The Berkeley Descants

60's wave

way out

they were hosed
down marble steps
on their rumps,
clubbed and pulled,
and flushed from City Hall,
that ornate civic womb,
to San Francisco streets
on a thirteenth day in May
in 1960

and they were preppies…
in peter pan round collars,
polo shirts with chinos,
dark suits and narrow ties…
and all a little pregnant
with one idea…political
free speech

and they made local news…
and sixty-four were booked,
important number, sixty-four,
and despite their rude arrival
they lived to shout
and whine and cry,
and sing their way out
to revolution

Bonnie Marshall

Art by xmonau

On May 13, 1960, mostly Berkeley students attempted to find seats at a House Sub-Committee on Un-American Activities Hearing. After being denied access, they created a sit-in at the second floor of San Francisco City Hall.

Huck Stoned at People’s Park

Shit. Park don’t belong to me
no more than any else
‘cept maybe God…
not sure of that,
but Country Joe sings true…
tear gas don’t smell like napalm.

Shit. Stuff don’t belong to me
my blanket…tote for stash
says made in Asia…someplace.
What’s mine is yours…
but Country Joe sings true…
tear gas don’t smell like napalm.

Shit. This don’t belong to me
this state I hitched… to
get free love and drugs
and way… out… music…
Heard…cops comin’ in the vans.
Tonight they’re bringin’ horses
and stuff to dig up sod…
and Country Joe sings true…
gimme tear gas to napalm.

Country Joe refers to “Country Joe and the Fish,” especially their Anti Vietnam War “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” that Joe McDonald sang in 1969 at Woodstock . 

Art by M. Zimmerman

Bonnie Marshall

Maze Design

private exit

he searched for self
with incremental care
through incremental years…

he’d filled in Johari windows
with peer counselors at Big Sur…
drank peyote tea
in a tipi with a shaman…
sought nirvana in a sweat lodge
on a high Montana range…
floated sensory deprived
in a tank in Berkeley’s hills…

entered testing mazes
to find the person
he thought he should be…
Kuder Preference – scientist
Myers-Briggs –  I N T J
Enneagram – Type 5 Wing 4,
prescribed his life precisely
with self-fulfilling prophecy

until he found…self
within a labyrinth
with no private exit
from those incremental walls

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Unknown

15 thoughts on “The Berkeley Descants

  1. Bonnie, this ius an amazing piece of work. Each part so different in scope and style yet all part of on cloth. Well done poet. I must re-post this. >K

  2. Wow…those final 4 lines, of the last one. Were you one of the 64, I wonder? This is home turf, I assume …

  3. reading your words one feels them
    listening to them was like watching a painting unfold…stroke by stroke…taking us to that moment in your thought
    as each connected with the other to form the time of that season

    I remember the times well…..
    Wonderful Bonnie…
    Take Care…You Matter…

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