1970 Diary

helicopters in the sky playing “That’ll be the day I die…”

1970

“Let it be” – words of wisdom from The Beatles that spoke to me

I lusted for an “American Woman”

Crossed the Song Bay Bridge under fire listening to

“Bridge over Troubled Waters”

wishing young men back home

would “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”

and know about a grunt’s blues

too many villages on fire

“Somethings Burning” by a ghostly choir

Smoky Saigon opium dens wistfully playing

“House of the Rising Sun”

1970

long range patrols in the night

“Travelin’ Band” playing in the USA

going into hostile territory every day

wondering what’s “Up around the Bend”

living in a hot humid climate

“In the Summertime” that seemed like it would never end

Taking “The Long and Winding Road,” in country

dreaming of “Lookin Out My Back Door” at home

trying not to “Spill the Wine” because I’ve seen

“Fire and Rain” and will never be the same again

***

Evacuating Your Home: What It Feels Like

The cities of Phoenix and Talent, next to Medford, have been burnt to the ground in the historic wildfires that raced through the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon.

When wildfires threatened my home, and my family, we had to flee from our southern Oregon community of Medford. At the same time a new reality dawned upon us; climate change was coming faster than anyone predicted.

It wasn’t that my wife and I didn’t believe in climate change. We just naively thought it was something our grandchildren had to face. The fact that the entire West Coast of America is now on fire has cast cold water on that theory.

There’s more signs across the planet that point to climate change, but we’re dealing with the worst air quality on the planet here in Medford, Oregon, and it’s got my undivided attention.

How we got here is no longer important. The dystopian future of famous fiction writers is reality. I look at the bruised orange sky from my backyard during the day and wonder if I’ll ever see blue skies again.

When my wife and I had to flee our home last week after a Level 3 warning of impending wildfires, it was a first in our forty-six years of marriage. As we raced to an evacuation center at the Jackson County Expo grounds, the fire followed us north in a shower of flaming sparks until we arrived safely at the designated sanctuary near Central Point.

We arrived with our five animals – three cats and two dogs – packed into our Nissan King cab pickup truck alongside family photo boxes, important papers, and food and water for us and the animals, and parked alongside 500 other vehicles containing refugees like ourselves. Most of us stayed in our vehicles because of the fear of COVID-19 inside the Red Cross refugee center.

My wife and I sat up all night. We couldn’t sleep. The thought that our house was burning, like hundreds of others, was a nightmare. When we found out that it was safe to come home we were relieved to find that our our house, and neighborhood, still stood.

I wish that I could properly recount my feelings. All I can say is that it’s a surreal feeling not knowing what happened to your home. You go for a ride on a roller coaster of fears that leave you weak and exhausted… until you find out that everything you owned was not destroyed by the fires engulfing the state you live in.

****

Tidbits of Truth

there is only one truth

in reality

there’s no guarantee

on what you hear or read

is not a partisan screed

facts are often muddied

with lies

that galvanize

people’s bias

until

tidbits of truth

break through

people must make do

with the tried and true

**

Apocalypse Road

Everything was reduced to a survival mode

when mankind walked down Apocalypse Road

the journey was slow but sure

after each world war

until there were no more

and civilization broke down

in every city and town

leaving few humans around

and those that did survive

fought every day to stay alive

until the Apocalypse finally did arrive

no surprise

but

there’s still stars in the sky

and planets and meteorites

that still exist in forever nights

solar systems and galaxies

planets with water and trees

and life evolving mysteries

Strange Days

have you ever had a day when everything seems strange?

like normal routines interrupted with a sudden change?

days when nothing seems right?

days darker than night?

days when you wonder what you’re doing?

days when you feel like people are pursuing?

days when you find nothing going your way?

days when you just don’t get to have your say?

days that seemed like some sort of odd dream?

days when to your horror nothing was as it seems?

then you’re just agreeing

that you’re a human being!

A Deadly Sense of Grace

slithering sideways across the desert sand

the scaly predator rules the land

it’s deadly fangs and sharp eyes

are assurance that it’s victim dies

the snake moves swiftly

and surely

looking for spore

on the desert floor

a sleek desert dancer

with a sense of grace

and place

Stupid Things

You see it all the time

people doing stupid things

like making batches of slime

there’s no end in sight

of people

who aren’t too bright

we live with them every day

shaking our heads in wonder

at their disarray

they’re at home and on the street

doing dumb things

and being indiscreet

it’s not about being bad

we all do dumb things

like following a stupid fad

it’s about the realization

that stupid things happen

in any kind of situation

Dance of the Hypocrites

they go through each day

doing the “Hully Gully

in their hypocritical way

they do the “Twist” with facts

holding reality at bay

hypocrites always dance

to the opposite side of sense

doing the “Hokey Pokey”

and a “Tango” on a fence

they go “Gangnam Style

when caught redhanded

they do the “Moonwalk”

down denier’s aisle

you can easily see

a hypocrite

doing the “Monkey

A “Macarena” line forms

when hypocrites gather

defying norms

They do the “Shimmy”

and the “Shake”

whatever it’ll take

to hide what’s true

recognizing the dances

that they do

is a good warning

for you

Bubble Troubles

we all live in a bubble

seeking verification

on cable TV

because we live in

an insecure society

there’s bubbles for the wealthy

and bubbles for the poor

there’s bubbles for races

and more

someday hopefully

there will not be

all these bubbles

with their troubles

in our country

In a Flash!

when love turns to ash

it sometimes happens

in a flash

meanwhile

the driver in the crash

saw his entire life go by

in a flash

while

his dreams

of a treasure cache

were dashed

in a flash

finally

he left behind a lot of cash

but his wife gambled it away

in a flash!