Monday, September 30, 2019

Charles Rammelkamp


I was seventeen,
just starting my last year of high school
when Diane Linkletter jumped
from the sixth-floor kitchen window
of her West Hollywood apartment.

LSD’d been deemed a threat
to the mental health of the younger generation,
the kids who’d later be called Baby Boomers,
a term coined by advertisers in 1974.
Time Magazine called LSD an epidemic,
in “beachside beatnik pads” and college dorms.

Art Linkletter, original variety show host –
People Are Funny, House Party,
later, Kids Say the Darnedest Things,
a stone-cold Republican,
accused Timothy Leary of murder
for advocating psychedelic drugs,
attributing his daughter’s death to a flashback,
though an autopsy found no drugs.

“In the Top 40,” Linkletter claimed,
“half the songs are secret messages
to the teen world to drop out and turn on.”

I listened to the radio religiously –
Beatles, Stones, Motown, Doors –
but never got a secret signal:
nothing like the sinister vision
of brainwashed Manchurian candidates
receiving secret signals,
promoted by Allen Dulles and the CIA.

Charles reads "Secret Messages":

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Charles confesses: "I used to chuckle at the hysteria on the radio about the 'secret messages' in rock songs, which were often banned from the air on the rumors. 'The smokerings of my mind' in Dylan’s 'Mr. Tambourine Man'? Marijuana! Ban in from the radio! 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds?' LSD! Don’t play that Beatles song, you’ll corrupt our youth! 'Get Off of My Cloud'? Those guys – the Rolling Stones – are smoking dope! 'Electrical banana’s gonna be the very next phase...' Thank you, Donovan!"

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, was recently published by FutureCycle Press. An e-chapbook has also recently been published online Time Is on My Side (yes it is). Another chapbook, Mortal Coil, is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing.


charriss said...

Love the poem lived the content!

charriss said...

Btw I puffed the dragon dragon