image borrowed from bing
Timothy Leary is Dead
“Think for yourselves, & always question authority.”
It was 1968,
San Diego, CA. I was in the Navy, struggling
to keep myself from being shipped
to Viet Nam.
Timothy Francis Leary was
coming to town; a one night “Lecture Performance”
at a local theater. I felt that I had go to see him,
this man that a few months later
President Nixon would call, The most dangerous man in America.
a Harvard Psychologist & Professor,
used hallucinogenic drugs
like Lycergic Acid Diethylamide,
claiming that they all had therapeutic potentials
for incredible breakthroughs in Psychiatry.
“Turn on, tune in, & drop out.”
were the tagline on the posters downtown.
Leary, I thought could walk the walk,
having spent time behind bars in 29 different jails
as testament to his principles.
I had done my research on non-drug induced
states of consciousness; meditation,
that to have a psychedelic experience, one needed
to understand that it was not the drug
that produced the transcendent event--
it merely was the key
that unlocked & opened the mind; freeing
the central nervous system
of its ordinary patterns.
Sure, when I arrived at the Theater,
I was offered those LSD sugar cubes,
the dried magic mushrooms
& the green chunks of peyote--
but I passed on all of them.
The place was packed, & the overwhelming
stench of unwashed hippy bodies
& marijuana smoke nearly choked me, spiced up
by two Buddhist monks in yellow robes
swinging their incense burners, while
three sitar players set the mood.
Leary entered to cheers,
walked regally to center stage
all dressed in Nehru-white,
and plopped down into the Lotus position,
which he maintained for two hours.
Ram Dass sat on his right, while
Allen Ginsberg sat on his left.
Between musical interludes, he spoke wonderfully
about metaphysical postulates,
Fascist politics & Life. When at last he stood up,
I leaped to my feet,
fascinated, intrigued, entranced,
ready to go AWOL,
ready to drop out,
ready to become a disciple.
But he turned & strolled off stage with his entourage
not noticing me or my enthusiasm,
my voice lost
in the middle of that great stoned throbbing throng.
He walked off stage into
the welcoming arms
of the the San Diego PD--
& I had to reconstruct & reconfigure
my soaring synapsis’ before
returning to NAS Miramar.
Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics
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