When younger, I was inspired by literary outlaws such as Kerouac, Kesey, Ginsberg, Corso, Ferlinghetti & Burroughs. I dug the poetics of songwriters like Dylan, Lennon/McCartney, Harrison, Woody Guthrie, Robert Hunter & Johnny Cash. I was moved to poetry by the jazz riffs of T. Monk, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane & Charles Mingus. I took to certain levels of social activism by studying the likes of all of the above, plus Abbie Hoffman & Wavy Gravy, all of whom spoke in one manner or another of the ill-affects that racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia and war have on society. I believe the 1967 Human Be-In was a beautiful event (just dig Allen dancing).
I am finding my poetic zen-tread with the guidance of Gary Snyder, Basho, & Native American culture. I am a Leo, born in the Year of the Monkey. Look at me, and I will smile. Tell me what I can and cannot do, and I will resist. I have yet to grow up.
Lying on his stomach, pink tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth, his little fingers carefully place the plastic, green army men on the sandy slope. One-by-one he moves them into position around the rusted tin can he has buried deep in the side of a mountain he has made in the sandbox. This is a cave. Inside of this cave is the bad guy.
The first men he puts in position are those who are crawling on their bellies. Meticulously placed behind these men crouch a curving line of infantrymen, their rifles raised and carefully aimed at the cave. These guys, thinks the boy, are ready to fire at anything that might stick its head out. At the base of the mountain are four mortar launchers, ready to offer ground support in the event of a heavy exchange of gunfire. And, for air support is a brand new Grumman TBF Avenger, single prop torpedo bomber. A scale-sized replica of the plane his father piloted in WWII, painted with single white stars in a circle of black on each wing, and a star on each side of its olive drab fuselage, a present from his grandfather.
“Sergeant, are your men in position?” asks the boy aloud in his best authoritative voice.
“Roger that, General,” he responds, filling in both roles.
“Get ready Sergeant, we’re gonna smoke ‘em out. Launch the air-strike!” commands the boy.
He then grabs his new plane and emulates a take-off.
The boy flies the plane high into the wide, blue sky, just as his father had. First banking left, then banking right. Finally, he circles around and begins his descent towards the cave. Just as he is about to begin a “rat-a-tat-tat” of machine gun fire, the child hears a voice calling from inside the house.
“Come in dear. Time to do your homework,” his mother’s voice calls.
Then in his defense, the familiar nasally sound of his father saying, “Oh, Barb, let the boy play.”
“George,” the mother says quickly, and rather indignantly. “How will little George Walker ever become president if he doesn’t do his homework?”
“You’re right again, Mother,” says the boy’s too easily defeated father.
“Come on in, Georgie. You can catch the bad guy tomorrow.”
Dropping the plane in mid-flight, the boy obediently obeys, allowing the man in the cave to escape for another day.