It’s Not the ’60s Anymore, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Sixties montage.

“I was lucky to live in New York when it was dangerous and edgy and cheap enough to play host to young, penniless artists. That was the era of “coffee shops” as they were defined in New York—cheap restaurants open round the clock where you could eat for less than it would cost to cook at home. That was the era of ripped jeans and dirty T-shirts, when the kind of people who are impressed by material signs of success were not the people you wanted to know.” Edmund White, City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and ’70s



Dear Zorch,

 

No ~

it’s not the sixties anymore. It is a decade of upheaval

and people inflamed and lands laid bare.

Sea levels are rising and the

99% walk desiccated paths.

 

Once, you jockeyed in suits and ties

while I sat pregnant with poems,

just seventeen

the most unhappening girl in New York,

that most happening town.

 

We never did walk The Village streets for sips

of espresso in eccentric cafés, places

where Gibran Khalil Gibran might have lounged.

So okay, that was my dream. Yours was

Wall Street and manicured lawns in Westbury.

 

These days

there are strangers living in the old home place.

Our favorite stores are shuttered.

Our hip fashions are vintage.

Our parents have gone the way of all souls.

They never did hear

their truth over the cacophony of rote prayer.

You were happy to embrace high finance in place of Mystery.

Now though,

the future grows short

and

word is …

you’ve taken Pascal’s Wager.

 

Once

we sang “make love not war,”

but

the power mongering persists, just a habit I imagine,

as another generation marches into conflicts

under leadership

ignorant and vain, immoral and vulgar.

Tell me, did we get what we deserve?

 

I guess everything’s changed and nothing has.

No matter after all, fifty years of goodbyes.

The last goodbye now pending.

 

Yours truly,

Bright Eyes

 

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Write a poem that gives us a strong sense of time and place and how you and/or the times have changed.

Share your poem/s on theme in the comments section below or leave a link to it/them. All poems on theme are published on the first Tuesday following the current Wednesday Writing Prompt. (Please no oddly laid-out poems.)

 No poems submitted through email or Facebook will be published. 

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, April 30 by 8 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning non-judgemental place to connect.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


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45 thoughts on “It’s Not the ’60s Anymore, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Hello Jamie! Welcome back! I hope you had a good visit with your cousin (did I remember that right?). What a prompt to bring us back to! And by the amount and caliber of the responses this week, you’ve chosen a good one! I don’t know if mine brings a “strong” sense of time and place, but it did for me so I hope it is acceptable for inclusion this week.

    https://iidorun.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/8th-grade-dance-1988-a-lai-poem/

    I am so happy to see you back! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Let Your Light Shine
    Young love blossomed on the horizon immersed in “the days of wine and roses”. Afros and dashikis danced in the streets to jazz improvisations weaving in and out of the intricate beats of the drum declaring support in the fight for civil rights. The blues sang of heartache and tragedy while spirituals announced resilience of faith and survival in a changing world global in concern.

    I remember the sixties well, coming of age in a nation where the stage was set with demonstrations, picket lines, marches against racism, prejudice, and hatred…empathy standing tall with dignity not afraid to die for belief in true democracy “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all” regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation,

    Jim Crow was on the defensive murdering, lynching, bombing, burning…turning the south into fields of blood sprouting weeds of hostility and fear. Beautiful caring people united against the atrocities, linking arms, singing to the heavens “We Shall Overcome Someday” believing in their hearts that this was a new start in the United States of America.

    Tragedy and triumph were marked by a cyclical progression over the next generations. War and peace remained combatants in the world arena…ideologies exploded into shards of hatred, greed, and lust killing innocence attempting to eradicate the concept of brotherly love while in the USA came the day a black president served for eight years. Sweet victory became a reality!

    Then the divisiveness of hate, rooted in this country from its inception, once again sent it spiraling into the depths of degradation. The offspring of racism were unleashed when egomania moved into the oval office bringing his family with him..xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, and bigotry all claiming to want to make America great again.

