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Kevin Powell

Reality Check

For Kurt Cobain
(1967-1994)


by Kevin Powell

i hate myself and want to die
i can hear you saying that now
the words like gunshots blasted into
the skin silencing the nightmares of a
generation we are not an x or twenty-
something
there is more to our teen spirit
it smells like distorted childhoods
and diapered friendships and parents
who fed us watergate and vietnam
and ronald reagan and saturday morning
cartoons without giving us a love we could
grip and suck on when the earth
was burning in our direction
and now you are gone
nah! i refuse to believe that
a whole bunch of us were gonna go and listen to you
regurgitate our blues (yours too) and make anxiety-filled
guitar licks into a futuristic rock opera (our opera)
your hair would fly like a stringy flag saluting the knuckleheads of
the world, yes! us! the post-civil rights post-vietnam post-reagan
babies would somehow feel validated when your hoarse, garbled
tongue slapped the world with an indictment that said "you have
neglected us for too long and look, just look at what you have created"
and we would mosh and slam-dance, our bodies contaminated with
this thing called youth, into a fitful overdose (isn't that what they expect of
us anyhow?) of icon-worshipping you: but you are
alive!
tongue-kissing your feminine side on saturday night live
alive!
eating environmentally sound fruit next to river phoenix
and you whisper in james dean's ear
as janis, jimi, jim and john, the post-
happy days mount rushmore,
fall stone in love with the grunge thing
and someone will fanzine you
and call you a tragic genius
and bury you in mtv heaven
because no one no one no one
will ever understand why your flannel shirts
and ripped jeans and busted guitars mean
you have loved and lived much longer
than most of us...

1994


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