Back in the early 90s I wrote the following mixing current events with the musicals of the 50’s and 60’s to compare them to the current events of the time. I’m handing out lollipops to anyone who can name all the musicals and events referenced. Extra points for naming the man on the left.
Today, reading back over it, I find it interesting that not much has changed, certainly not for the better.
AND THEN I WROTE
I wrote a line under the influence of wine about
what was then and when I felt more myself than now.
How love is lost to be recaptured when boy meets girl
in a whirl of 50’s, when we all believed in ever after.
Stories had endings of a happy note and scripts were rote
based on Cinderella and Charming.
Virgins were alarming
when filled with the next generation.
But now we do it by ourselves as if impregnated by elves
or Dopey or Doc – A tick upon the clock, to be or not to be.
These are the decisions made once laid by Charming
or his friends.
It lends itself to small ideals
One feels that yesterday was best.
Lest all things come to an end, the video store will
lend you a happy ending.
I was born when flags were waving, saving the world from whatever.
We never saw what was to come
when we were numb from caring, when Astaire and Rogers
would be bothered but sharing the latest stock report
or a wart on democracy was the thing.
Woodstock, Beatles and now Forbes and Liz can spend
a fortune on their balloons or toons and Roger Rabbit are the fad.
Without brass bands we sit to watch garbage sent
to outer space.
That’s the only place left undefiled,
untouched by human hands.
I want a little Rooney and Garland, Andy and his girl,
a simpler place to face the world left by them to us.
Why the fuss? when we all think the same and blame
is laid to rest on what is left of Berlin’s wall.
I lag behind the general mind of Penn and Madonna
I want something more for me and the poor
who ask, “Why Not?”, but that’s an echo of long ago
for a generation born when the world was worth saving
where a nightingale sang in Barkley Square, but
now there’s Cher when I would rather have Minnelli.
Silly, but I like brides for every brother and
other things like wings on my monkeys, who weren’t on backs.
We lack the ability to see things as they used to be before the
Baby Boom and zoom lenses on Japanese cameras.
I love Baryshnikov and Brodsky – All those who
left and might go back to see home again
Is it a sin to wish for open borders.
Help If you remember the songs of that time when
friends were friends and ends were what we hoped for
more than suburbia and cars in every garage.
A collage of then and now when we can begin
again to sing in the rain and listen to a
Carmichael skylark or just double park on New York streets.
What sweets await
those with good memories who actually
believe in dancing on ceilings and feelings
that Brigadoon just might come again in
something other than revival
Let’s put on our silk stockings and Porter, you
ought to pay attention to rhyme and time that
doesn’t come again when funny girls were
whirls of life, because we all were Kidds
Michael and otherwise.
Still Fosse is a soft spot in the pajama game of fame and
all that jazz. But Gigi, how close we stand
on land made shaky by Middle East and Debakey
and we can’t even get the heart transplanted into tomorrow.