if identity is forged through music
We have our festivals and camp-outs
Where we sway like angel haired hipsters in sublime êxtase
And if identity is formed through reading, writing
And if it is through coming together in protest
And if it is through suffering loudly
We are all right

And for that we are self-righteous
And arrogant and have a strong sense of our greatness
You say we are the generation “me”
We are the generation “me”

If you ask us, who are the voices of your generation?
We’ll tell you, you’re hearing them now.


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