And in a college class a
century from now, perhaps there will
be a lecture about the confluence
of late capitalism and late
and perhaps the professor will
stroke his salt and pepper beard
and adjust his clashing tie
and hover on his transport-board
over to the less-than-interested student
and show him a three-dimensional presentation
that is like Prezi but inside his
head because such things happen
and he will show the student slides
from a Google Earth archive
of the shopping center that I just left
and tell her that in 2007 before
the great recession
there was a Blockbuster video
that became an all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet
and a Pier One that became a Dentist’s office
though one sat empty for several years
and across the street in 2008 they put a sign up
for a Circuit City the day they announced
bankruptcy and the building sat empty until
they knocked it down to build a massive
Ikea, where Kansans could buy Swedish things
they couldn’t pronounce.

And in this someday classroom
in one of the five colleges not run
by the University of Phoenix, the student
who has had the Prezi-brain presentation
downloaded into her very fiber will nod
and wonder why it is the youngish-but-not-
as-young-as-he-used-to-be man is in the parking
lot looking up, as if he remembers what this place
was in a time before late capitalism-late suburbia
as if he could remember the farm that once stood here
or a grandfather’s general store before the three small towns
that run together over the course of a few miles
became suburbs.

But, I would say, Sleepy student in the future,
I know this place only in a way that you
do, as a case study, a memory beginning only at
the moment I first stepped foot on the blacktop
to buy discounted shoes or flowers on my way home.
I know it only as the place I practiced late
in the way you practice Scientology or Kardashianism
or whatever religious tradition survives or emerges
after the post-post gives way to the next big thing.

I would say, looking up to the stars in the
post-Prezisphere universe, that I am glad you
have this little insignificant night of mine to
remember, because we are an age that forgets
everything and builds right over it, paving
our way to your future on sweatshop t-shirts
and sea-salt caramel something and orange chicken belches.
I am glad for you.
I am really glad.

You never know what ideas emerge from a run to the grocery store to get ice cream. The Tongue in cheek tone extends to the title, of course.


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