Home > Poetry > Generation Loss
Published: Wed Apr 15 2020
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
AGNI 91 Aging Class Politics
Generation Loss

Friends and slackers, living ghosts
and human-shaped assemblages of
depressions and cruelties, let us
bask in our obsolescence, or at least
slather a couple good globs of erasure
across our skin. It’s good for the
complexion, a way to experience
the thrill of twinhood without having
to buy someone the exact gift you know
they want every year. The toy’s brain
is exposed, it is meant to be that way,
chic in its mutilation. I’m thirty-something,
you don’t trust me, I’m Canadian, you don’t
trust me, I’m Southern, you especially
don’t trust me. Thanks for pretending so hard
to trust my Arabness, though. We all take
the little graces of Victoria where we can,
trapped on the battlefield of our delicate
egos. I told the ingénue my best and most
comical anecdotes, but he would not laugh.
A person my age is too old to be sensitive,
too young to have money. I’m fragile,
the ’90s trained us in all the intricacies
of dismantling the self, of weaving pain
into our figures to make them whole,
like kintsugi. Yes, okay, we were supposed
to use gold, but hurt was our only precious
metal, our only previous medal. We didn’t
believe in country, in currency. We wished
and wished but nothing crumbled. Friends,
I only know your online homunculi, you
only know my scent, our festering mettle.
We died in the streets and nobody even
moved the corpses out of commerce’s path.

See what's inside AGNI 91
As Relic, As Remnant
AGNI 91 Class Home Politics
Coin of the Realm
AGNI 4 Aging Mysteries Politics
American Discourse
AGNI 97 Politics Race Gender

Glenn Shaheen is the Arab-Canadian author of four books, most recently the fiction collection Carnivalia (Gold Wake Press, 2018). He lives in Queens. (updated 4/2020)

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