Woodstock '69

by George Green

George Green


Anne chauffeured us in her dad’s Ford Galaxy,
Linda and Judy and me, each born to be wild
with tickets to an “Aquarian Exposition."
When Ravi Shankar played that night, the teeming horde
grew oddly reverential, because samadhi,

so it seemed back then, is mass induced
by ancient ragas spun out in the rain,
though I stayed mad because Jeff Beck had cancelled.


I dropped an obligatory cap of acid,
not brown, thank God, but Owsley, guaranteed

unspeedy, pure, and easy on the chakras.
After a year on the Barbary Coast (the Haight)
psychedelics weren’t that challenging,
so I sat against a fence surrendering
to Hieronymus Bosch in 3D Cinerama

for five or six eternities, while half a million
melting gargoyles did their unholy boogaloo.
Then came that long, incredible feedback note,
the "Born on the Bayou" note, and I rose to meet
the horde on the crowded plains of ecstasy,

and pastures of transcendence. Then came Janis!!!
I went back to the car to sleep, where Judy told me
that a zonked-out-Linda had been raped in a camper
by three jocks, and I mustn’t tell a soul,
or let on that I knew. The jocks were “straights,”

not “freaks” like us, and Linda was in another tent
or teepee on the ridge, with several “Healers.”


I went out in heavy rain and ducked
under a jeweler’s awning, where tightly crammed
dripped members of the Woodstock Generation.

A girl snuggled against me with a joint,
and, so help me, she looked like a Burne-Jones model,
that is to say exactly like. We were
so squashed together I should have tried to kiss her,
but I was a gentleman, and an idiot.

Ten minutes later she announced her need
to visit the facilities, demanding that
I stay and “save her spot.” You know the rest,
she disappeared forever from my life,
and for 18 hours I searched the farm for her,

Woodstock’s Wandering Aengus on the trail
of King Cophetua’s willowy Beggar-Maid,
staggering on and on through the soggy grass,
only to collapse beside the road,
where I saw the boots-of-many-colors on

Mitch Mitchell’s feet, from whom I bummed a Marlboro,
and chatted with, down to the front of the stage,
where Gypsy Sun and Rainbows were tuning up
for my big moment in the history of the world.
Then it was over but the girls weren’t at

the car, I’d have to search the wikiups on
the ridge, where I found the current issue of Time
in a pile of trash, creased open to the news
that the eight-and-a-half months pregnant Sharon Tate
was slaughtered with some friends out in L. A.

Last updated August 19, 2022