“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, “ (Allen Ginsberg, 1955)

(revised 1/13/19)

In the sixties

we sought a world

where Ginsberg and the Beats

Could live with us, their heirs.

 

For my friends and me

That meant a world where giving

Is more important than getting.

Where equality and harmony

Trump success and self-aggrandizement.

 

Gay rights, women’s rights, Black power.

Free love, communes, peace.

Revolution!

We tried to change the world.

 

Our “best minds,” some say,

Deserve credit for Silicon Valley,

For global finance linking

New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai.

Drawing on the cultural momentum of the 60’s,

They have connected the world.

 

And their thin veneer of concern,

Even their philanthropy

Hides the hard edge of calculated indifference

To the slow, painful death of the poor.

 

You have to credit our “best minds.”

I gladly use their products.

I want more than connection.

I want to go where we can touch.

 

Is this a question of politics

Or poetry

Or both.

 

Some think

Political activism can take you there.

The activist credo

Says to soldier on.

 

My friends know better.

We’re activists

Who have committed

To being human together.

And not just because

It makes us more effective.

 

We’ve laid some tracks.

We’ve elected a Mayor.

We’ve built a program for inner city youth.

We fight to save public housing.

We fight to open party primaries.

We’ve sought development

Through new ways to

Perform our lives.

 

I’m running out of time.

Transformation remains distant.

Poetry is a way to touch.

 

January 2019

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