Kent State, May 4, 1970

It’s all in the point of view.

Suppose you got your
sophored out sophomore
slumped on the sidewalk
in the foreground.
Never made it to the bar.
His buddy’s embarrassed
& his girl’s outraged.
No fun tonight, Hon!

Or, maybe there’s this feminist witch
exercising her anger on
this newly stricken MCP
while the stunned bastard
in bell bottoms looks for reasons.

It could be a pink- faced VC broad
trying to grasp the life
that’s just flown from
your unfavorite dumb son.
And she has no right
to cry out in plain sight,
to be so full of pain.
You have to blame her
for the cluck’s bad luck.

Of course what it was, was these
dirty, rotten, vicious whore kids- –
standing around watching’
the overarmed, undertrained
National Guard about to go wild.
And yeah, fools, some
chunking rocks & slogans & curses.
Full of dope, sex, books, & unAmerican
antiwar ideas coming out of class,
sitting on & smoking grass.
Reminding you!
that something’s wrong
& someone has to do something. So,
it’s their fault that
it’s not their fault.

Then we all find out
there were no snipers
or syphilitic call girl coeds
recruiting for the communists &
that terrified child was just
a teenage runaway.
Barely old enough to bleed
but just the right age
to understand the deed.

And did you ever notice
how that statue
down there in Columbus
of the used car salesman
toting those forged registrations
past the Capitol building,
looks just like Governor Rhodes?


Vietnam Generation Journal, Volume 4, Number 3-4, November 1992

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