1960


It was 1960, and America was waking up,
But not to morning sunshine and Mrs. Olson,
Not to Ike and bobby-socks,
No, this was a different sort of morning,
Elvis had been pounding on the front door for four years,
And now they would let him in – he seemed somehow safe
Compared to what was scratching at the backdoor,
What was nibbling at the screens of their consciousness.
 
JFK and Dick the Dark were there on this new day,
So were Castro and Marilyn Monroe,
Smokey was playing bars in Detroit and the KKK
Were smokin’ churches in the Florida panhandle.
Many hands were held out on this morning,
All waiting to be shook – shook hard – shook to the bone,
Shook on a new day, shook on the possibility of tomorrow,
Shook because that’s what they’d always done.
 
It was good morning America, wake up and smell your future,
But it didn’t smell like mom’s pancakes and coffee,
It didn’t smell like the baseball mitt under your pillow,
It didn’t smell like clean clothes or puppy breath or
Indian summer or burning leaves,
It didn’t even smell like your grandmother.
It smelled, it smelled…disposable,
It smelled like the bomb.
 
And while America sat gagging down this cup of new coffee,
And sitting at the kitchen table with Elvis,
And thinking about the moon and Hollywood,
And the omnipresent Red cloud of threat.
While they were gagging down this cup of new coffee,
Pretending to think of the World Series, or fishing, or November 2nd,
Pretending not to hear the scratching at the backdoor,
I was born.