In the Springtime of My Dystopia

In the Springtime of My Dystopia

By Elizabeth Harper

There were signs. There were warnings.
We were too in love to pay much attention.
It was merely some background noise,
some clatter, inconvenient clutter.
What were those politicians droning on about?
Overly made-up talk show hosts harping on about
nonsense, trivialities, invented crises.
Grown men wearing the flag like a toga
or burning it in acts of performance art largesse.

What came first? Fear or repression? Distrust or crime?
We gave our phone numbers to store and government clerks freely,
figuring it wasn't worth resisting, and how bad could it get anyway?
We had rights, hadn't we? This was the greatest country on earth, wasn't it?
Visions of suffering in other lands paraded before us to keep us in check,
to make us think we were spoiled and shouldn't ask for much.

Couldn't bring ourselves to vote, to choose
between awful and stupid and awfuler and stupider.
Some bitch promising to put more cops on the streets.
Fuck her, but the alternative really wasn't anything better.
The illusion of choice, the fallacy of choosing change.
We opted out and voted for lifestyle: free love and rock n' roll.
At least we had a good time. We weren't hurting anyone, so
we didn't see war and prison in our future. Sure there was the scraping by,
the banalities of economizing, the logistics of living arrangements,
the compromises for the sake of necessities: food, rent, health insurance.

Our tattoos that were fashion statements, badges of courage,
consumer indulgences, fetish fantasies realized, became ways
for the police to identify us like our DNA and fingerprints,
which we couldn't change. There's no use pretending
we could escape any of this. They made us complicit, guilty,
but there was never any way out, never any choice.

Kiss me in prison, as we escape as fugitives.
We'll bang on the drum all day.
Even if they silence us,
they can't take our music, our love, away.

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