The Future of Institutions

by Al

Institutions begin in illness
and end in civics.
High school was always the opposite.

College begins in theology
and end in athletics.
Baseball was always the opposite.

Alcoholism begins in detention
and ends in sociology.
Sociology was always the opposite.

This poem begins in psychiatry
and ends in carpentry,
sawing logs back into chairs.

Bob Perelman begins in language
and ends in modernism.
Susan Sontag was the opposite.

The chair began in healthy exhaustion
and ends in sadomasochism.
The Weather Underground, Primo Levi, sit yourselves down.

Once Richard broke a window with a home run
and I got blamed by the angry, lunatic neighbor.
Alcoholism, sociology, baseball.

Suburbia began the night after D-Day,
when all the boys dreamt of home.
Noel Coward was always the opposite.

Pacifica Radio began in Anarchism
and ends by marking time.
Where have you gone, Kenneth Rexroth?

Her love began with him,
and ended in chat rooms.
Y2K will be everything they say.

Order began in disorder,
Florida began with the Sephardim,
Paris was liberated by Levitt.

Free Mumia Abu Jamal! Bang! 
Free F. Scott Fitzgerald! Bang! 
Take that--and that, you fool.

Levittown will end in exhaustion.
The modern will end in a whimper.
There will be no more opposites..

I see DiMaggio chatting with the neighbor
I see me holding a bat but innocent.
Millenialism will end very shortly.

Mamie never actually knew Betty Crocker.
Picasso never knew the face of Spain.
Allen Ginsberg, not Gus Hall, was the last communist.

Now the same boys are dying
Eisenhower never golfed in their dreams.
Walk up on the beach, and lay yourself down.