    Yet once more this country standing on the shore of time shall rise as the people lift up their eyes peering into the sky knowing the Creator is near and that hope is beyond the horizon ready to take wing and fly throughout the land raining perseverance and strength on those who want to make a positive difference as their collective voices are heard on high in a symphony of unity.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Hi Jamie,

    my fourth response:

    Kept Himself

    to himself. Quiet man always in sharp
    waistcoat and tie.

    Shoes keen like mirrors.
    Afraid he will be found out.

    His daughter and her family
    forever tainted by his past,

    his feeble mindedness, his shame.

    His urgent nine year old grandson
    full of The Great Escape, Where Eagles Dare

    Asks “What did you do in the war, Grandad?
    Did you fight the Nazzies?”

    He does not want disappointment
    on this young face so invents:

    “A German Tiger was coming towards me.
    So I digs a hole so it goes over the top.”

    “And what happened next, Grandad?
    “Ask your Nanna. I need to do the Pools.”

    *******

    Nanna says he came to see her
    when she worked in the Birmingham factories.

    In midst of air raids, falling houses and fire.
    “Your Grandad worked on the railways.”

    So his grandson works it out.
    Grandad never fought abroad.

    “You know don’t you?” says his enfeebled Nanna
    to her grandson, “Grandad’s dad?”

    “One of his widowed mother’s lodgers?”
    “Yes,” she says “Grandad was born out of wedlock.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. And my second response:

    Girl, my little pearl

    Girl, my little pearl
    you swirl in golden waters
    when you wear the highest heels
    when you show your slim body
    when you put on that lovely dress
    when you wear that perfect make-up
    when you exhibit those expensive earrings
    when your fingers and toe nails are so carefully painted
    when you completely remove all your hairs
    (except those on your head)
    when your hair is dyed accordingly
    (never forget to dye it when you grow older,
    you should always look younger)

    Girl, my little pearl
    you still want to swirl in goldern waters
    when you exhibit those piercings and tattoos
    though they are not still enough,
    so you will want to have some more, perhaps
    some botox and breast size operations too.

    And girl little pearl says:

    I do not want to wear high heels,
    they’ll ruin my feet and back forever.
    I was not born with a slim body so
    why should I want to have it?

    I do not want to wear that lovely dress,
    it’s terribly uncomfortable, unpractical,
    has no pockets and it’s too cold now,
    so why should I wear it?

    I do not want that make-up made of chemicals affecting my health.

    They always want to sell
    and so they never tell.

    The same with nail polish. I do not want it
    unless I buy these things at the organic shop
    just in case I changed my mind.
    I do not have earholes for earrings.

    Why does almost every girl have them
    to mark their gender as soon as they’re born?

    My mum has those earholes and wore once
    some unexpensive pair of earrings, bad metal,
    and ended up with red skin, red spots and allergy.

    No, I do not want earholes to mark my gender differentiation.
    I want to choose if I want them or not when I grow up.
    As for my hair and its natural color,
    I am perfectly satisfied, well, perhaps
    some streaks to highlight a bit of color
    together with shades of greys and whites.
    I want to look my age, why younger?
    I am getting older and have grey hairs.
    So what? Will I be less of a woman
    if I don’t dye my hair anymore?

    I refuse irreversible things
    like piercings and tattoos.
    Some other women and men
    may like them very much.
    Perhaps they’ve been the luckiest ones
    who had no health problems so far
    after piercings and tattoos
    marked their bodies
    forever.

    I do not want this on my body
    I do not want to be obsessed by esthetics
    I do not want to do something just because
    it’s fashion, everyone does it.
    I do not want to be who I am not
    I want to be myself
    I want to be appreciated for who I am.
    And if somebody wants to love me
    I’ll say, please, look first at my inside
    and then you’ll be able to decide.

