REMEMBER THE SIXTIES
They say old hippies don’t die they just move to Nelson,
and it’s true the Sixties spirit is alive and well
here but it’s not like truly dwelling
in the days that were a haze
of sex and drugs, when the birth control pill
changed the role of women and gave us the freedom to
plan not to have a bun in the oven,
to act like a man, to rebel against the double standard.
You remember the Sixties and all that free love!
The one-night stands that landed
you in Morgenthaler’s hands—and an abortion that wasn’t so free.
The grand love turned out to be casual and you never again forgot
the birth control pill although the thrill
was gone from the love that was not as free as you once thought.
Not so hot, those communal houses with the mattress on the floor and no
door on the loo and no toilet paper too,
just graffiti on the wall that said “Make love not war” and your sore
back from your yoga class
and weary of your parents’ message to succeed
you paid heed to the slogan of Timothy Leary
and you dropped acid and other drugs
which left you seeing bugs that weren’t there
and giving hugs to strangers on rugs.
And how can you forget the spliffs, the reefers, the joints, the lump of hash,
the stash, the pipe, the smell of patchouli mingling with the smoke of
the hash oil and the many uses of tin foil,
the head of the pin with the glowing chunk
being siphoned off by an empty pen
top and you can’t stop
your paranoid thoughts of the cop,
the narc, the pig, the bust, the raid that burst the bubble,
turned it all into rubble.
You remember the Sixties with its communes and karma,
hippies and the Dharma, the new age without the garbage
of the old rage.
The Sixties was all about freedom, the freedom to wreck yourself,
to deck yourself in satin and velvet, skirts that were above your thighs,
or below your ankles, granny glasses and Gandhi shirts, army jackets that didn’t show
the dirt, the freedom to flirt, as long as you didn’t revert, become a marriage convert.
The Sixties was all about freedom: freedom for blacks to attack
the institutions that stabbed them in the back while asking them
to die in Vietnam on a deserted jungle track.
The Sixties challenged the hypocrisy that defined the lined
faces of our leaders who denied that they lied, who relied
on votes from the silent majority to feed their greed.
And where did it all lead.
To terrorist attacks, and wars in Iraq.
Yes, its true there is Barack, a black man in the White House
But he’s been stymied by his opponents, hogtied, tried and retried.
It’s been fifty years since the tear gas and the mushroom cloud fears.
But it’s clear that the baby boomers have taken over the steering wheel.
So let’s all hope that we can cope
with the wages of old age
and turn over a brand new page.