(19,60,3)

RFK

When I was four the world changed around me,

my family I was only just learning to love

devastated by the national news.

The musty den in our home is my memory,

laying on the stale carpet, didn’t need a chair,

I was the kid,

with my family all together in tears

watching Walter Cronkite deliver our reality

(months later we would do the same with the Beatles, no tears)

as the news spread across a failing nation

whose idealism had died

with a bullet to the head.

Stark reality for me was still a cartoon image,

fascinated by the replays of a dying man,

I laid down aroused by the truth of tragedy,

wondering why everyone else was crying

while wallowing in the imagery

of a human condition I wasn’t yet ready

to understand.

~

In 1964, we would discover a British sound, a saving grace

let us forget about pain for a short time,

introduced a certain mindset that let us drift,

make love, hold flowers to our eyes, and scream for justice,

while around us everyone continued to crumble;

the forgotten meadow of loss

that when the buds of autumn begin to dry,

we only pay attention to the remaining fragrance,

that once used to be,

then life drifts away only to be reborn again

later in the springs of reckoning

when last year’s pain suddenly becomes memory.

The world would carry on as the human condition demands

with peril,

victory in the minds of the protestors,

a sea of young men wandering the soil at home

without any strength,

sapped by the will of living

in a war zone, drugged and destroyed,

while later in their lives, the mind could only be reminded,

no longer able to produce.

We watched as one leader after another discovered lead

that stopped our rally calls with a deafening silence,

later erupting in the civil streets across the country,

every alley way becoming planning ground

for the evening assault on the commercial world

unable to connect with the personal.

Without his charisma,

Beyond his angst,

faraway from peaceful strolls,

well past new idealism,

the 60’s became a fog,

a slow burning abyss

of revolution and fear,

that decades later would become a foundational

hypocrisy.

The minds that cried the loudest would be those

that seek shelter while saying ‘yes’ to the man

they earlier in life simply didn’t want to understand.

They got it, but didn’t like it,

well at least until they had their moments

victory with the status quo

a yuppified society that became the norm,

while underneath the pavement,

the homeless vets continued to struggle,

joined again by addicts,

followers of visualized hedonism

not quite understood.

The reality spoke,

we’d lost the beauty of JFK’s idealism,

only to later watch the Beatles create beauty in rhythms

that perhaps even Malcolm X might appreciate,

if we’d let him live beyond his progressive change.

Then Martin Luther King, Jr, was cut down by a savage

that created a rolling haze of violence and destruction

well deserved for the ignorance that helped aim the rifle.

I remember in 1968 I was growing conscious,

a man looked powerful with a similar charisma,

and just when he began to help me understand,

the State of California became a tragic focus.

~

Today, we do celebrate his idealism, the beauty of correctly stated words.

Imagine how poignant Lennon’s words would have remained, if only then,

at that time, the human condition couldn’t again rear its ugly naivete.

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