BEING AND EXISTENCE

Activism isn’t the sole truth

Being and existence

Existential issues of the day matter

The human being Being persists through the day

From days past, centuries, millennia

Gilgamesh is past present

Issues of the aged transcend

Queer theory, eco-justice, prison reform

Existential issues of the day matter

In my day was Vietnam, peace, love, Woodstock

Where are they now?

And I, from then, where am I now?

As I compose, now, death and/or afterlife verses

Transcendence of the moment, of existential issues

Old friendships over decades, new love of one decade

Recasting time, reconsidering decades

Considering the time I have left

THE MASK THAT WASN’T THE 50’s

The veneer that was the 50’s

Cracked open, broke decent pretense

A massive cultural mythology

Imposed by retired military-industrial-congressional complex

Reasons for the mask that suburbs looked like

Took a generation of activists to unmask

And uprise against the subordination of the feminine mystique

White-washed and express racial exclusion

From proximity, opportunity, drinking fountains

Pulling the covers off infidelity

Drunken suburban neighborhood house parties

Off-stage of Ozzie and Harriet and Donna Reed

Woodstock didn’t so much liberate

As unmask, dismantle dissemblance, crack the veneer

That wasn’t the 50’s

Melanie: Woodstock’s Unsung Voice

We still hear about Woodstock, even in 2020.  But we hear only what the media wants us to hear about it.  Media accounts of Woodstock make it look like the festival was all about drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll.  But it wasn’t.  Peace and love filled to spirit of the festival.  Love isn’t just free love, or sex.  It is a love for each other.  And we don’t hear much about the spirit of Woodstock.  And spirituality at Woodstock.  Even in the four-hour documentary movie about Woodstock, there is no footage of Melanie.  Melanie’s take on Woodstock makes the festival a spiritual experience.  Indeed it was, or it wouldn’t be remembered.  No one would remember just a week-end of drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll.

Listen to Melanie’s words about Woodstock in her song, “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”:

We were so close there was no room
We bled inside each others wounds
We all had caught the same disease
And we all sang the songs of peace
Some came to sing, some came to pray
Some came to keep the dark away

Melanie had a spiritual experience while performing at Woodstock, and the crowd knew it, and they were with her.  She says,

“At that moment, 500,000 people saw me have this spiritual awakening because I realised that I wasn’t a body. The body is a separate thing to whatever you want to call it, the spirit or the soul or whatever. The actual being of me was not that body. I left.  That moment that happened in front of those people, that was the uniqueness of Woodstock, for me. And even though people didn’t know what was happening, they knew something had happened. And they were with me.”

Melanie doesn’t use drugs, so the spirituality was real.  There was that spirit, that spirituality at Woodstock, too.  There were those who came to pray, to keep the darkness away, who sang songs of peace, who were so close they bled inside each others’ wounds.

For whatever reason, we don’t hear about that aspect of Woodstock.  And we don’t hear about Melanie.  She is Woodstock’s unsung voice.  But for those of us lucky enough to know Melanie’s music and beautiful spirit, Melanie’s take on Woodstock gives as much light as 500,000 lit candles raised against the dark.

SOME WORDS I GREW UP WITH

Vietnam, establishment, protest, revolution, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., assassination, J. Edgar Hoover, Twiggy,

Woodstock, Buffalo Springfield, Richie Havens, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Crosby, stills, Nash, and Young, Janis Joplin, Cream, Ravi Shankar, Jefferson Airplane, Melanie, Ten Years After, Mountain, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

mind expansion, weed, LSD, hash, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau

The Man, tear gas, mod, freaks, hippies, bikers, jocks, counter-culture, mini-skirt, long hair, crew-cut, bell-bottoms, Spock, freedom, riots, tie-dye, Motown

peace, Nature, love