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What I Really, Really Want
Alexandra Umlas


Give me a skating rink,
eight neon-green wheels, a disco floor
where it's '90s Night, every night.
Give me a flannel shirt, a pair
of Guess jeans. Give me Kurt Cobain.
Give me his cheerleaders,
the ones that jumped
just the way we felt, like we were full-
of-life zombies. Give me a tin
of Maxwell House instant vanilla latte,
that lived in the cupboard before Starbucks.
Give me a good game of Oregon Trail.
Give me dysentery and four oxen.
Let me leave in March so I can avoid
the worst part of winter. Give me two
hours at a park where everyone hears
the grass. Give me French fries without
acrylamide, a Bob's Big Boy, an Arnold's
Family Restaurant. Give me a phone
with a rubbery, spiral cord and plastic,
square buttons. Let me push each
button hard, hear every clear, single tone,
call a yellow cab an hour before
we need it. Give me Steve Urkel,
or at least a set of leather-bound
encyclopedias, where I can look
things up alphabetically, where Alexa
can't say, I don't know the answer
to that.
Give me a television show
with a woman whose bangs defy gravity,
give me the time during the commercials.
Give me an episode of Girls Gone
at 10 PM, and Lorena Bobbitt
on News at 11. Give me a VHS player,
rewind button, let me hear the whirl
of tape going backward so I can walk
across the street to Blockbuster and drop
it in the slot before midnight.
Give me the song "1999" before 1999,
before Y2K, when everybody thought
the world was going to end;
when the world, as we knew it, did--

From At the Table of the Unknown (Moon Tide Press, 2019).
Used with permission.



Alexandra Umlas lives in Huntington Beach, CA with her husband and two daughters, who inspire much of her writing. She loves teaching, reading, and taking road trips. Alexandra's first collection of poetry, At the Table of the Unknown, was recently published by Moon Tide Press. Learn more about her at









Post New Comment:
barbara eknoian:
I like her list of "give me's." Also the end line is powerful.
Posted 01/08/2020 04:03 PM
Larry Schug:
The times, they are a changin"--always, with or without us. Nice reminder.
Posted 01/05/2020 01:16 PM
Wonderful and I understand the feeling that our world might be on its way out, in some ways, for better and for worse, is already gone. I hope for the sake of our children we will find a way to salvage it, probably with the help of these new technologies.
Posted 01/05/2020 12:27 PM
This makes me nostalgic even though I have no clue about half the references. Alexa, who is Steve Urkel?
Posted 01/05/2020 11:18 AM
Wonderful, vivid poem. BTW her book is filled with wonderful, vivid poems.
Posted 01/05/2020 10:33 AM
I love this!!! Fantastic!!
Posted 01/05/2020 09:56 AM
Bravo. I miss cursive writing, clocks with hands, approximating time with "ish," as in "I will be there around one-ish. And one thing that hasn't changed--good writing allows us to share the experience. Thanks, Alexandra.
Posted 01/05/2020 08:26 AM
michael escoubas:
Great job Alexandra! With you all the way in memories and in truth of yesterday--how I yearn for a return of those days--as you point out, it was a world we thought would end, and it did. Thank you.
Posted 01/05/2020 08:11 AM

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