The fading history of 1984 (a poem)

Found a JCPenney MCS 3543 cassette deck at Goodwill in Everett on Thursday afternoon. I couldn’t find a spot to plug it in and test it, but it was clean and appeared to be in good condition, and it was only about $15 (red tags were 30% off that day). The best part? REAL VU METERS with needles! By that time—the early 1980s—most new decks came with peak-reading LED meters. Anyway, I got around to trying it out, which put me in a 1984 frame of mind…

There will be no anniversary to mark
or complain about
only the books, records, videos, magazines, and product packages
lost to archives and landfills

Reconstruction will never be possible
something will always be out of place
and even those of us who remember that far back
will possess timelines cloudy enough
that we won’t know the difference
outside of the feeling that something is off

2019, 2157, and 5611 will suffer the same fate
but we will not be around to see it happen
so much history will have accumulated by then
that our present will be sediment on the ocean floor
compressed and crushed until there’s no difference
between 65 BC and AD 2941
and a fossilized fish is mistaken
for a map of New Jersey

(25 May 2019—posted May 26th)


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