Beach Store Battles
You know before you go in that it will smell of incense,
that Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead will be playing,
that the clothes will remind you of your youth,
tie died and bright, full of revolution and color.
You know, before you go it, the place will be a mess,
the seventies gone, if not wrong, at least a little berserk,
full of boys and girls as young as you once were,
claiming a time that is old enough to romanticised.
And yet, here we are again, on the streets,
with the same mix of joy and anger at the same injustice
my own grey generation cried out against,
in their color and courage and youth.
You resist it. You are not one for romanticizing the past.
Those rose-colored glasses have not served you well.
Much of the color of that time is gone,
and the anger at a fifty-year-old battle still being fought
You resist the storefront for a time, preferring not to remember
how long the battle, how subtle it had become
and how overt is has had to become again. You resist,
but in the end, you enter. You always enter.
Perhaps you need the reminder.
Perhaps you need to be reminded of the color.
Perhaps you need armor for your old body
to fight old battles.
Whatever the reason, you go in,
and you come out, brighter.
About this poem
A poem about aging, social justice, racism, and the need to stand up.
There’s a lot of stuff going on in my head these days. You never know what is going to show up here.
The picture was taken in Provincetown, MA. It really does remind me of head shops and such places of my youth.