You want to hear my two year-old’s new knock-knock joke?
I don’t want to talk about it.
My children are tiny people but they are eerily similar to the adolescents I teach. Yesterday’s downrush of doubt led me to take a selfie in the mirror this morning and I’ve been thinking about teenagers all day. I think they get a bad rap. Most of the teens I know are okay, overall. Some girls I work with recently taught me that selfies have to be taken by, um, yourself. I thought you just had to be the subject of the photo. My hipness could use a dusting. Teens somehow live with more soul-sweeping doubt than we recall, and without any at all. It took much courage for me to stick my chest out, pout my lips, look in the mirror, and take a picture this morning, but they do it all the time. I started thinking about why.
Flavorwire tells me that “Come Down to Us”, by Burial was one of the top five songs of the week last month, and it contains at various points the phrases, “You are a star….to me,” “years later I find the courage to admit that I am transgendered, but this doesn’t mean that I’m unlovable,” and “so that this world that we imagine in this room, might be used to gain access to other rooms, to other worlds, previously unimaginable.” It is what the youth (there’s that word again) call “hyperdub”, It’s beautiful, and I imagine that it would be lovely to make out to. Or to listen to while skiing with a camera on your head. Or to fall in love to. Or whatever it is they do.
Whatever it is they do, they seem to have so many selves out there, that of course it is necessary to record them. I think I get it. I might take a lot of selfies from now on. Get ready. I look deranged, but that’s okay. I’m killing doubt. Also, let’s call them selfhood photos from now. Because enough with the acronyms.
On the poem-poiesis, I may be writing too fast. I’d like to go back and revise, but I have like, life stuff to do. Our work week is nuts, and then we have to do weekend things, like ski and see one another. Rushing is still better than not doing, though, so….here.
Selfies in the Bathroom
People say this fingersnap generation is vain
but they are full of wisdom and fear,
not Narcissus but Orpheus because they know that everyone looks back.
When looking through the family albums with my mother and I see our own faces and
we both feel like one of the seven dwarves (Sleepy? Stupid? Doc?)
upon first looking upon the Snow White. “Well! It’s a girl! She’s mighty purty!”
The photo remains, the knowledge of the thing, sure, but the matter of it is gone,
beachhead blonde and twenty-two for me,
and young mother with a towhead boy for her.
And it’s okay that we feel abashed (ah! that’s it! Bashful)
at the doubt of our youth, and it’s okay
that we hate those girls a little for their worries.
Adolescent is a word for science,
and it is okay to prefer Lucky Bastards,
or Lovely Sorrows.
A text from the 1600’s
“Portr8 t8kin 2long 4eva! Cu in Spring :(“
“OMG me2. How long can I hold this vase? like, liter8ly”
These shinebots don’t pose for the happy moments
just for vicarious hip shake.
Maybe these share-faces snapshot because
they know old needs all the reminders.
No wonder they are duckfacing the mirrors
and acting like the shit.
Someday we will look back know it was true.
Because there’s dirty work ahead,
as the carrying units wind down
and the work of memory grows,
as the photo moments become less remembrance and more surprise,
as the people with us in the frame leave,
and we forget where we put the albums anyway.
So we must join them in the shout out,
turn the camera to the looking glass
and take another round of selfies in the bathroom.
(I know the mirrors are dirty. Writing poems is better than cleaning the bathroom)