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In Our New Great Depression

uploaded: Sun, Oct 12, 2008 @ 7:22 AM
FeaturingBrian Bieniowski
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This piece utilizes a significant excerpt from the spoken word essay “In our New Great Depression”, by Brian Bieniowski. Here is the entire piece:

“In Our New Great Depression, we’ll see the return of obscure candy bars, rising phoenix-like from the ashes of our economy, the Mars Bar, Oh Henry!, Zagnut, Abba Zabba, 5th Avenue, Clark, Valomilk, Sugar Daddy. We’ll sit upon our front porches, or stoops, or stand on the lines outside the offices of unemployment, regarding the empty wrappers of the new Drifter bars, the charming double paks of Hoover Shoes, and, of course, the delicious Bindlestiff and its rich coconut center.

In Our New Great Depression, we’ll likely feel the freedom we always imagined we’d have if we were unshackled from the chains of our money and status and power, all as we continue hunting down money and status and power. All of our pains and headaches and stress conditions will disappear, replaced only by the dull ache in our stomachs; it will seem as if it can never be filled.

In Our New Great Depression, we’ll come to see the great automotive graveyard, two lanes of sagging heaps miles long, and marvel at how they used to build ‘em. Remember the Escalade and the Land Cruiser? Remember how the H3 used to glide down thin country streets, like a great yellow Wandering Albatross, its magnificent lines like the flowing arteries of our nation’s trucking industry? Remember the X5, the LX, the Cayenne? Our tremendous shipping crates, filled with the bounties of democracy, in this case two children and their preoccupied parents; like a fleet of Flying Fortresses over Japan and Germany; like great sharks.

In Our New Great Depression, it seems to us that the Moon is always the same in the sky, some nights an ever-vigilant eye, other nights a tiny sliver of a scalpel, constantly regulating and deregulating. Some nights it isn’t there at all.

In Our New Great Depression, or perhaps after, grandpa will hoard all sorts of useful items in the basement of our home, because you never do know what you might need someday. This box will contain cellphones of every description, ones that can text, ones that can Tweet, ones that can blog, ones that have blurry photos of intoxicated faces stored upon the bountiful hidden green dales of their microchips, all grins. This box will contain purses of every description; this box will contain the heels of a hundred pairs of shoes; this box will contain pages and pages of old manuscripts, careful memoirs and suspense tales, good for fire starting and scrap paper and insulation of our home’s thin walls. The mule out back has a Prada feedbag.

In Our New Great Depression, we will sadly load a DVD player and IKEA mattress atop the frame of our ailing Ford Focus, and begin our way west. The poor dog might well get hit by a cruising H3 on the highway, and poor grandpa might not make it either. But we heard from a handbill there’s work in the great valley in California, work picking peaches and other fruits, and maybe a decent place to live with showers and real flush toilets, and no place a man with a tractor might come to and knock the walls down. We’ve just got to try and find it, JC, we’ve just got to.

In Our New Great Depression, there’s this old shirt we have. We never really wore it much, but now it’s a good shirt, maybe the best one. They all get worn out in a while, but this one is still fresh and new inside the closet, waiting, we think, or at least it looks like it is. Sometimes we take that shirt out and hang it on a chair, button it up around the chair’s back, primp its button collar, smooth the sleeves. That shirt is waiting and we’re gonna wait too, just keep waiting.

In Our New Great Depression, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and Anne Hathaway and Amy Winehouse and Jennifer Aniston and Matthew McConaughey finally find love in the pages of their new mimeographed Tijuana Bibles, made somewhere uptown. We snigger and trade copies as we ride the rails in the cramped baggage compartment of the Amtrak Acela Regional train to Scranton, PA. Looking for a dead little town to kick around in, maybe an abandoned foreclosure to squat inside, all hunched around a barrel fire, roasting squirrels for our Appalachian stew.

In Our New Great Depression, the sex is so much better now, for we clutch at each other on the ground and try to pull ourselves down and down, almost through each other, down to under the ground, as fast as we can.

In Our New Great Depression, some guy on the internet, one of the few left, says we only have to live through ten years of this, only ten years of it all, and that World War III will probably pull us out of this terrific mess the Democrats have gotten us in.

In Our New Great Depression, we hear a faint knock on our door, should we still have doors, and, upon opening, we find it is Little Orphan Annie and her plucky dog Sandy. She looks up at us with her two great voids, the ageless eyes that have seen decades come and go, the two beautifully vacant orbs of fortitude and love. We fall to our knees before her and she tousles our unkempt hair, whispering softly, “Chin up, chin up,” as little, magnificent Sandy nips gently at our fingertips”.

Brian Bieniowski is a science fiction editor and all-topics-covered essayist. He hosts the excellent ambient podcast called “The Quiet Sounds”.

"In Our New Great Depression"
by gurdonark

2008 - Licensed under
Creative Commons
Attribution Noncommercial (3.0)

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