As 2020 draws to a close, I have been thinking about the parallels between current times and the “Roaring Twenties” following WWI and the 1918 influenza pandemic. Just like then, we are living through a historical event that will be studied and written about one hundred years from now. Once all of us have received the vaccine, will we let loose like they did in the 1920s? Will it be empty and meaningless because collectively we will still be carrying so much trauma? And will future generations ignorantly look back on us with envy?
The clock ticks, keeps time as we count — ten, nine —
winds down days of darkness to forget. Toss
the old year, spit out the last drops of wine
once sweet now bitter at the bottom. Lost
Generation, raise your glasses! Lipsticks
boldest rouge leave their mark overflowing.
We are drunk on sadness — eight, seven, six —
black frocks beaded fringe out of mothballs ring
in a new vintage. Cropped hair flying, we dance,
drawn to the light as dying moths — five, four,
three — to a flame. A meaningless romance
for a night, when music moves us to mourn.
Dizzying moments of pleasure and pain,
Future’s envy when — two, one — none remain.