Friday, March 31, 2017

The Brightening

The Brightening

In the brightening
before the crooked pinch on the wick,
the good were fragile~
 the best, blind bonfires

 soon scattered to ash

around which we danced
til wind and time,
hate or the authorities
blew them away


to give us  blood and stormlight, 
the blister of wildfires, 
firebombed ruins

 burning jungles and napalmed skin.
Blame us because
we had to burn;
but first


put out


~March 2017

This summer will be the 50 year anniversary of the summer of love, 1967. Photos show what else just happened to be going on back then.

I have used photographic annotations, but also include some textual ones below.

Images of the 1960's courtesy of google, public domain: 
Two young women at a Viet Nam war protest; Robert F. Kennedy shortly after being fatally shot, lying on the pantry floor of the Ambassador Hotel in LA, heard asking, "Is everyone alright?";  Headlines in the NYT, April 4th 1968; Young woman dancing; Young men burning their draft cards; Students at U.C Berkeley demonstrating against Dow Chemical, manufacturer of napalm, used in Viet Nam to burn jungle areas, often resulting in high civilian casualties.

Some results of googling "how baby boomers destroyed everything' 

We can thank baby boomer[s]... for a nation that has no sound policy on foreign affairs, the environment, energy, social welfare, human rights, terrorism, technology development, education, debt, etc.  

The body politic rests on the slab because boomers put it there, because decades of boomerism produced the problems and disaffection of which 2016 was merely the latest expression.  

".. Though these circumstances are new, making the argument that a generation -- particularly boomers -- are to blame for society’s ills is part of a storied tradition, said Jennifer Deal, the senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership..."There are a lot of people who like to blame the baby boomers for stuff and this has been going on for as far as I can tell since the late 60s,” Deal said.

"Dear millennials:I’ve been reading articles about how we baby boomers suck. And how your generation is going to fix everything mine screwed up.If you Google “baby boomers are bad,” you get hundreds of hits, including these: “Baby boomers ruined America.” “ ‘Disgusting, Selfish, Immature’: 10 reasons baby boomers are the worst generation.” “Who destroyed the economy: The case against the baby boomers.” And my favorite, “Boomer scumbag.”
Most of these articles were written by millennials.Their argument, in general, is that boomers are responsible for all of the ills of the past 30 years, including unnecessary wars, political gridlock, economic recession followed by economic stagnation and, finally, that they are responsible for creating the toxic, miasmic ideological swamp out of which crawled the malevolence that is Donald Trump.."

Yeah, right.


  1. This is another great take on the challenge -- the photo record annotating stanzas, followed by the links at the end. "The Brightening" is a perfect -- we're on fire, "blind bondfires," who billowed up when the Powers went to snuff the movement. Those friggen hippies, forever never good for anything ... Whoever stands too close to this is guilty ... Great stuff, Hedge.

  2. I love the idea of the photo annotations. My eye would slide across the screen then back to the words again, quite literally taking everything in. The footnotes are and interesting addition. I cannot believe it is 50 years - half a decade - since the summer of love. A good time to take a reckoning of what has been gained and lost.

  3. Wow... and this come in the wake when I realized that USA is bombing civilians again... I wonder who will take up the protests when US bombs might have killed 200 civilians in Mosul all is quiet... Bring back the love.

  4. I remember the summer of love...sad how the world turned out...
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

  5. How convenient that they are too young and too uneducated in history to know what the world was like before the boomers. Lockstep conformity, censored movies and tv, and God help you if you were black, queer, female, or in anyway not a white male Protestant grinding away at some soul-killing job. What we called "the older generation" came from a mold that said you hid your emotions, did what you were told, and didn't complain. Guess who changed all that? It's so handy, not to say facile and puerile to blame one's elders for the state of the world--goodness knows we did it--but it doesn't hold much water. I love what you have done here with the visual annotations!

  6. Very powerful, Joy. This reminds me of Ezra Pound's "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. Fine commentary on our times.

  7. I LOVE this poem, the more powerful for the visual annotations. I could feel the burning, and the photo of Bobby actually hurts. So many hopes and dreams died with his death. I love seeing young Joe Kennedy, the voice of compassion and hope, speaking out these days.

  8. I was a little old to be a boomer: born, as my mother loved to tell me, just before the start of the Second World War, in 1939 – but all my sympathies were that way and still are. I was marching then, cried for King and Kennedy, and still believe in making love not war. This is brilliant, for me very nostalgic, and makes me sad all over again. But that's all right – so it should. And your poetry is beautiful, and could also stand alone (though I like it enhanced as above).

  9. Hmmm. Shay's points are interesting, too. If not the boomers, then who? Certainly not the 30 year olds. I do agree with her observation about who broke loose the prior constrictions.

    Makes one wander closer to the conspiracy crowd (but not the infowar-mongers crew - they're just stupid) about Rothschild's and cabals of the fabulously wealthy, and how voting doesn't really matter.

    Why they want to poison the world, though - I haven't figured that one out. So much self-hatred, and desire for Ragnarok.

    As others observe, your visual notes are so strong - and apropos, given this culture of pix/1000 words.

    (Saw Neil Gaiman live last night - he read from his new Norse mythology tome - I suspect you would have loved it.) ~

    1. I would have--dying of envy here. I do intend to get the book, though, when it hits paperback. Thanks, M--I too think nothing really has changed since the dawn of time about the human condition and the tribal societies we are genetically programmed to build, except perhaps a lot more of us now to stir the pot, and fewer of us in good, sane tribes. But it's easy for old crones and geezers to say 'Look what the world's coming to!' Unfortunately, as you point out, if nothing changes, probably dust and cockroaches.

  10. Wow! Such a powerful and creative take on the prompt, I never knew we could accomplish picture annotations.. sigh.. inspired!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats