Monday, March 31, 2008

More 1970

You can listen to this as you read, if you like...

Trying to put names to faces,
On a big old picture,
Of my Junior High School classmates
Standing in front of our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C.

Some are on the tip of my tongue,
Looking as they did
When we were young, so young
When I was just a kid,
When we were all just a bunch of kids
When we were young, so young

I couldn’t find my face at first,
Until I remembered who I was standing next to,
The guy who I remember once said,
In Mr. Fava’s English class,
There are so many things to think about –
How could you ever be bored?”

I saw him last at his Mom’s funeral,
I was already dressed in black that day
To protest our nation’s
Current Wars,
Three nephews,
One fictive and two kin
In the military
Learning to kill
Learning to kill

There was fear in the air in those days
Some of us couldn’t go
Because there was, really, a protest demonstration
Going on just about a mile or so away
And parents were scared –
About those demonstrators
And Black People in that city
And crime in the streets
And I wish I could say
“How things change.”

I see all those Peace symbols
And wish I had one
I don’t think I ever got one
Or I’d have it still,
And I’d wear it still,
How I wish I could say
“How things change.”

I see some of those faces,
In the grocery stores in my hometown
and sometimes someone sees me
and almost remembers my name
As I do the same
As I do the same…

And there’s someone unforgettable
And I wonder how they’re doing now
And another
And another –
And there’s someone who I know is now gone

And there’s a guy in the back row
Who at the time didn’t know
He’d lose his brother
Half a world away in Viet Nam.

I just happened to be
Standing by the school’s office
When his dad came in to tell him and to bring him home
And I’ll never forget the tears in that big guy’s eyes
And how that moment stayed with me
And how that moment changed my life
How that moment lives again every morning
As I watch the TV news –or read how
Only about one in four Americans knows
Four thousand Americans have died
In our newest war based on lies,
Just like that one was,
Our newest war based on lies…

I look back at the picture,
Try to find Kim,
My wife’s best friend,
Whose son calls me “Uncle” and ,
Emails me from Iraq
To say “Everything is fine,”
Just like he’s told to,
“It’s not at all like the Media says.”

And there’s that center row of teachers
- I saw one of them just after 9/11 with her daughter
- At a car show of all places
- Her daughter wearing a big Peace symbol
- I said “Hello,” but I could tell she didn’t remember me
And that big tall guy with the funny name
He once came to our Peace Vigil, up on the Bethlehem Green,
and of course, there’s Ted, who I often see around:
I play guitar with him and we love a bunch of the same songs
And we even sing together, because together
We manage to remember all the words to the songs...

And there’s one of the best teachers I ever had
Who helped me remember things I’ll never forget
Because he knew that laughter opened up young minds
And old ones too, and you know he’s gone now too
And I probably don’t have to tell you,
Perhaps you already knew
And it’s how you remember him too…

Hey! - and there’s a guy with the same last name
Who made us boys laugh
When he called me “Mac,”
That year there was no shop class.
He’d probably get a good laugh
If I told him about all the famous people
Whose antiques I repaired and restored,
Even tho’ I never made my Mom a breadboard.

And there’s Jocko, who’d just gotten that new name
And Ed the Shred, the young kids call him,
His surfer, and now snow boarder, name;
And there’s someone else now gone,
And another probably in jail or about to be,
Wearing those Peace signs upside down,
I remember him pinning them on like that,
Saying he’s in favor of the War
- I saw him once when a band I was in
- Played at a place we called “The Bucket of Blood,”
- Where they bolted the tables and chairs to the floor
- So people wouldn’t use them to break the front window…

There’s Rita whose picture I saw in the paper,
Holding her pet snakes when she was stationed at Pendleton,
Days after I moved back home from San Clemente
Back in the days when that was the only thing you could see
Up in the hills on the other side of Route 5…

And I must’ve looked again about 20 times,
And there’s always someone else I find,
And the clock is watching me
And my coffee is cold
And there’s that big list called “To DO,”
That I’m trying to find…

Monday, March 31, 2008

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