Monday, August 17, 2015

Forty Six Years Back

Forty Six Years
 since Woodstock!

I remember 
the BUZZ that 
THIS was gonna be a 
"gathering of the tribes" 
and a do NOT miss event!

Arriving at the site 
late on Thursday night
 it was too dark to see much. 
We slept on the ground.
But Friday morning w
as a bursting, bustling 
SEA of cars and humanity!

I'd never seen so many people
 in one place,
certainly never 
so many freaks!
(Only Time magazine, news people, 
and the 'out of it' called us hippies)

Bob Segar struck a chord that 
still resonates down 
the corridor of years: 

"Always seem outnumbered, 
don't dare make a stand,
Same old cliches:
 'Is that a woman or a man?"

It took real courage 
to let your freak flag fly.

But this was freak utopia.
The few cops looked surrendered 
and happy and just kept the cars 
safely flowing even as random people 
(like me) hitched rides on hoods and trunks
 along the slow moving line of cars. 
Joints were smoked freely 
under the open sky, even sincerely offered 
to cops who declined smiling. 
Some people were topless, others muddy,
 and/or nude. Everyone looked HAPPY! 

The cops acted like real peace officers.
 Locals told the press: "They're good kids." 
The cops treated us like citizens 
(instead of prey) for once. 
What else could they do, 
but still. 
It was a peaceful metropolis 
under the sky, no fights, no attitude, 
just unbelieving bliss.

The radios in the cars 
reported that the 
New York State Thruway 
was closed!

"We closed the highway, man!"

"Maybe they got us all together 
in one place to bomb us."

It looked like the 
end of the world 
as we knew it 
and it felt fine indeed!

The disorientation and sensory overload 
of being amidst so many folks 
in quasi-disaster conditions 
made me feel high, 
plus we hadn't brought food
 in expectation of buying it. 
But fences were flat, 
services overwhelmed 
and not set up. 
We sucked on those Rizzla English 
flavored cigarette papers 
popular back then.

Campers shared food. 
We got by somehow. 
I still have my ticket because 
no one needed one. 
Free show, Man! 
Free was a big concept then: bartering, 
Whole Earth Catalog self-sufficiency, 

A shop in West Philly at the time 
was called "The Free People's Store" which had 
a " free shelf" to challenge the 
whole idea of consumerism. 

Those folks were interesting 
and later morphed into 
Urban Outfitters, right Richard?

I can still see that 
ocean of people, 
and "feel" that ride 
on the snaking line of cars 
as the cops directed traffic 

I remember meeting people 
from all over the country.

I remember seeing my first
 Hawaii License plate. (Hawaii!)

I remember the music way 
way WAY over the sea of people, 
and the helicoptered bands landing.

I remember me and my friends 
being overwhelmed by the throng 
and leaving on Saturday...
but I never tell that part.....

Thank YOU
for hanging out,

                     Fondly, cloudia