Starting just before 1970

 

The double standard was part
Of the unwritten rule
At the start of the decade of the seventies
rules were being bent,
made up, broken, thrown away
& generally laughed at.
wouldn’t be until the mid-1980s
that the pandemic
of acquired immune deficiency syndrome
would bring us scurrying through the gutters
to find the rules and again adopt a modicum
of fidelity that had been temporarily
on hold while penicillin really had knocked
sexually transmitted disease easier to cure
than the common cold, oh these were the brave years
of a sexual revolution that was no more
revolutionary than tomato juice
Personal behavior as a consequence
was on hold with Roe v. Wade mixed up
privacy with infanticide, or reinstalled it
as a pagan rite, while My Lai could be rationalized & its
perpetrators could be slid into obscure exoneration
in the day it was Pendleton shirts, and Converse tennis shoes,
V-8 engines that took you down the American highway
At a high rate of speed, the lonesome highways
between suburbs and rural America where you
could feel a rhythm of road noise
& drive in a day a distance
your grandfather could not travel in three weeks
& then there was the warm wet your pants
seduction of the commercial
National rant of it, that sold the notion
to the nation that this perfect thing
we thought we had, was never perfect, which it wasn’t.
but the sales pitch was—that there was a sale
on Democracy worldwide & that, somehow made it right
that we had the right to make that illusion
part of everywhere else.

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