Long ago: Lower East Side 1967 and Western Michigan 1971

Two web publications in one month from what may someday be my memoir book … long in progress.

Memoir is a tricky calling at best.All memory is fiction, remade in the moment of the cognitive process, and much fiction the same, with memories reappearing in altered states.  Except when it isn’t and they aren’t.

Does anyone remember Walter Bowe? See my piece, “WAR, 1967,”  in Construction Literary magazine  at   www.constructionlitmag.com

The piece from my earlier post –“A Berth in the Haven” (see below) made me search for Basil’s “Portrait of Carlos.” It’s dated 1970 – done when Paul Blackburn’s son Carlos was this baby, with his father’s curiosity and his mother’s lips. William Carlos Blackburn, if I’m not mistaken. Now a poet himself, published by Ugly Duckling Presse.

Charcoal on paper, 1970, c. Basil King Appeared as the cover for Mulch , v.I, #1, April, 197l

This was reproduced not only as the cover for the first issue of Mulch magazine in the spring of 1971, but Harry Lewis, one of the two other co-editors (Baz, Harry, and David Glotzer were the Mulch Men), had T-shirts made of the cover.

The printing came out blotchy; moreover the directness of the image just wasn’t 1970s taste. Bombed as both money-maker and attention-getter.

And this, our only slide, has yellowed. (The paper is still white, I hope.)

I stlll find it arresting just the same and am very pleased to have the section in Tim Trace Peterson’s EOAGH.

As for “War: 1967” in Construction magazine’s blog, David Plick, the editor, very kindly glossed the text so readers would know who I’m referring to when I say “Cubby” or “Gil” or whatever.  And as for the Second Avenue subway, once again, it is no metaphor.  The streets are full of rubble and the promises go on.      

You can check up with the MTA on the progress. I shan't hold my breath.

More to the point, as Occupy everywhere morphs, we have more promises about what was right and what was very not right with the great protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

And as the guys sang:

…went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”
Sing it to me now…

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need

3 Responses

  1. Martha King

    Go to Construction’s BLOG and scroll down. The text was posted November 23.

  2. tom clark


    Memories are made of this.

    I spent the better part of this difficult autumn (leukemia in the house makes for a difficult season) lurking at three Occupy sites, learning, thinking, hanging around the edges… and then making the long slow walk home alone.

    And I was there, back then, too.

    But this time round — if I see one more “protestor” with a cell phone camera taking pictures of another protestor with a cell phone camera taking pictures of another protestor… well, it’s all so very pseudo-historical… and safe. And easily facebook’d… and now it’s gone in to hide from the bad weather. Revolution Lite?

    The line used to be, The Revolution will not be televised.

    The Revolution this time round will not be facebook’d nor cellphone camera’d. It will have to be unearthed from the underground depths of the doorway sleepers, the urban poor, the great mass of those who have no idea what a hedge fund manager even IS.

    I did a post on the first week of the NY Occupy thing, with a picture of a woman named Zuni Tikka, protesting topless. For three months now, that post has been getting hundreds of hits every day, almost every one of them through Google keyword searches along the lines of: “Hot Occupy babes”, “Zuni Tikka underpants”, & c. The impression seems to have been given that Occupy Girls Are Easy. Sigh, groan.

    The Second Temple was not like the First.

    The infernal depths of the War back then were exposed in late January 1968, with Tet. The weather back here in America was pretty bad. I was what was called a “draft dodger”. The price I paid for being that has affected the rest of my life. In March I happened to be in the Colorado Springs airport, with limbs in a cast, no money in my pocket, and everything of the future in doubt. And all around me, thousands of recently-“mobilized” American kids in soldier suits, deer in the headlights expressions, scared half to death, getting ready to board the military jets to Asia. At that time there was nowhere to hide. Especially not in “technology”. One way or another, everybody had to actually face the music. That was not an optional activity.

    Just can’t take the self-importance of the present efflorescence of self-conscious, recorded-for-posterity, cautious, bets-hedged public demonstration seriously.

  3. Lori

    Send me your yellowed picture.