Saturday, March 10, 2012

Poetics: December 31, 1999 (kiss my apoca-lips remix)

Photo by Arthur40A


It's the end of the world as we know it,
and REM told us, twelve years ago, to feel fine,
the book stores shelves're lined with Left Behind
preacher's benediction is escape plans for end times
& Prince, not yet a symbol, sings, let's party like it's 1999---

I'm nothing special, paying bills with dimes & nickles,
driving dad's suburban to work, (until the belt broke
& can't even fix it, late already on our payday advance)
cause my truck's a horse late for the glue factory,
flat tired & busted slowing rusting, outside our apartment
in low income housing, and i don't even own a working television
to watch the ball drop, computer crash, Y2K bugs crawling
out the cracks, everyone praying Jesus comes back
with a bus big enough, and accepts our ticket,
before so they ain't gotta experience it---

so we stroll main street, among the hundreds
that don't want to be alone if this is it and tomorrow
is a stone age remix, there is nervous tension,
& questions
       & questions
but it's free and fun, let's party like it's 1999
because this moment is the only promise we have
and ten, nine, eight - everyone holds their breathe
     seven, six, five - the natives are restless
         four, three, two - close your eyes and kiss
one &

a new millennium, nothing changes,

& everything changes, life turns, i sell out to corporate,
make six figures, get comfortable, then refind my heart,
quit, scrape by back below the poverty level, multiple
cars come and break, shit happens, you learn to expect it,
                                  but the big difference

is when they say the mayan calendar is ending,
        i figure nothing is new, just undiscovered country,
an adventure begun when the world started spinning,
      a dance in which you got to find the rhythm,
        but only if you're dancing----
       & whatever turns the record takes on the table,
we'll find the steps, so DJ
      play that beat
                   & bear witness---(scratch)

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it 

     and 
         I 
         feel 
              fine


At dVerse Poets today, Shawna of RosemaryMint will be tending the pub for Poetics and sending us on a trip in the Way-Back Machine. So don't be late for the date, it opens up at 3 pm EST. 

lyrics in italics by REM

78 comments:

Mary said...

Yes, this moment is the only moment we have; so we do have to make use of it, party in any way that makes sense to us, as it won't come again! And each year we live the world we once knew becomes more and more the past. A thought-provoking write, Brian!

Daniel said...

Ah, we are in the rewind machine now. Hopefully with some prospective you see why you went down the path that you did and how it brought value and purpose to where you are now.

Heaven said...

You had an interesting journey, some I know, some I have yet to read. Funny, but I remember where I was that at this time and day.

"a new millennium, nothing changes,
& everything changes, life turns"

You captured everything in this line ~

DJan said...

But Brian, THIS time might really mean it. I think this gets us all because we know one day the sun really won't come up... for each of us. Let's party!!

Pat said...

Well - thanks for THAT ear worm! Ha ha!

Funny how the Y2K was such a big scare and the Mayan calendar? No so much. If it's the end of the world as we know it - I've lived a good life.

Great poem - fun and FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Ramblings by Carol Nuckols said...

A lot of people tend to forget that nothing lasts forever. This moment is, indeed, the only promise we have. Let's dance.

Pat Hatt said...

haha Y2K was very pathetic indeed
Better chances of aliens comng here to feed
Seems like lots of things broke for you though
Crummy when vechiles can't go
As far as the Mayans and their crap
On Dec 21st I'll take a nap
And when I wake up all will be fine
So the crazies will have to go find something else to continue their whine

hedgewitch said...

We spin and remix and the world spins along with us--always and ending, always a new beginning--though you and I may come and go, like Laura Nyro said, 'when I die, and when I'm dead and gone/there'll be one child born and a world to carry on.' Loved it bri--even the *shudder* Prince. (though that is my fave song of his.)

Manicddaily said...

Hi Brian! A great re=mix--I love the Suburban and glue-horse truck and falling ball and kiss and Prince and Y2K bugs crawling out of the cracks. Unfortunately, I am worried about the end of the world as we know it! (Not in the Mayan sense but in the 'will we be able to breathe the air' sense!)

And maybe we do have to try to do something about it--which I know you do every day. K.

Manicddaily said...

Hi Brian! A great re=mix--I love the Suburban and glue-horse truck and falling ball and kiss and Prince and Y2K bugs crawling out of the cracks. Unfortunately, I am worried about the end of the world as we know it! (Not in the Mayan sense but in the 'will we be able to breathe the air' sense!)

