Every girl was on the pill, and laying on surrealistic pillows with white rabbits and Mad Hatters were the drill of the day. None of us worked, food was donated by the parishioners, and we made national news. I got stoned day and night
And you know you're going to fall,
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call."
Neither were they applicable to war protesters. I remember a group of young adults and almost adults, of which I was a part, (we consisted of approximately 15 to 20 people) who met at an Orange County, California public park to sing anti-war songs. It wasn't an organized event. Other then dressing a little differently, we did nothing a church group might do . . . sang songs and shared our feelings. There was no amplification, our actions peaceful, and none of us peed on trees or smoked dope. 30 minutes into the sing-in, a trio of policemen walked uo to us and asked, as if they didn't know) if we had a permit to have a rally at the park. A rally consisting of 15 to 20 people? I told the officers that we weren't having a rally that we met to sing songs against the war, share our feelings, nothing that a church group wouln't do except for the theme of the songs we sang. They said we had to break up or be arrested. Immediately we were herded by a larger group of city policemen and women onto a small two lane street behind the park. Other war protestors and hippies (were there any for the war?) saw what was happening and began complaining, calling our removal from the park a breach of our rights (which was a correct assessment), and joined us. The police herded us faster and faster, and when one girl fell on the ground, four policemen held her down spread eagle while a fourth cop clubbed her with a baton. We exploded and started throwing rocks at these bullies in uniform, the girl's body bleeding, her voice yelling out for help. We turned on the cops. Our group which had grown bigger and bigger. The cops knew they were out manned and fled. Ten minutes later a Swat team came with tear gas and rubber bullets . . . All because a group of peaceful young people met informally in a public park to sing songs and share their beliefs
Yes, the America I'd left had changed or, more probable, I'd changed in the 11 months I'd served in Vietnam. During that time, young people throughout America were changing their beliefs, losing faith in a dream that appeared to be filled with holes and was a smoke screen for America's rich. They became in a way, lost; explorers looking for an alternative to the pablum they'd been spoon fed by Doctor Spock and the Saturday Evening Post. They had brothers, boyfriends, and school mates who lost their lives or were maimed for life for what? A war we turned tail on and deserted, leaving those who depended on us to face Godless communists; an Armed Forces whose members more often than not, called the Vietnamese, gooks.
Welcome once more to the troubled mind of a man who couldn't be politically correct if he wanted to,. A man who offends the norm, and feels ill at ease with people, especially women, who at one time were some of his closest friends; a man who has no friends here in the Philippines, whose wife sees him as . . . something, I'm not sure what. Recently almost my entire staff at Simply Haiku revolted against me behind my back and said publically that I was a tyrant who bullied his staff, even though I'd rarely talked with them and usually when I did, I complimented them. Maybe some day I'll see the light and realize I'm Dr, Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, or, at least, The Monster that Devoured Cleveland. I give and get nothing much in return. I dislike Christmas and my birthday, and want just to live my final days on this planet, in peace and harmony; something I haven't felt since the day I landed in Saigon. Go ask Alice, my alter ego.
robert d. wilson