Life Slips By

 

One hot and humid July morning in ‘69
Army green duffle bag in tow
I said goodbye at the Wheeling bus station
to Mom, Dad, and Saint Clairsville, O-hi-o

Two days later
courtesy of a forty-nine-dollar, one-way Greyhound bus ticket
I found myself standing in the scorching Arizona sun, wondering who I am
Didn’t take long for my hair to grow long—
Something like Carlos Santana’s black frizzy ‘fro
For a spell, time stood still—
the desert sunsets and Sabino Canyon stole my heart away

Joe Cocker, Buffalo Springfield, the Beatle’s Abbey Road streamed live
from every open dorm room door at Yavapai Hall
Missed the Doors at Hi Corbett Field, but
I was there inhaling the Canned Heat and more that fall
Life slips by—
just like the stealthful Greyhound did
during my fifty-hour trip from Wheeling to Tucson

People appear and disappear—
just like the Beatles’ lonely people
Tucson, now a memory, lingering
alongside past loves, empty beer bottles, and faded sunsets
Makes me wonder what is next

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Sit-in Roadshow Stops in Tucson

Scorching hot mid-May morning
UA campus, Tucson
Just a week following Kent State
In psychedelic-colored secondhand school buses
faded tie-dyed VW vans
and even a few in slick ‘57 Chevies, they arrived

Pouring into the Park Avenue neighborhood
the unexpected California sit-in roadshow
clogs the western campus entrance
Throngs of half-naked, long-haired people
Some say, 20,000 strong
My guess, at least a couple thousand
beaded, bearded, barefooted, stoned Hippie freaks
descending, like outer space aliens
overpowering campus and city police
National guardsmen arrive, dressed to kill
Even they couldn’t disperse the sit-in
lasting two long timeless days

Joints burning well into the night
That familiar sticky sweet smell hovering
like a thick smoky cloud over campus
Enough for a contact high
just walking through the motley crowd
The dope was one thing, but for me
the music and dancing took the cake
Upon reflection…
maybe even better than Woodstock

Then, without warning
on the morning of the third day
they left, as quickly as they came
Taking nothing, leaving only
thousands of MJ roaches, empty wine bottles
and their handmade Make Love, Not War signs
Next stop? Santa Fe

Return to Campus

university of arizona campus
eyes closed, sitting alone with my memories
soaking up warm december sunshine

mind drifting back 38 years
early college days
filled with fun and adventure
carefree times
chasing women
drinkin’
dancin’ like fools all night long

student then, wild hair like frank zappa
student now, george clooney hair, but much grayer
learning then, mostly about balancing life
learning now, still about balancing life
innocent then, about some things
innocent now, about other things
young then, full of myself
not so young now, still full of myself

it’s the same river, but
all the water has changed

Written by Don Iannone, UA Campus, Tucson, Arizona, December 2006