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Summer of ’67

My canopy of early summer sounds
in 1967
was as intimate as adolescent knowledge
might ever become.

My sixteenth summer
sweetly smiled with driver’s permit,
my first job,
economic promise while the Beach Boys
and the Beatles sang a rainbow
of boy band diversity,
sang stories of straight white male revolutions,
evolutions of June firefly evenings
resounding bullfrog and cricket background vocals
on our family farm,
where good Christian Republicans
longed for good old Eisenhower years
when Father was wise
and always knew best,
and Vietnam was no more than an acrid draft
of wasted social
financial
political
environmental
nutritional capital,
not yet fully present.

This summer of 1967
was when I knew both anguish of embodied defeat,
hopelessly homosexual,
an yet poignancy of emerging mystical wonder
about what this could mean
fifty years from now.

I could not help fantasizing
how Paul and Art
might not only sing,
but dance, in poignant harmonies.

And,
as much as I laughed and loved and longed
to hear Stevie Wonder wondering
and Otis Redding wanting,
Marvin Gaye worshiping,
I so wished they could sound even better
with me.

Joni Mitchell
and Joan Baez
and Judy Collins,
like John Lennon,
were compelled to write and speak and sing
songs of love as freedom
growing transcendent
yet deeply fertile
Aquarian promise.

A promise bombed out
by uncivil wars
bound by fear of egocentered failure.
Fear our parents,
and half of my junior year classmates,
found compelling enough to throw away dollars
to build and buy
and transport
and explode bombs and bullets and boys,
nearly oblivious to hundreds of thousands of innocent men
and mothers
and children wiped out
by a mere strategic choice
to cover partisan ass
as the biggest baddest bully
on Earth’s shrinking block.

I didn’t blame him,
but when I called James Taylor
to rescue the Johnson and Nixon White Houses,
he did not come,
as promised,
to rescue me,
to remind us about our friend and family connections
across cosmic time
and Earth’s regenerate space.
A great ballad was just not enough.

In June of ’67
I was singing both “I Believe”
and “Love is Blue”
with equally honest passion
and thriving off a translucent vulnerable cover song
between these two impossibly incommensurable positions,
surrounded by straight evangelical predators,
sniffing for pinko faggot weakness.

I was so guilty
yet so in love with rightness
and ripeness
of my generation’s possibilities
for revolutionary integrity,
drawing together economic health
with political wealth
in some new golden ruling age
of relentlessly cooperative incorporation
and association
and ownership
and self-governance.

In this early summer of 1967
Martin and Bobby still walked with us
and one still dreamed he might see
someone who looked and thought and felt like him
as President one day
and the other I dreamed would become President
while I was still a high school junior.

So much devastation and disappointment followed.
It took at least a decade
and hundreds of thousands of human lives
treated like conscripted fodder
for nationalistic hubris of false pride
to arrive at the very treaty
our Vietnamese opponents had originally demanded.
And long before anyone from the U.S.
had been drafted and killed
for this offensive cause
of nationalistic non-defense.

Other health care and defense abuses
and losses
followed.
Neglect of women’s health.
Pedagogical loss of children’s deep ecological listening opportunities
to nondually co-arise with Earth’s polyphonic voices,
resources of multiculturing nutrition.

Yet I have these summer of ’67 memories
when,
for one diastatic season,
my revolutionary age on planet Earth
stood between despair of guilt
for what and whom I could never become
and celebrating hope for joy
of what we might yet reweave
timelessly singing and dancing
chanting and drumming
revolutioning and evolutioning together.

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