POETRY: CATHERINE WOLF – WHEN IT WAS 1963

When It Was 1963

It was 1963. Ancient history to most of you; I was 16.

JFK was our hero, not the airport, the president.

In 1963 I married Dick Van Dyke and John Kennedy.

Wore the Big Dipper on my head.

Teased my hair into a Mary Tyler Moore flip.

Took a picture with my cell phone and sent it to John Lennon.

 

JFK was assassinated in my gym class.

I took the yellow school bus home and watched and

watched him get shot by Lee Harvey Oswald

on my rabbit-eared TV.

Dear TV,

How could

you let

our handsome

president

get shot?

 

I DVR’d November 22 in Dallas.

It was 1963 for a century.

I saw Jack Ruby kill Oswald with my ruby gun

seventeen times.

I twisted the night away in my tie-dyed flannel night gown. .

 

In 1963 I had a dream about Martin Luther King, Jr.

I liberated Montgomery, Alabama from organic produce.

That was the year of circle pin handcuffs, LSD,

moody blue curfews, flaming Cliff notes.

 

I danced on the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC, while

listening to the Beatles on my iPod.

I held Ringo’s hand and

wanted to hold your hand.

 

Saw Lyndon Johnson get sworn in as our

36th president in Air Force One,

or was it the Texas school book depository?

 

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up,“

I wrote in my term paper.

Hooked my veins to the percolator and wrote for two days.

 

Dear TV,

Why did you

kill

four little girls

in Sunday school

in Birmingham?

 

I flipped between ABC NBC CBS  and CNN,

but the news was all the same.

I ate the TV rabbit ears between two Oreos.

 

Surfed the USA with the Beach Boys.

I was the little surfer girl.

By texting,

I dumped my boyfriend for Brian Wilson.

 

In 1963 we camped at the Newport Folk Festival to see

Bobby Dylan blowing in the wind.

I took a pill that made me taller than the Empire State Building.

You could hear me singing halfway round the world.

 

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