And maybe we do have to try to do something about it--which I know you do every day. K.

RMP said...

"but only if you're dancing----" I'm not sure why, but there's something about this line and it's stanza that stile home. you laid out an interesting journey.

you've also managed to implant that song in my head...and now for some odd reason, I'm contemplating the meaning of "and I feel fine."

no matter...I'll "find the steps, so DJ / play that beat"

Anonymous said...

What a great direction you took this, considering that the world is REALLY going to end this time. :) I love the way you incorporated the song lyrics ... and your spacing, as always, is so creative.

Loved "bugs crawling out the cracks," "refind my heart" ... and the primary message, to me:
"a dance in which you got to find the rhythm,
but only if you're dancing"

~Shawna
rosemarymint.wordpress.com

CiCi said...

We are learning new dances throughout life so on any momentous occasions, we may as well dance for as long as we can.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it
and
I
feel
fine"

Hi! Brian...
Tks, for sharing...your "apoca-lips re-mix" poem.

Your poetic words has "movement" with an almost "rhythmic" beat...
...I must agree, your [poetic] words today [pertaining to the future] are very thought-provoking...indeed!

deedee ;-D

Wander said...

Brian I think I will finally try dVerse today, although I may have some pros to go along with this one...good poem. sounds like you have a story also!

Wander

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Oops! make that...Your poetic words have "movement"

sheila said...

nice message and great rhythm (love that REM song, too.) May jump in on this poetics, sounds like a fun one.

sheila said...

lol - just noticed the title - "apoca-lips" - what a hoot!!!

LadyFi said...

Great re-mix of words and familiar lyrics!

Claudia said...

i just love that title!!
and all the rest as well.. the world as we know it in a way ends every day..and each morning has a new adventure in store... also love the image of finding the rhythm to dance with the spinning world...we need to adapt to survive...

Brian Miller said...

ha, to be fair, i added the second half of the title after the first 6 commentors and had to wait until i got home to add it...

Mama Zen said...

"cause my truck's a horse late for the glue factory"

Love it, love it, love it!

kaykuala said...

Y2K and all the jazz.A lot of hype but it came and went. Things weren't good but nothing's change. Remembered that quite well! Now Dec 21st touted as something similar but far worst. All that crap! Nothing's going to happen! Great run through, Brian!

Hank

Gloria said...

nice Brian, absolutely apoca-lips:)

Fred Rutherford said...

The REM backbone to the piece was done perfectly, just weaving in and out with the cultural, to the personal, to the societal to the skeptical, forgot about a lot of the references you used, really brought me back. Excellent write Brian. Thanks

turtlememoir said...

love the final chorus - exactly how I feel too...

junesanjuan said...

ahh memories...genius write, sir :)

zongrik said...

did u really sell out to corporate?

i like the part about how you were nothing then, but i guess when you sold out to corporate, that made you someone. it's amazing how we don't count until we prove ourselves in some man-made arena/construct.

PoetColette said...

"tomorrow is a stone age remix"

That was the true apoca-lips!

Lolamouse said...

Great poem Brian! I remember the Y2K paranoia as well. And the 2011 end of world paranoia. There's nothing new under the sun. You capture it well in your own unique voice.

Valerie said...

You had an interesting journey, Brian and life goes on... and on.

Magpie said...

So glad you refound your heart. :)
And I feel life as we know it is always changing and we better learn to adjust or go bust.

Anonymous said...

I also am a huge fan of the title. :)

~Shawna

Anonymous said...

I also am a huge fan of the title. :)

~Shawna

Daydreamertoo said...

LOL When I think of ALL the hype and scare over Y2K and everyone on TV saying, collect lots of bottled water, lots of batteries, lots of candles and canned food. Lots a this and lots a that anddddd... 2000 came in as they've always have done.
This year may prove to be different, who knows. I'm at peace with my God and won't be afraid to meet my maker.
Nice tongue in cheek bit of hyped up (but truthful) fun Brian, very cleverly spun.

happygirl said...

How come I keep thinking about Leonard Bernstein? Great write as we enter 2012 and the end of the world.

Natasha Head said...

That corporate world is a sneaky place to try to exist, much easier to just resist...fell into that trap, found my way back...to me, so see, this poem would not have come to be, without the nickles, without the dimes, you're writing words that are sublime...and I love REM ;) (she smiles as she chokes on the tie and trips over the suit she's forced to wear for the next few weeks) BUT...it's a Ramones pin on the lapel and she refuses to take out the piercings ;)Might as well have some fun, right?

