In the Shadow of the Bomb


By Joe Gardner

We never had a chance…
an entire generation raised
by grandparents and the state

Television taught us
reading; writing; math; and morality
Sesame St. Electric Co. 321 Contact
Capt. Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans
Romper Room; please call my name!
and God keep him well
Mr. Rodgers.

Children in the shadow of the Bomb
while our parents
like summer grasshoppers
squandered our future away
pledge of Allegiance and bomb drills
“The Russians are coming!”
on a failing wave of
Domino Theory Communism
and the Berlin Wall
still stood ugly and tall…

All hyped up after watching Red Dawn
at the theater with fathers and uncles
screaming WOLVERINES
as we ran through the park
gathered around the television glow to watch the Day After
when we still wanted to be
fire fighters and astronauts…
we never had a chance
watching the Challenger explode 5th grade
with our house key around our necks
to come to empty home
to watch more TV when sitcoms were funny…

Re-Run pop locking
on What’s Happening
Happy Days and an alien named Mork
MASH and Sanford and Son

and primetime was for adults…
but if you were good and quiet
maybe you’d get to watch
some Hill St. Blues
or catch a bit of Miami Vice
if you were really lucky.

Saturday mornings were
Cartoons, Combat and Kung Fu Theatre

And always
moving on up
were the Jeffersons
and the Bunkers
All in the Family…

Do you remember when George and Archie met?
how they showed us
we really weren’t that different?
Do you remember
your house key around your neck?
Do you remember
when we had a chance…?

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