Poetry – We used to be cool – a poem about getting old and hip

61U89AzgoAL__AA160_ Vice and Verse cover  61qDTq70unL__AA160_ BookCoverImage 51QC-PE-PZL__AA160_Prose Cons and poetry cover

We used to be cool

Being cool. What’s that about? Some people just are and some people never could be. It’s not so much fashion and style as attitude.

Kerouac in his lumberjack shirt and jeans was supercool.

Miles Davis had it.

But Michael Jackson was just a showbiz phenomenon.

To be cool is to be locked in to the flow of the universe, the cosmic dynamo – to have the energy flow straight through you – to be an individual. There are no trends when you’re cool. You just is. You be.

Back in the 50s it was the American blacks who were supercool. They set the pace for the hipsters. They wanted to live, to go and to hit into the energy of life. They had nothing to buy into, nothing to lose; theirs was the ultimate freedom.

The Beats sucked into that energy – go, go, go – the jazz, the wailing sax.

The Rockers tasted a different beat and rocked.

The Hippies dropped out and grooved.

The Punks wanted to tear it down.

The moment the fashions and styles were born they were dead. All the trendies jumping on the wave as if it was fashion. It wasn’t. It was life. There was no part-time life.

But then you see what you have become.


We used to be cool


We used to be cool

But now we’re cold

Used to be hot

But we done got old.


We used to be hip

Riding the crest

But I guess we fell off

When our hips went west.


We used to be with it


Now it’s our hair

That’s all go go go.


We used to be fab

And groovy too

Now we’re just sad

Me and you.


We could crawl off and die?

But what’s the point?

It’s not so much joints and hip

As hip joint.


Opher 15.4.2015

These are my six books of poetry. They are available as paperback or on Kindle from Amazon – all for under £5 for a paperback. You could buy the whole lot for just £27.62!!

They are not conventional poetry books. They are like you find on my blog with a page of explanatory prose followed by the poem. The prose is as important as the poem to me.

Codas, Cadence and Clues – £4.97

Stanzas and Stances – £5.59

Poems and Peons – £4.33

Rhymes and Reasons – £3.98


Prose, Cons and Poetry – £4.60

Vice and Verse – £4.15

What is cool?

Singer Elvis Presley performing  on stage in Hollywood, California. June 22, 1956 Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Singer Elvis Presley performing on stage in Hollywood, California. June 22, 1956 Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

milesd1 jackkerouacpicture10

What is this thing we call cool?

I see all these kids walking about wearing clichés with their hair and clothes. They ape each other, and their idols, in attitude, costume and posture as they try to be cool. Most are merely achieving ridiculousness. Fashion victims are manifest on every high street.

It seems that every age has its version of cool. I bet the cavaliers and 1920s flappers thought they were cool.

Modern-day cool comes right out of black 50s culture and Rockabilly. Black culture epitomised cool. They were discriminated against, lived in poverty (I stereotype) but knew how to have a good time, let their hair down and develop a style that was full of flair. They did not have to fit in. They could wear garish pastel coloured suit, dance and express their sexuality.

White 50s culture was prim, proper and strictly coded. Your life was mapped out. Your hairstyle and clothes carefully manicured. You did not deviate. It was all ordained.

Then came the Blues and Rockabilly and Youth Culture and Cool were born.

Kids no longer worried about their futures and how they fitted in to the status quo; they cared about how their peers saw them. To be in was to be cool.

In the 1950s Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation focussed on Jazz and the Cool Negro life-style.

1950s Rockabilly adopted ducktails, flouncy skirts, side-burns and hi-heeled sneakers, contrasted clothes and posturing.

The sixties epitomised youth culture and the alternative culture.

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the crooners came out of white culture and can never be cool.

Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, 1956 Elvis and Captain Beefheart are cool.

Cool is not fashion.

For me ‘cool’ has to be born out of rebellion and alternative vision. You can’t ape it. You have to have it inside. It is a state of mind. Cool is an attitude.