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Leavings

-inspired by a picture posted on Korrektiv

When the rain came down and cooled off our heads,
We realized it was exile after all.
The passage of time – struck off by chord-change,
Explicit rhythms and feedback that scratched
Like a cat’s claws – wanted to be minded.
The chemicals laid their claim; we tripped on
Through to the coming decade in love
With sunlight and our own shadow and though
Our bliss told otherwise, our love warned us
We were unworthy of the world to come…

One morning before all this, we met like fates
On misting moors – except it was sun and drugs
That dulled our acquaintance half way there.
By striking up a small conversation,
You prepared to leave at my arrival.
Instead, you sat back down and watched the sun
Dangle among the trees. It was wartime,
Both of us fresh from college, dressing down,
Rehearsing Eden’s imminent return
With guns and numbers on our side, allied
In summer grass with plenty of future
To play with. Universal college dreams
Became too soft for books, and hardly known,
I asked you your name. You smiled, unpacked
Your music and strummed the melodic spine
Of Delphi’s oracle, no more planned
Than children in 1967…

When I dream of love, you sang to strings,
I can think of nothing good to bring you
And yet, when it dies, I can think of nothing
But what’s left behind.
The augur was in it
And so we decided then and there to leave
For Yasgur’s dairy – a 48-hour drive
Up an empire’s backside into farmland
Faint and blessed with the resembled pleasures
Of Elysium. It’s milk and honey
Would make God shudder; we didn’t even blink.
The rest was summer sex – with autumn’ show
Cancelled until 1979.
(You can’t be thirty on Woodstock Mountain…)
Rain, the crowds and beads, our totem’s joy,
The heartache of having to leave it all
Scattered the moment in acres of mud.
(Though you’re thinking you’re still too young to leave…)

Posters advertised in vulgar colors
The “aquarian exposition”
Which could have been the rain, but more likely
A revolutionary indulgence
Which left the highways jammed, the farms
Unproductive and town folk unwitting.
The poster’s dove – plumb as a catbird – perched
Upon a gripped guitar’s phallic neck and frets.
It would transform our sense in time and place.
But as we turned to listen, it went silent.
Unfazed, the reedy sounding broadcast hum
Was prepared to speak like a bomb in song
As it tuned into the turn-ons who dropped
Out of history for one brief, soggy weekend,
Only to meet it fairly square, right there
On Yasgur’s back forty, conceived
As fetus to the man, barren autumn
Around the corner, the birth preordained
And amplified on music’s cold shoulders.

A vain attempt to recapture the garden
Had brought us here. We lovers, determined
As fools to rediscover our folly
With little more than paraphernalia
And faith in bread and beer. The rain was best.
The mud that followed worst. We conceived
It the best of worst times, the worst yet
To follow, greeting us with Roman excess
And Greek abandon, pipes with strings and pipes
Of smoke – and I cried with recollection
The day I turned to find you entangled
With mortality on the debris field,
No longer immune to life’s deficiencies.
I never forgot you, but never owned up.
I grew up and left you behind, disowned.
In my dotage, stock portfolios
And IRA’s in decline, I had time
To play my life out: I invested well,
Abridgements warring with aggrandizements,
The painful many things that I was so close
To having, the achievements that left you lost…
There was no music at your funeral;
The obsequies had all been played out, spent
As worthless liturgical coin, our works
And days, our only patrimony.
We became a generation – and what
We would stock our faith with could not save us.
We became a generation – but what
We produced now hates what we left behind.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Brilliant.

    (Though don't quite understand it all.)

    Can I show it to anyone?

  2. Anonymous says

    Have you published a book of poems?

  3. Anon.,

    Thank you for your kind words!

    By all means show it to whomever you wish – I think that's part of our purpose here at Korrektiv.

    Lights under bushel baskets and all that.

    Anon. II,

    No, but I am bundling my works up in vellum packets and shoving them to the rear of my dresser for someone to discover many years after I've died only to have them mistaken for old bills and thrown into the wastebasket of oblivion…

    More seriously, I am still trying to get the attention of editors.

    Why, do you know any?

    JOB

  4. Jonathan Webb says

    Yes, fantastic. Better than any book could be. Thanks.

  5. tongchen@seattle says

    Greetings from USA! I love your blog.
    Please visit me at:
    http://blog.sina.com.cn/usstamps
    Thanks!
    -Tong

  6. Rufus McCain says

    Nice. I like the echoes of Neil Young … and the idea of God shuddering while "we didn't even blink." (Like fools rushing in where angels fear to tread?) And the pun: "what we would stock our faith with could not save us." An awful lot going on, though. Lots to sort through. Eden, milk & honey, conceptions, fetuses, abortive leavings. Can't quite get a handle on it all. The timeframes and the identity of the speaker. I guess I want a little more to grab aholt of. Or a little less. But nice work.

  7. Jonathan, Rufus,

    Kind of you – and yes, it needs some working up and pushing around to be called a better thing.

    I'll be updating it as it occurs to me.

    (The NY was intentional; glad you saw the pun; I'll try to turn many of the emblems into actual concrete metaphors – I think that's what's spinning your wheels in the mud….).

    JOB

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