Leveler Poetry Journal
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What’s Next


The end is near, just as it’s always been: the end is near

for print and for freedom of speech. The free ride

has ended and free lunch went with it; this is

the end of the road. We’re scraping the very last

from the jar and every loss is equal, every ending

is exactly the same. The end is near for whales,

icebergs, bananas, honeybees. This is the end

of civilized discourse and decorum and decency

and sanctity. The American dream is over.

So is childhood. Adulthood. Books. None of us

grew up because none of us really had a childhood

and nobody reads anymore, and Tom Cruise

and Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson. Pop and grunge

and punk are all dead and Jesus,

the honeybees are dying. It’s the end

of the Catholic Church and confessional poetry.

The dark age is over and so, too, the golden

age of film. This is the end of the nuclear

dream and the nuclear family and every minute

another language dies, and a honeybee

goes with it. It all defies logic. Whales,

polar bears: the end is near. It’s lights out

for net neutrality. Civility is dead, and

chivalry and civilization’s on its way

out. Kiss it goodbye: coal and twinkies,

galapagos turtles and Britney Spears

and natural gas and payphones and

dial up modems. Did you hear

the honeybees are dying. And we

aren’t really sorry because this is the end

of sense and wit and taste and austerity.

It’s the end of terror and also it’s the end

of war on terror. It’s the world’s end

approaching, coppery hissing. This

is it, show’s over, the lovers are fading

hand in hand under the house lights

and the stage is flung deep with roses

while out in the last slat of twilight

shadows in sandwich-board placards

gather outside whispering the end

is near the end is near the end…

Elizabeth O'Brien