'The Eighties' by Kurt Luchs

Updated: Jun 12

The usual group had gathered at the usual time and place

for breakfast, had ordered and eaten the usual dishes,

and had run the usual topics of conversation into the ground.

Why was the whole world crashing around our heads?

Where would it all end? How could the two halves of the

country keep from killing each other and get anything useful

accomplished? Everyone else had paid and left, but I just

sat there, staring into space and holding Sheryl’s hand in mine.

“Shall we?” she said. “No, we shall not. Can you hear that?”

I said. “Hear what?” she said, frowning. “That song,” I said,

pointing to the loudspeaker in the ceiling. “What about it?

What is it?” she said. “I don’t know what it is, they aren’t

playing it loud enough to make out the lyrics,” I said,

“but I can tell you when it was produced: The Eighties.”

She said, “How do you know that? And what difference

does it make?” “That echoing electronic drum sound high

in the mix, those cheesy synthesizers, and worst of all

that superfluous saxophone solo, could not have come

from any other decade,” I said. “I can’t hear the words,”

she said. “The words don’t matter,” I said. “They could be

telling us we don’t need another hero, or that our whisper

is careless, or to harden our hearts. What matters is a sound

so dull, so pointless and unthinking, that it was dead before

the sun went down on the day it was born. That sound caused

music fans to turn on each other with unbelievable savagery.

There were riots, assaults, murders, people burned alive.

A new book just came out proving that most saxophone players

were quietly rounded up toward the end of the decade and put

into secret death camps for orderly disposal.” “Oh,” she said.

“Well, I kind of like Eighties music.” “Me too,” I said.

“The Eighties are the best.”

Copyright. Kurt Luchs.

Kurt Luchs ( has poems published or forthcoming in Plume Poetry Journal, The Bitter Oleander, and London Grip. He won the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest, and has written humor for the New Yorker, the Onion and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. His books include a humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny), and a poetry chapbook, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other. His first full-length poetry collection, Falling in the Direction of Up, was recently issued by Sagging Meniscus Press. He lives in Portage, Michigan.