Postmodern Collage Poetry

A blog about writing collage poetry, post modern poetry, multi lingual poetry

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Generation X at 40

January 1, 2006 marks the 40th anniversary of 1966 which is viewed by many as the first year of Generation X. Allot of pablum has been written about GenX mostly by Baby Boomers who are clogging our national and international literary arteries with their laments for how connected and committed they all were and how we Gen Xers were slacker lay abouts or .com crazies. But I think that so little has been written about the realities of our generation, the first since the 1930's that will be poorer than their parents.

I seem to have lived a typical Gen X life. My parents were the first in their families to go to college. They White /Fled from Urban America to Suburban America "for better schools" which is a codeword for a place where there were no Blacks.

We all thought Ronald Reagan was "our guy", all of us had the Simon computer game you remember with the colored lights? We watched as our midwestern industrial world was washed away and we kept voting for "our guy" .

I went to Iowa in 1985 and left in 1989 we had few things to protest apart from Contra Aid and Apartheid but I was still a Conservative at Iowa it would take four years in South America to change that mindset.

I worked for three years as a volunteer in Bolivia like many of my co generationists and then went to work. I saw my career grow with possibilities and then recede with the .Com bust.I married late and now I am looking at a world where our small generation will be expected to take care of 70 million Baby Boomers, compete with 1.5 Billion Chinese and think about building a future with less than our parents had.

Gen Xers are not deluded. Our version of the American dream is small and pedestrian because their is no room for Kennedyesque musings. We are a generation that has learned to be chastened by our reality. I often feel that those of us who were born between 1966 and 1976 are an artificially truncated generation. Many of our fathers' names are on that black wall in Washington many of our siblings were never born because of the Pill. Most of our families were broken and we grew up with parents who were dating around and a loosened sense of moorings.

When I think about poets who embody my generation I think of people like Lisa Jarnot, John Tipton, Peter O'Leary and many others who embody this sense that many of us in Gen X are floating in space like a pilot ejected from a spacecraft. We are looking for solid ground where there is none.

In the end Generation X has given the world some good things, for example. But as we begin to celebrate our 40th birthdays I begin to ask the question that was offered by that most Gen X of bands The Police, "Don't Stand So Close to Me" I want to be left alone. Because we have always been alone.