    I am no girl, little pearl
    to swirl in golden waters
    I am simply who I want to be
    now you just take me or leave.

    © February 2019 Marta Pombo Sallés

    Link to my blog with this poem: https://momentsbloc.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/girl-my-little-pearl/

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Hi Jamie,

    Here is my first response:

    When Tomorrow Comes

    Optimists say we are not afraid
    but I am.
    And people usually say I am an optimist.
    What’s wrong with me now?
    Why do I feel so much
    Fear, Sadness and Uncertainty?
    Why can’t I get a sufficient dose of
    Calmness, Serenity and Confidence?
    Yet this fear of mine
    does not keep me paralyzed
    for I know we must move on.
    This is a human rights issue,
    a fight for social justice,
    just one more in our world.
    And while some say Dialogue, Dialogue
    some others say what dialogue
    if one of the parts always refuses it?
    We need international mediation.
    Urgently.
    But that part does not want it.
    So what is left to do
    for the Spanish-Catalan eternal conflict?
    Where’s the lesser evil
    after the October First events?
    What do you tell the 1066 injured people?
    What do you tell the man who lost his eyesight
    because of a rubber bullet from the police?
    How do you comfort all those
    who made the vote possible?
    who made everything peacefully and democratically?
    Tomorrow Catalonia’s president will most probably
    declare independence from Spain.

    It will be like you’re in a room
    with some people trying to chase you,
    loaded with guns.
    But you’re peaceful
    and do not have guns
    and see an open window.
    So you need to jump down
    before they arrest you,
    before they kill the rights
    you’ve been long fighting for.
    The lesser evil is throwing yourself
    out of that window.
    Is it a desperate suicide?
    Or is there someone below
    who will come to rescue,
    who will get you in their arms
    before you crash into the ground
    when tomorrow comes?

    © October 2017 Marta Pombo Sallés

    Link to the blog with the poem and a BBC video showing the brutality of the Spanish police forces against the peaceful voters in Catalonia:

    https://momentsbloc.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/when-tomorrow-comes/

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I never heard my grandfather’s voice

    Nathan lost everything in the Great
    Depression. Funny, they called it that.

    Did they mean the economy or was it
    their state of mind? Well, Nathan lost

    it all: his wife left him. Took their two
    daughters and went to wealthy parents

    in California. I’m not sure Nat ever left
    Brooklyn. Moved in with his brother,

    kept a photo on his nightstand:
    two young girls dressed in hand-

    me-down plaids, four scraggly arms
    surrounding a Sycamore tree. He missed

    the bobby socked, saddle shoed feet
    dangling off the fire escape, as they knit

    scarves for soldiers. He even missed
    their complaints about Gregg shorthand

    and boorish boys that taunted them
    at Tilden High. He missed taking them

    for a Nedicks orange drink, or Shatzkin
    knishes, Lundy’s for steamers and chowder.

    Laughter in bumper cars, bellyaches from
    too many hotdogs and fast rides

    on the Wonderwheel. His girls were gone.
    The tumor took his mind. The depression

    devoured the rest. And then his wife
    took the kids.

    Cruelty lasts a lifetime. No one recovered.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. ahh the good ole days – Thanks, Jamie!

    New and Not So Improved

    Now listen people
    wherever you are
    trav’lin’ in trucks and
    SUV cars
    Your footprint is huge
    and so is your track
    the fossils you’re burnin’
    we’ll never get back
    so ease off the pedal
    and give us some slack
    ‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

    All nature around us
    calls out our name
    Pollution abounds
    and we are to blame
    Ozone layers
    welcome us in
    what we’re leavin’ our children
    is really a sin
    so if you give a damn
    then you better begin
    ‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

    Big pharmaceuticals
    expand the pollute
    not just in the body
    but waters to boot
    what did you think
    you flushed down the loo
    those poisoning meds
    along with your poo
    so quit looking around
    before the whole thing is moot
    ‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