Ed Pilolla said...

but only if you're dancing... those are the words that tied it all together, that made all the predictions worthwhile after all, since we were having fun. i'm re-reading hafiz's the gift these days. this theme reminded me of Your Seed Pouch...

Lanterns
Hang from the night sky
So that your eye might draw
One more image of love upon your silk canvas
Before sleep.

Words from Him have reached you
And tilled a golden field inside.

When all your desires are distilled
You will cast just two votes:

To love more,
And be happy.

Take the sounds from the mouth-flute of Hafiz
And mix them into your seed pouch.

And when the Moon says,
"It is time to
Plant,"

Why not dance,
Dance and
Sing?

m said...

Fantastic write, Brian! One heads up though -(1st line: word/world)
Awesome write though, man! I can relate all through it. Living on a shoestring that's been tied together a hundred times, and every time you lace up it breaks again. Today? Screw it; who needs laces; just run til your shoes fall off, and thank God you're still standing. I ain't skeert, dude!

Marbles in My Pocket said...

I hit the wrong button on my comment. That weird one was me!

Lilu said...

A new millenium is just a remix of the previous and, just as you said,
Nothing changes and everything changes.
We are just an old VHS tape in the machine. Can't rewind too much or it'll break ~_^
Great write.
I'll have that song stuck in my head for a week now at least =P

Glenn Buttkus said...

Coming up as #41 on the BM list
of admirers, and "we are legion!"
You nailed that moment, NYE on
12/31/99 for sure. I bit on the
Y2K lie like millions of others;
had 100 gallons of fresh water,
50 gallons of gasoline, TP, paper
goods, 200 batteries, 5 case of
tampons (wife + 3 daughters),
a wind up survival radio, and
much more; and when the joke
was on us, all I could do was smile.

Cressida de Nova said...

Party time with rap. Your poem sounds like rap...Great delivery,has a real beat, humour and if the world ends at least go out with a bang. Good for you!

irene said...

Great remix taking us from the cusp to the new millennium. I enjoyed the trip, Brian.

Charles Miller said...

Okay, I had to look up the lyrics at the end cause I didn't know them, sue me! This poem is so filled with things that I know as true, since I been (close) to there and done that (kinda) too. What strikes me about this is your optimism and strength of character thru it all. You really emanate that spirit of self-reliance that is so characteristically American and superb. Each line reverberates with wisdom born of learning from life and able to roll with the punches.

Tara Miller said...

I remember well that time of uncertainty and the countdown to see what would actually happen. Times were tough sometimes but we always survived and have many happy memories through them all. The struggles and successes are what help to shape us and our story, right love?

Bet this was a fun one to think back to!

Anonymous said...

I can identify with so much of this poem...was a poor seminary student at the time, living in "married student housing"....

Still poor, but at least I'm living in a real house :)

RM @ newviewfromhere.wordpress

Yousei Hime said...

Loving the c'est la vie feeling of this. I remember feeling some of that toward all those worries as the year end approached. That's about all I remembered about that year though. Having a bad memory sure sucks. Enjoyed this. :)

adan said...

i really liked this brian, nice!

"this moment is the only promise we have...

nothing is new, just undiscovered country"

and that countdown!

and descriptions of your trucks, and

the down & out and rise and choice to go back down and be real and yea it's the end (as we know it) but we feel fine ;-)

nice write brian, thanks ;-)

Steve E said...

"....a dance in which you got to find the rhythm,
but only if you're dancing--"
Well, Brian, we came here to dance. so let's pick a partner and get it on!

Yep...grinning still!!!
Blessings on you and your work.

Baur said...

That is really interesting!

David Allen said...

I feel fine, too. My muse (my wife) has promised to be my Apocalypse Fuck Buddy on Dec. 21. And if the world doesn't end -- I'll write more poems.

Susie Clevenger said...

Ah it seems each day that passes is a door opening wider on the end of the world as we know it...great piece!

Stephanie said...

Oh I remember the fear of Y2K! Love how you mixed it up here:)

Umesh Rao said...

I loved this poem!
Especially the countdown at the end was awesome.
This sure brings back some nice memories of 1999.
Wonderful piece for poetics Brian. You rock!

SueAnn said...

