I used to think it would be really nice
if I was old and could remember things
that happened fifty, sixty years ago
that other people only read about
in books. When I was young the Civil War
was still a living memory for some,
and they had spoken with the men who fought
at Valley Forge when they were little kids.
But memories and histories are not
the same. The sixties were not all about
free love and peace and dope and freedom man;
at least it wasn’t in the world I knew.
Instead the times were working nine to five
and worrying about the future, school,
and if the job would get me anywhere.
A love-in in the park on Saturday?
And hippies? I was stuck at work or school.
And psychedelic lights? Yah groovy man.
I had a friend whose friend had seen them once,
at least he claimed he’d seem them, but he claimed
he’d been abducted, and he’d been to Mars.
But memories are private histories
and not the public history of books,
and sharing them is meaningless, a waste
of time when everyone who wasn’t there
are certain that the memories are wrong
and just senile babblings of a fool.