    Organic farms where good
    used to grow
    are being replaced
    with big g-m-o
    now salmonella and
    e-co-li, too
    wrapped in the plastic
    then sold to you
    don’t think you’re immune
    your money’s for show
    ‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

    Mother nature is having
    her turn
    Disasters are teaching
    what we need to learn
    drought and flooding
    and fires set to burn
    we waited too late
    it’s all now in ruin
    no longer we mask it
    we’re in hell’s handbasket

    ‘cause the earth it is a warmin’

    Liked by 3 people

  8. For us, the people who lived behind the Iron Curtain, the 60s, began after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Protest (retrospective)
    “Miss Corde was reading Plutarch by night the books then used to be taken seriously”
    Zbigniew Herbert

    (Adam Lux – Meditations)

    Miss (or already, why not, Missis)
    is reading.
    So did she before getting married. The revolution of 1960s All is Love is over.
    She used to sleep in tents. Why not?
    The freedom has to be defended.
    Drums, fires, the screams:
    “Down with! Who doesn’t jump is.”
    Rumble behind the walls. Marat is. Alive? Death? Used to live?
    The time is traveling. The crown’s refined hat.
    The hair short. With all the colors.
    “In a dress like a blue rock.”
    Obelisk? Yes! of passing from
    necessity to
    necessity (for survival).
    Mrs. Corde, is reading. The Game of …
    She’s dreaming. “All is love”.
    The day is the most usual.

    Charlotte?
    She administrated justice.
    The falling stars are glowing.

    ————————————

    Jean-Paul Marat (French: [ʒɑ̃pɔl maʁa]; 24 May 1743 – 13 July 1793) was a French political theorist, physician, and scientist.[1] He was a journalist and politician during the French Revolution.

    He was a vigorous defender of the sans-culottes and seen as a radical voice. He published his views in pamphlets, placards and newspapers. His periodical L’Ami du peuple (Friend of the People) made him an unofficial link with the radical republican Jacobin group that came to power after June 1793.

    Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday, a Girondin sympathizer, while taking a medicinal bath for his debilitating skin condition. Corday was executed four days later for his assassination, on 17 July 1793.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. ..28 every woman..

    it is always there

    in the bathroom,

    ignored, as was the photo.

    yesterday it came to light again,

    every woman’s toilet,

    book.

    edited by mrs robert noble,

    not dated, yet dated.

    are artificial aids justifiable,

    how to have a dimpled wrist

    with excercise,

    means, and massage,

    a moderate diet essential.

    we do not wish a muddy complexion?

    no. nor to wear the years

    away in sad ness and regret.

    we just need an excellent lotion,

    for tired eyes,

    and carry on, rejoicing.

    all that there is.

    plus the photograph.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. ..188 jane austen again…

    to live the life
    of pomade and petticoats.

    no ajustable waist.

    one imagines there will
    be no worry, yet the
    adjectives will prove difficult
    for me,renowned for
    few words.

    daily checking hips
    in slanting mirrors,

    reading of heaven over,
    which is life on earth
    randomly .

    gods throwing dice,
    rules changing constantly.

    i find sadly,
    i am not jane austen.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. ..straw hats & sunshades..

    those of you that read austen,
    and maybe little women,
    know that on summer days,
    with heat, the ladies
    wear their straws, protecting
    gentle necks and complexion.

    sipping drinks . i think that sucking
    may be frowned upon. therefore
    it is not seemly to show
    that drinking aid here.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. fashion show 69

    california: kitchen. future
    Uncle Sonny (né Enoch) grins
    in fire-engine red turtleneck
    and atop it & his chest
    a medallion like a
    half-scale hubcap
    dreaming of being
    a mandala. the legs
    of his hiphugging bellbottoms
    looked like bras for metal detectors.

    my aunt Diane
    surfer girl of tawny hip
    had painted-on capris
    of brushed denim
    and a variant of a peasant blouse
    in loose chiffon
    and midriff exposure.

