Sunday, 15 March 2009

1968: A History in Verse

by Edward Sanders

Though the phrases "Trance of Sorrow"
and "Universal Joke"
showed up in my notebooks
by the end of the year
I'd never experienced the mood swings
and depressions
befalling a few of my friends

Phil Ochs in particular
began to experience
a late-century version of Fitzgerald's "Crack-Up"

He pulled together some tunes
in the fall and booked time to record
Rehearsals for Retirement.

It had a horrifying cover
a photo of a tombstone
"Phil Ochs (American)
Born: El Paso, Texas 1940
Died: Chicago, Illinois 1968"

I loved to hear him sing
& wished I'd been in Vancouver
for a concert late in the year
Phil sang his setting of Poe's "Bells"
with Allen Ginsberg
on hand to play the
on the bells.

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