I remember this time so clearly!! Our kids came home to be with us just in case!! We partied...and gd's got sick from eating to many snacks! We danced!
Hugs
SueAnn

Dave King said...

so we stroll main street, among the hundreds
that don't want to be alone if this is it and tomorrow
is a stone age remix,

I thought this bit stole the show, was revelatory.

janaki nagaraj said...

A new day, a new date and a new year...nothing else changes...or does it? Life goes on. :-)

aka_andrea said...

Interesting how we often have to become who we are not to find out who we are.

sharmishtha said...

we might be looking back at this year with a big grin on our faces next year.

2012 hype is one of the greatest hypes.

bluecottonmemory said...

Isn't history supposed to teach us, so we don't have to do the same wrong things over and over? Finding peace between the dreams and reality - that is the the key, isn't it!

Mystic_Mom said...

Brian - at comment 61 I'm sure most of the saying has been said, but buddy I gotta add my 2 bits worth (yeah it should be more with inflation I know!)...you, my friend, TOTALLY ROCK! I mean it...love your words, wish I could pick a favorite line but that would be so unfair to the rest. :-D

Secret Agent Woman said...

Ah, people have been looking for the apocalypse as long as there have been people. I'm not worried.

hiroshimem said...

Aaaah music!
It reminds me of this song Spin, by Darren Hayes:

"When the music feels like this / DJ takd control and grab a hold of me / Spin that wheel / tell me how to feel / I like the shape I'm in / when music feels like this"

Reminded me of the preachers and the way we listened to them... and then we replaced them (somehow) with music...
I enjoyed the circular shape of your poem; just like a disk that spins, a whole history thar repeats itself... Brilliant.

Sue said...

I'm feelin' ya!

=)

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

Nothing changes and everything changes- sure thing- and two constants that have always delivered through the years. Love how you took us back with this one- I could hear the songs playing on your dads car stereo. Now I have this song stuck in my head- not a bad thing though. Ha- and yeah- remember that y2k bug- oh and just to let you know- apparently nostradamus predicted that world would end this year- third time lucky for the old 'stradus! Loved this Brian- such great flow and train if thought as always

Beachanny said...

I like that you keep the "feel" of that time to this time in the composition. 80s introduced rap but it took hold as deep as rock 'n roll in the 90s and made middle age, middle class folks take notice. Music and the message merged with rhythm; how clever you could mirror that with the transitions in this piece while saying what we all know; no one knows when the end will be.

Goofball said...

At the milennium I was so so ill with a stomac bug that was going around...had lost 5 kg in 24 hours, had to cancel the plans to go out on a fancy dinner with my friends and spent the night alone at home on the sofa.

ha, I'll never forget my milennium.

Bodhirose said...

Lots of changes for you then, Brian. It's funny...that Prince song popped into my head too. Love your poem today.

Syd said...

I didn't worry about Y2K. It all seemed like a bunch of hyped up stuff to me. And I am still wondering when the rapture will happen.

TALON said...

The more things change the more they truly stay the same. If it is the end as we know it, it's a good thing to feel fine, I think.

vivinfrance said...

Thar's a real WOW of a poem. The eclectic nature of the mixed memories, the rise and fall of fortune, the sudden changes of layout, all contrive to force the reader on at breakneck speed.

Lydia said...

I just knew you would write something more-than-spectacular for this prompt! You told so much about yourself in this one, and joggled some memories of that year. I think it is brilliant that you worked it into a New Year's Eve study. What a hoot recalling Y2K stuff....and was all that Left Behind shit really in 1999? (I didn't hear about it until 1986!) In any case, if anyone tries to spook me about the end of 2012 I am definitely going to tell them to Mayan their own business!!!

Laurie Kolp said...

Really enjoyed this, Brian... 'this moment is the only promise we have' so true for always. There's one specific event that changed my life forever in 1999. I have a lot of catching up to do after my weekend away, but it will probably be the poem I link to for OpenLinkNight.

adeeyoyo said...

Great - well said, Brian! The world still turns and so does the worm! Btw, I love '...my truck's a horse late for the glue factory...'

lifeisaroadtrip said...

I think I will save this and read it 12 years from now. Until then I am going to pray things get better this time! Who knew we would look by at 1999 as the good old days?

mo.stoneskin said...

"tomorrow is a stone age remix"

What a brilliant line that is. Brilliantly done.

william said...

ah, yes I remember this song, and its line, end of the world, the naughties have still came lol, great post.