    i at 14
    still in noisy corduroy
    longed for a Nehru jacket
    but revealed in my Mr. Muscle
    Form-Fitting
    T-shirt
    in a burgundy
    that lasted about
    five washings
    and imparted a blush tint
    to my once-dazzling undies.

    on the tv a girl sang,
    “You’re my kind of guy,
    I love you so,
    Baby, everything about you
    Is go, go, go!
    And with Aqua Velva Lotion
    Our romance began,
    Because there’s Something About
    An Aqua Velva Man!
    Ah, ah, ah, ah…
    Aha AAH, ah,ah,ah,ah…”

    do you think
    i would be gullible enough
    to then desire to be
    An Aqua Velva Man?

    you bet i was.
    so I weep,
    do not answer,
    for those pathetic nowadays boys
    who think there is such a thing
    as “the Axe effect.”

    and i long
    for fifty years ago.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my third response:

    On Trend

    In Bus Station, now renamed, Transport Interchange
    crazies herd, or stud on Friday night,

    past disguised as fresh and new.
    Filly’s Seventies platform throwback

    high heels whipcrack and totter
    past and shoutback,

    “Can’t get enough!”, to the stallions.
    Hormones on an after school

    high josh one another into minor
    crimes their pot bellies

    will chuckle at when they’re pastured.
    Big yellow hi viz “club bouncer”

    jackets tap their ear phones
    and watch the younger

    good spirits rise, ready to corral a stampede.
    A thin bright yellow hi viz jacket

    pushes a blue plastic hygiene cart
    whose white wheels clop on tiles

    recall wooden clogs on sodden cobbles.
    A crazy talks to himself

    as he trots by, his eyes elsewhere
    and then I see the leads

    from the buds in his ears.
    Young stud tucks his blue boxers

    into his jeans waist below
    his haunches, a US prison trend,

    and old fashion now.
    Yoga panted fillies giggle

    at his shorts, as they, too
    will blush at fashions sworn by

    in their galloped youth.
    And older some afford pasture,

    others to the knacker’s yard,
    and clothes no longer second hand,

    or charity but sold as “vintage”.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my second re3sponse:

    A Full Moon Christmas Day,1977

    I, ignorant, molly coddled,
    aged fourteen , outsider to pierced,
    bright red mohicanned,
    black bin bag dressed peers
    on the bus, Christmas Eve.

    Sexy ultraviolet lasses
    in black tights and dockers,
    kohl eyed intelligence
    scares my Burton’s suit.

    Fascinated by safety pinned
    noses, brazen forward face
    of defiance, I wince
    into a corner, my mam’s

    “Acceptable behaviour”,
    “When you have your own
    house you can dress how you like.”
    And my step dad’s knuckle
    marks pulse on my jaw.

    Hard to rebel when cossetted,
    pot pourried, warm duveted,
    hugged and soggily kissed
    by grandparents, all Sunday Bested
    under this long cold full mooned
    Christmas Day.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hi Jamie,

    Here is my first response:

    Candlelit Seventies Without

    a thought switch flicked,
    and if glass globe works light
    and I recall candlelit Seventies
    evening in Winter’s discontent.

    How important during that Winter
    electric light, few hours TV,
    the extra jumpers and ignorant
    thrill of days extraordinary nights.

    Those nights I recalled stood
    underground in Eighties, caplight off
    a darkness lively with ghosts
    as imagination lit by stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Jamie,

    Here is my first response:

    Candlelit Seventies Without

    a thought switch flicked,
    and if glass globe works light
    and I recall candlelit Seventies
    evening in Winter’s discontent.

    How important during that Winter
    electric light, few hours TV,
    the extra jumpers and ignorant
    thrill of days extraordinary nights.

    Those nights I recalled stood
    underground in Eighties, caplight off
    a darkness lively with ghosts
    as imagination lit by stories.

    Liked by 4 people

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