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In Bloom

In Bloom

By Frank Possemato



Accumulating, almost

formed into a simulacrum

90’s nostalgia hovers in the forecast

the downpour can’t be far off


before it comes allow me a word


just before that millennium’s last decade

is reduced to easily repeated jokes

about flannel, bad hygiene, low riding cars

and dial-up connections

let me attest that I was

12 years old on January 1st, 1990

and 22 (and in the hospital) the night the much-hyped year 2000 arrived

so the extent that decades matter at all

every moment

every living breathing sleeping waking second of

my young adulthood

happened in the 1990’s

so here’s how I saw it:


The 1990’s, now in hindsight, were the great retirement home for popular culture

the culmination,

though not the climax,

of where we all were heading since rock and roll-

an America big enough for talk radio and the Red Hot Chili Peppers,

where fathers and sons and daughters could find common ground in Neil Young and Pearl Jam, and Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre

became household names,

with a Democrat president and a Republican lead house,

where you a could see Marilyn Manson open for Nine Inch Nails

or a reunited Eagles for a thousand dollars a ticket or a reborn Bob Dylan for much less,

a time when your daughter could get a tattoo and your grandfather could surf the internet and we all lived something like happily

ever after.

Except of course we didn’t


Follow me down

to an Ames in Conway, barely 1990

and overhearing a mother buying her sons

a Nintendo game

they weren’t cheap back then

I didn’t know these boys

But I knew this purchase would define their days to come

in one hand The Legend of Zelda in the other

Bad Dudes

the kids, younger and less experienced than me,

are leaning Dudes

she gives the back of each box a bewildered skim

“This one looks violent”

Zelda it is,

for once the intersection of parental guidance

and video game awesomeness

and at a very young age

I felt that grown up feeling

of being happy for someone else’s happiness


Follow me down

to a time when a moment, a two second shot, a hook

from a video could inform your day

as you walk the street and look for yours

a time when the aesthetic to aspire to

was more college than high school

a combination of 60’s dirt and 80’s metal

an era that saw the first black president- Michael Jordon

when the people in videos and on the diamond

were still older than me


Joey reporting from the BU arcade

the news of the day

they’d just wheeled in a new cabinet

on its side

the words

Mortal Kombat 2

We’d bought MK one with textbooks

he had sold back

the bloodless SNES version

but a world to get lot in

none the less


We are all consumers,

and Optimus Prime, Cobra Commander and wrestling were as much a part of the Generation X experience as 120 Minutes ever


but there was a healthy, necessary, cynicism in the relationship between consumer and consumer culture that has since gone

critically out of balance.


Just today I heard in the bank

the Guns N’ Roses version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”

because the one thing that Dylan’s stark transcendent original needed

was an answering message in the middle

and what unanswered shit we gave them for that

but more years than I want to admit later

said message has brought me more joy

than debt consolidation or blood thinners

ever will

evocative of days of cheap extra value meals and playing Sonic The Hedgehog until your eyes twitched


Heading back with my crew from Burger King

with Dr. Pepper in my veins

unhooking a payphone as we past it

like in the Green Day video

because it was there

and of course we were too old for it

but we’ll never be so young again

and rebellion was only an NWO t-shirt away

declaring your allegiance

by unzipping your jacket on the bus

in solidarity feuding with

the suits and babystrollers in the front

and Sting coming down from the rafters.

Spending the day at Tower Records

and buying nothing

coming home empty handed save for a few riffs

scribbled on my hand

from a Tab book I didn’t buy

go home and try them

belief systems crushed under sneakers

on the teenage sidewalk

it was bs, and a work

and like everything that ended up mattering to me

it started as a joke

and ended as a prayer


Expressed in scale

the tall ship or the microchip

Nirvana was a long time ago

played with the same resentment

that things don’t get better

unwrapping an action figure

in the backseat as my parents drive

past Braintree Station

memory buttons

which one is steering?


A song on the radio you didn’t even like back then

evokes nothing but completeness, simplicity

and we’ll never know

if this is the inevitable

feeling that things ain’t what they used to be

that every generation discovers

but is it nostalgia alone

that leaves one with a sense

that something truly went amiss?

One shutters to think what happens to idealists

when it’s your turn to inherit the earth


And yet, maybe, for all the real or

imagined slacking ease

the spirit of the 90’s, like growing up itself, really wasn’t about winning

it was about being a loser, then surviving


making a tent out of what’s real to you

then listening to the rain on the roof


There is no secular music

and you can’t pray with your dick in your hands

to have once felt so strongly

and still feel memories fading into closer

to remain uncomfortable to the world

but neither let it go nor become self-parody


might just be revenge after all





Hungry and broke
on the ass-end of history
the western wind has long since
stopped blowing
and the south wind is late coming
knows it’s a fallen age
the ringing feeling that something
that happened
is still happening
feels the hint of empire
of the past
but like grass
that unwanted
grows in a valley of death
life somehow seeps through
where the heavy shadows
to start a new evolution
grown in what you
and creeps up

Frank A. Possemato


                                                 Originally published in The Fossil Record

                                                  Share these words if you liked them



By Frank Possemato


My friend John Lee,
a bottom-dweller just like me,
to clam the long-life misery
watches his chances come and go
mostly go.

We met on Cemetery hill
in the neighborhood
that I life still
where the darkness
of the dimly lit existence
never ceases
to kill.

Here in this place
of many places
inspiration gets too long
in the heavy-eyed gas station lights
where thoughts go through your head
mostly unsaid.

John will take his stand
by the runway
one open-ended night
but until then
the best life
is one you can walk away from

and I
I’ve been an evangelist
a collector a thief
a player
a stranger in the alley
a brother
a son

and if I cant win you
with my self-destructive smile
then you just caught me
in the rain season
it will all be clear
when I come back to all the put-off things
mostly never

but when the restlessness is all you know
with that ragged, start-over
feeling in your throat again,
with your fictional friends,
that the distance can be measured in miles
but the end is so ridiculously
out of sight.

Sweet Lady
we could be married in the spring
you’re in waiting
just like me,
we could keep the brightness of living

but that’s just the best intentions
getting in the way
so I’ll choke on nostalgia
or exaggerate it out of existence
but when you look at me
like you’re the only one who can stop the
what else can I do

the meanwhile confusion
can put to death our short-sleeved dreams
leave only the bleak
sand hills and dust fields
leaves you with reason to think
we’ll all be cut down
by the daily struggles and tragedies
mostly small

but keep the sight
keep the day light
we’re both chasing the same thing,
from the backyard
to the boulevard
every hour
and every cent,
to walk deliberately
and not walk alone
mostly forever.

Originally published in Clarion

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