Out of our customary Sunday somnolence here in Fort Collins, one of America’s most yupped up and hyped small cities, we wake to an Egypt on fire yet again, and people in the streets.
Why the lump in the throat, I question myself, pouring a good, strong cup of joe with canned milk and sugar added.
Other winter moments come back to me right here in this town, before I ever trekked out to Minnesota and began life as a poet, when I was a hippie chick and a self-anointed revolutionary. We resolutely marched in all weathers calling for an end to the Viet Nam war.
It has been extremely easy for nearly everyone coming after us– and some of us ourselves– to romanticize this period. I remember it as grueling and very frightening– and exhilarating. One very cold day we took over a building on the Colorado State Campus. At the last minute my amor and I got ourselves safe– others stayed and went to jail. Eventually it all blew over and now it’s so many years ago. For un-watered down versions of our story, surf around; I withhold certain names.
Who knows how much taking to the streets effects change? Perhaps it did here; perhaps it was instrumental in ending the Viet Nam war, the great American shame story next to Iraq sans WMD and Afghanistan where a confused young president stuck us. Many think so, and I hope it’s true, as I revisit the Kent State photos.
Much of our saga has been recast in a terrific novel I ought to have earlier pitched on this blog, Woodstock Rising, by Canadian writer Tom Wayman. We are all on every page of this tour d’force of cultural history and how we saw things. You can also read a little bit more about where I came in on my About the Blogger page here; I had the distinction–and great good fortune–to be Tom’s “old lady” of that period.
I wonder what it would take for us to fill the streets now? We didn’t do it over Iraq, or Afghanistan. Why have we gone numb?
On one of those days the amazing Robert Bly was here on a reading tour and he led us downtown to the Veteran’s Memorial to give a speech against the war. The previous night he had read his great anti-war poem The Teeth Mother Naked at Last to a packed house. We had visionaries of our own among us who talked us off our asses and fired us up, and taught and enlightened– and loved us. We had our own CIA plant who stood revealed.
We’ve all drifted away into the rest of our lives, to all of the winds. Lonely are the brave, one thinks. What about you? What causes get you revved, and how do you feel about the Egyptian revolution?