A Brief History of the Sixties

We had Dylan and the Beatles, Desolation Row,
the heart-attack machine, Nowhere Man and A Day
in the Life. We knew who they sang about—
the same fools Zappa lampooned on Suzy
Cream Cheese. We snickered when a drunken
voice pleaded, Play one more for my baby
and one more for the road amid ice cubes clanking
in cocktail glasses and insistent cash-register
rings. Oh yes, we knew who those jokers were—
the same mindless movers and shakers who brought
us Vietnam, plastics, and the atomic bomb, the
so-called “greatest generation.” Dressed in sandals,
tie-dye shirts, the requisite flowers in our hair,
we dropped out, tuned in, smoked weed, took
hallucinogens. We knew that all we needed was
love and that Strawberry Fields would last forever.

We didn’t know that while we were planning
a floral revolution, religious fanatics were plotting
to turn our country into a church. Now abortion is illegal,
embryos are children, eggs are chickens, AK-47s can
be had at the local gun shop, and shooters’ second
amendment rights are protected more than the school
children they periodically mow down. An orange goon
is running for dictator, claims that God sent him on his
mission, and a few million of his followers want to kill
Democracy along with their political opponents. While
we bellbottomed Aquarians sat around flagpoles and
tried to levitate the Pentagon, Pentecostals and Evangelicals
far outpaced our peace movement. We didn’t ask, What’s
that sound, didn’t look around, never found the answer
to what was blowin’ in the wind.

Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His sixth full-length poetry collection is Miracles That Keep Me Going (WordTech Editions, 2023). His poetry has been nominated three times for the Best of Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, Salamander Ink Magazine, and elsewhere. Read other articles by Charlie.