John Hodgen

The Twenties
December 26, 2021 Hodgen John

The Twenties


Consider the twenties, not Gatsby, not Daisy, not that old Roaring,
and not just the double deadbolt debut year of the twenties. I’m meaning
all of them, that bright decade you were hoping
for, all of them like a swath unwinding,
like red brocade, like ten Handmaid’s Tales crossing
Lafayette Square against the light, holding their bonnets, laughing
their asses off, like bridesmaids nearly collapsing,
all of them needing a bathroom, bad, before joining
the Women’s March. You can do anything,
your parents said, or was it your sloppy, drunken aunt, waving
her Tanq and tonic like a scimitar at your cousin’s wedding,
nearly falling out of her dress like Delacroix’s Liberty Leading
the People.  And since it all goes so fast, that dreading,
that mindsuck, that hellscape of doomscrolling, recalculating,
you only get one shot, one Hamilton, maybe two, considering,
then you’re gone, tik tok, (think Lorde, think Lizzo.) You listening?
And since it’s also clear there’s no gaming
the future for us (think Zuckerberg, think Bezos), I’m thinking
there’s only the past then, the art of self-promoting, posting
the mini-marvel movies we make for ourselves, starring
us, like little flashing dwarves, elves, little DiCaprios, each a wee King
of the World leaning coolly over last year’s cruise ship railing.
We’re Daniel Day-Lewises now, hawk-eyed, landlocked, running
for our lives, down to our last Mohican, imploring, exhorting
our loves: I will find you. You must stay alive.

John Hodgen is the Writer-in-Residence at Assumption University in Worcester, MA.  Hodgen won the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry for Grace (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005).  His fourth book of poetry Heaven & Earth Holding Company is out from the University of Pittsburgh Press, and his first book In My Father’s House, has been reprinted from Lynx House/University of Washington Press.  Hodgen’s fifth book, The Lord of Everywhere, is just out, also from Lynx House/University of Washington Press.