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"The Dream Is Over pt. I", "A Life" & "Songs For The New War" by Scott Laudati

The Dream Is Over pt. I

It was all good once.

Football games on Friday nights

and maybe second base

under the bleachers

before the last call cigarettes

and coffee

at the Red Oak Diner.

The future American heroes saved up

for Monday morning war stories

and the lucky ones

got fist pounds and made bets on what

was next.

But the stars fell close.

And the good ones got out.

And those years

that once felt endless

didn’t prepare us

for a future alone.

A Life

I used to walk around and look at alleys

or hidden corners of parks

and think,

when I’ve finally lost everything

I can be homeless here.

But then I got older and

left New York.

I drove through Appalachia

and the sad and stalled Midwest

and finally made it to


where the wheat was so healthy

it was almost gold,

and no money

had ever talked to the land.

It had escaped the experiment.

It remained free.

I saw myself as a successful writer looking

out over that grass and thought,

someday when I’ve had enough

of this awful world

I can kill myself here.

And that’s why I leave

instead of just signing the lease.

It’s hard on the soul to stay.

I hit a new city like a camera

and memorize everything.

And once I’ve drank in all the bars

and had coffee in the morning

it’s time to run.

It’s the same conversation every time.

With my girlfriend,

with my mother,

that it’s nothing

they did,

I just never learned

to take life

as it comes.

There’s never been a past,

it’s all new to me.

Maybe you know what I mean.

I’ve looked at women

with the old soul eyes,

who’ve stood on this dirt before,

and they know for sure

this is just one life

and so it will be again.

But not me.

I clocked in with clean lungs.

A boy that learned fear.

That became too sad to cry.

That didn’t know

there would be a second chance.

Always remember,

if there’s nothing left to lose

run for the finish line.

Always remember,

it’s the fight of the century every time.

Always remember,


will be easier.

Songs For The New War

I’ve heard songs for the new war.

They chant over crank radios

like heartbeats from a Shaman’s drum.

They come out of subways on

a three-string guitar

and the words of a runaway

who still believes in his favorite band.

They live in hog squeals you can hear from

rooftops in Chicago,

trapped in perdition,

riding the currents of the universe

like a crest without a trough.

These are the songs for the new war.

I heard my first from a Rat King

who ended his sermon with, “

Humans have infinite past lives ... but animals get none.”

I heard my second in a dream where

a black moon rose over a shallow lake

and tadpoles swam circles around the reflection

like black stars in orbit.

Is this what gets lost when we die?

Does the melody cling too tight to your soul?

What if you kept in no tears

and never found a lie you didn’t tell?

Anyone who ever lived,

any martian who ever visited,

any elephant who ever buried its friend,

it’s all led to this.

And when the messenger arrives

no one will ask about

his chest full of arrows.

And no one will care about the conclusion

of free will.

The songs of the new war will fade out before their last chords.

They won’t be hummed in the FEMA camps or by the future Reichs.

They’ll be buried like the family dog,

mourned for an hour

then immediately replaced.

Scott Laudati is the author of Play The Devil and Baby, Bring Back 1997. Follow him on Twitter - @ScottLaudati - for opinions on RHONJ and Vanderpump Rules.

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