Friday, May 11, 2012

Back In The Day

Back in the day
It was sheer pandemonium
Those few
Deliciously delirious
Years at Hamilton

Back then
Hamilton was a monastery
An all male study environment
With no female distractions
(What were they/we thinking?)

We were
(and many of us still are)
The original no where men
Going no where
With no where in particular
To go
Save for Vietnam
And that was not
Any kind of an acceptable
Option for the majority of us
(There may have been a few
Who confused patriotism with
Compliance with the Draft
But they were a distinct minority)

The winter snows
came early and often
Blizzard conditions
prevailed for ten months
of the academic year
Nam wasn’t the only country
with body counts
While our front line troops
were numbing themselves with
cheap Asian drugs from
heroin to morphine
Americans were numbing themselves
with an entire pharmacy of
uppers and downers

The troops in Nam
had access to the best
selection of prostitutes
throughout the war zones
of southeast Asia
never mind that half of them
carried exotic STD’s or that
the other half served as
VC combatants
the boys on the Hill
had access to the local
high school girls
(we called them townies)
and we partied and drank and
did drugs of all sorts
night and day
all the week long
and especially on
house party weekends
and in between
we went to class
and studied for exams
and wrote term papers
when there wasn’t anything
better to do

We wanted to numb ourselves
from the hurt and pain of
the real world that
we all knew would grab us
sooner or later
by the scruff of our necks
no matter how hard we
tried to postpone the inevitable
and then we would be no different
from our parents
slaves to the work week and
to the bi-weekly or monthly paycheck
trying to climb up mortgage hill
in fevered pursuit
of  the so-called
American dream

We watched on TV
as wave after wave
of B-52s dropped
ton after ton of
deadly ordinance
on the thatched roof hooches
of Vietnamese peasants
who had no idea
when the daily hellish
existence of their lives would
finally come to an end

The anti-personnel weapons
the napalm
the unrestricted use of
Agent orange to defoliate
the Vietnam rain forests
all took their toll
and we who watched via TV
felt helpless
to stop the killing
(although some of us
to our everlasting credit
did try to protest -
even if we knew
how futile such
protests had become)

The war machine
raged on and on
lives like a deranged
monster on some bad
LSD trip

Back home
Safely tucked away
in our mountaintop monastery
We privileged college men
would roll some more joints
and play our Beatle records
and make love
over and over again
With the willing and eager townies
And we could keep on doing
these things until the cows came home
but none of it really mattered
None of it could kill the pain
of knowing that we were guilty
As Americans
of perpetrating
an illegal and immoral war
all in the name of
showing the commies
that we really meant business

We boomers had been born
into the most brutal and
bloodiest century
of them all
and all the king’s horses
and all the king’s men
would never in a million years
ever be able to put
our generation of lost
humpty dumptys
back together again

Not for all the tea in china
Not for all the oil in the middle east

Roll over Beethoven and
make room for the
rhythm and blues!-
Chuck Berry

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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