Growl
Paul McLaughlin

Part I
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness too,
not naked starving hysterical howling hipsters like Ginsberg and Kerouac,
but well-fed well-dressed ex-hippies who sold out in the narcissistic halls of suburban malls,
whose burn for reality was snuffed out by Nike branded boredom and Tommy seared into their souls,
who exchanged their hippie values for a condom against creativity stuffed in the back pockets of their Calvin Klein jeans,
who lined up at the mall at dawn for an angry fix of kids' sweatshirts they knew were sweat-shopped into a lifestyle by broken-backed third-world children,
who grew rich and fat and so far right so fast they crushed their flowered dreams under speeding beemer wheels,
who loved peace and freedom and love and protested war and went insane and went to war and went to war again and again and again,
whose hippie hair grew long and shaggy and meant something and now is cut lawn-short and means something else,
who loved their black and brown brothers and sisters in the streets of San Francisco
and fled in terror of black-brown skin and minds to pastel gated condos in the suburbs,
who put flowers in their hair and on their clothes and now pour Killex on dandelions that only want to live and be mellow-yellow and make parachutes,
who spiraled down from the clouds of California Dreamin' and All You Need Is Love to the pit of Shania's over-produced navel,
who freed love and loved freely and couldn't pass their freedom on to their kids,
who smoked pot dropped acid drank wine swallowed pills shot speed and loved it,
who gagged on the ideals of their youth as they scrawled an X for Reagan or Bush or Clinton or Bush the second,
who frenzied on stocks as unprotected chimneys raped the sky and sprayed the land with sickness and filled the water full of blood-spitting-gut-clenching-screaming cancer,
who subverted the universities into politically correct space stations powered by privilege and oppression, where the students still are slaves,
who took up golf
who got addicted to professional football and baseball and basketball and hockey and the WWF--they're all the same,
who invented more ways to go crazy and more ways to get uncrazied than humankind will ever cope with,
who helped the men in white tighten the chemical straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the social straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the musical straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the educational straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the political straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the military straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the moral straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the religious straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the business straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the economic straitjackets of our time,
who helped the men in white tighten the scientific straitjackets of our time,
who once protested war and oppression and poverty and inequality and stood up to the Man and the Clan and the guns and the jails
and now protest nothing and bend forward with their pants at their knees and take whatever corporate and religious and political America wants to ram up their ass.

Part II
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    Rwanda
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    Ben Johnson
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    Stockwell Day
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    Mounties who burned a barn
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    Prince Tampon and the Euro-slut
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    the unjust persecutions: Marshall Milgaard Moran
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    a tearful Wayne Gretzky slinking off to LA for the money
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    main-line churches mainlining child abuse in residential schools
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    priests fucking nuns and each other and diddling helpless little girls and boys
I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled by
    the fists and rifle butts of our peacekeepers smashing the life out of a Somali teenager

I stood by as the myths of my Canada were dismantled and nothing fills the void.

Part III
Were you there Dad?
Did you do drugs, Dad?
Did you have a dream, Dad?
Did you love the Doors, Dad?
Did you march at Selma, Dad?
Did you go to Kent State, Dad?
Did you go to Woodstock, Dad?
Did you go to San Francisco, Dad?
Did you put flowers in your hair, Dad?
Did you protest the Viet Nam War, Dad?
Did you cry when John Lennon died, Dad?

Yes to all, yes to some, yes to none:
what does it matter, my children?
If I had a dream,
I am no better now than my parents and no worse.
They lied to me. I lie to you. You will to yours.
This is how humankind progresses.
Or not.

March 2001

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