Fossilised Generation

By Kate Meyer-Currey
Horrabridge, Devon, UK

I was a teenager in the Jurassic 

Eighties, one of the old and bad 

Who wilfully ignored the signs of

Clear and present danger. I am

A survivor of the Skynet Generation,

As so they will call us, when it’s 

Too late to swallow our pride 

And our world has been engulfed

By the rage of warring red-eyed

Machines, in a post-nuclear 

Apocalypse now. Back then we 

Were just avatars; unaware of

The final countdown on our Casio 

Neon watch displays. We were 

Bedazzled by video that dumbed

The world into radio silence; too 

Intent on jumping into a brighter 

Future, like so many Super Marios, 

Over the grainy obstacles of our 

Parents’ world, just so much dreary

News footage of the Falklands, IRA

Bombings, riots or the miner’s strike.

We were busy blasting space 

Invaders, spritzing Lynx ‘Africa’ or

Feeding our feel-good egos, to look 

Up and see the ozone layer was a 

Gaping maw, or feel the bite of acid 

Rain. That was just the Third World,

As I saw it at fifteen. Even so, I had 

Already witnessed mass nuclear 

Destruction on public information

Films. I was transfixed as fire-stormed 

Londoners roasted alive, on a video 

Shown at school. I had read of an 

Empty world decimated by a mystery 

Virus, been to see the last rabbit,

Reverted to medieval crop-rotation 

Smashed evil machines, and even 

Watched the horses return. All this 

While a chilly wind blew and we

Ignored the tamagotchi world that 

Starved in our pockets. I walked out

Of that lesson. It was an act of denial 

And self-preservation. I don’t like 

To say it, but my stance epitomises 

Generation X (for soon-to-be extinct).

I was told off, I think, and sat glumly 

Outside the class until the bell rang 

And I was free to forget the terrifying 

Vision of the future. In the here and 

Now, reviewing the grainy footage 

Of my younger self, I wonder why I 

Didn’t take a stand, as later generations 

Are, by sitting in silent protest, outside

Parliament, flanked by my school bag, 

Oppressed by the same fear I felt then.

I had no petition in my exercise book,

Made no obdurate call to arms, but

Chiding teachers bypassed my terror

In that lost moment of interaction. 

Now I might be one of them, talking 

Down at a hunched teenager and 

Telling them to stop wasting time,

Listen to authority and go back to 

School, you silly little girl, the world 

Is for adults. Adults, who, if we 

Understand the evolutionary process 

Correctly, walk upright, safe in our 

Ignorance of what goes on, beneath 

Our Godzilla feet. We do not hear or

Feel the tremors of an earth whose

Shoulders droop under our burden.

Pterodactyl planes swoop our skies 

Writing messages of warning in 

Belching gases, but we don’t look 

Up. We are the raptors, eviscerating 

The world’s innards; fossilized by the 

Sedimentary beliefs of our own 

Superiority. We are too entrenched 

To kneel alongside our peers and 

Listen to the still small voice of 

Protest. Even if, in an instant of 

Misplaced conscience, we add 

Our names to the petition, we 

Know, deep in our dinosaur brains,

That it’s too late. The age of our

Final destruction is already here. 

We were blinkered. So we missed

Kate Meyer-Currey was born in 1969 and moved to Devon in 1973. A varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing. She currently has over forty poems published in print and e journals.