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
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
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
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.