Friday, December 16, 2016


I always figured there
was no end to learning,
and there never had to
be. All the other 'stuff'
that happened because
of it  -  position, title,
and all that - only worked
to then stop the process
of continued learning.
Back in the late '60's the
joke was, by parents,
to the effect that, 'Yes,
Roger is still in school
(at 32). We don't really
know why, but maybe
someday he'll get a real
job, and get married.'
It was the consequence
of confusion  -  parents
who didn't really
understand but kept
plugging along with
their big Baby Huey
still in endless grad
courses. At the same
time, with the fierceness
of the Vietnam situation,
sch 'school' was, for many,
just the place to be, and
remain, safely, if one
could do so. After all,
how many PhD's came
home in a box?
At the end of March, '68,
LBJ (President Johnson)
was on the run. He was
bedeviled highly by the
really strong and still
growing Vietnam War
resistance movement.
As it turned out, this
was to be only the start
of it  -  it went on for
years, with Nixon too  -
and he (Johnson), used
to many hardball things
in his Senate years as
majority leader and all,
eventually succumbed.
He just rolled over
and gave up. Back
in those days, he was
on TV something
like every three weeks
with some major
It was all bogus, insider
crap  -  'progress' in
repelling the advance
of the North Vietnamese
'invading' army (not
true), ceasefire
(always broken by
'them'), and long,
whiny pleas for
support. The guy
was out of his element
-  perhaps he'd been
OK in the Senate, or
maybe even in his
Pedernales Mtns.,
Texas environment,
but on the big media
stage he was like a
flat-flapjack  -  supposed
to be 'flat' but not that
flat; supposed to be
'flat' but still have
taste. He had nothing.
He was ugly and coarse
besides. His corkscrew
wife and daughters,
besides being pretty
ugly, added nothing
of good sense to the
cause. While 'we'
were busy bombing
the shit out of
Vietnam and killing
people by the hordes,
Lady Bird (his wife)
was busy with her
campaign to 'Beautify
America's Highways.'
Truly, and I mean truly,
did you ever hear
anything so bizarre?
We can run your ass
through with bombs
and swords and napalm
enough to curl to death
every leaf on every
one of your trees, but
God forbid a highway
billboard or junkyard
clutter up our view at
home. Which doorway
did you say was the
Psycho Ward?
Pitting the likes
of him against
the likes of New
York City did not,
for me, in any way
work. His patchy,
fleshy, face would
(it always appeared
just slightly sad
and slightly
quizzical too;
pleading, needy)
be on the front
pages of all the
newspapers and
magazines (they
still counted for
something, back
then, and the other
things for sale on
the newsstands
along the street  -
unavoidable. TV
was not yet at all
prevalent in bars
and restaurants and
all, as it often is
now  -  multi-screens
blaring at the drinkers
and diners like the
quite obtrusive
wicked-eye' twisting
opinions and attitudes
everywhere, with
no one even paying
it any mind  -  but
where they were,
he too would be
seen. He truly was
old-world, and
represented an older,
way of politics and
Criminal deal-making
too, and mostly at
the expense your
YOUR sons, but no
one called him out
and he was never
caught. It was only
after he was dead
and all those bio-type
books began coming
out about him, that a
lot of this hidden
truth came to light.
Everything, from
women to heft, to
fixed and crooked
elections and
buy-offs of votes
and districts. I
had gotten sick
of the guy like a
big headache, and
when he announced,
at the end of March
in that speech, that
he'd NOT be running
for re-election, would
NOT entertain any
talk of nomination,
and the rest, I did
actually believe him.
He was depleted, shot,
and bleeding from
every pore. The real
world had broken
his yoke, and those
eggs were gone. The
opposing team, as it were,
had him down, in their
end zone, and were just
beating the crap out of
him. He'd not resign, just
preferring to nicely get
up, brush himself off,
admit to being screwed,
and walk away. Even in
NYC, the half-jubilation
was strong, but everyone
knew that the 'problem'
was not him, per se, it
was the issue itself  -
with him gone, a good
part of the message
had obviously gotten
across. Bravo. And then:
But Hubert Humphrey
was a miserable, ad hoc,
say whatever, upper
Midwest politician cut
from the same mold as
Johnson had been, just
in another part of the
same Rooseveltian
nation.  He was a
flibber, who flubbed
and fibbed; couldn't
talk, and presented
nothing. He too had
a garden-variety,
stocking-stuffer wife
named 'Muriel'. If
Humphrey was, let's
say, marijuana, then
Nixon was LSD,
strapped in and laced
with heroin too. A 
whole other universe 
of demons dancing 
in that sick brain.
But, Nixon won and 
that's what we faced. 
The streets went a'blaze 
soon with fire and fury  
-  people screaming,
flinging themselves 
down, placards and 
protests, and all the rest.
Resistance was high.
And stayed that way. 
Nixon just barely 
got out alive too.
By this time, my 
buried mask was 
deep and lost in 
the fury of things. 
I seldom talked back
to anyone. I walk 
the streets, mostly 
in the dark, staying
as close to the buildings 
as I could, thinking it 
made me invisible as 
people passed all 
around me  -  this 
way and that. I had 
had and entertained my
own, solitary, nervous 
breakdown of sorts and 
was just trying to survive, 
or find a way to settle
my soul and walk it 
along. The remainder
of the world around me 
no longer meant a
bloody thing at all. 
I'd lost all my
with it, and I 
considered that 
a true achievement. 

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