We had a rendezvous with the end of an age
– Saint-John Perse, Vents, 1945
John F. Kennedy is President of the United States.
The Cuban Missile Crisis just ended.
(not to be confused with the Zamyatin novel of the same name)
Next year, the Beatles will release 'Please please me'.
Tom & Jerry will change their name to Simon & Garfunkel.
The President of the United States will be assassinated.
Another will take his place.
Life goes on.
playful words transmogrified into bloodless justification,
will begin to assert uncompromising control
over the lives
of every minimally healthy and insufficiently wealthy young American male over the age of 18
and those who love them.
'Things were turned upside down. There were terrifying things in the air.
They found their way into Black Angels.'
said George Crumb retrospectively
But for now
the threat of mutually agreed upon total planetary annihilation has been postponed
at least until next Sunday.
The massacree at Alice's Restaurant hasn't happened yet.
'Selma' is still just an old-fashioned girl's name.
Things are as they should be.
At a junior college in Palm Beach, William L. 'Rusty' Calley Jr. is flunking out with one C, two D's and four F's. He is destined to become a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Be all you can be.
Chubby Checker is king
and, to be honest, Elvis is starting to look a little silly.
The beloved, safely populist Aaron Copland has just anointed the recently completed Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center with his new work, the dodecaphonic Connotations. All over America former students of Nadia Boulanger suffered a collective apoplexy.
We're reading Catch-22 and Black Like Me, empathizing, arguing, justifying, contextualizing and freely personalizing them without the benefit or hindrance of our own experience – and without the help of either a Cliff's Notes or an Essential Jacques Derrida.
We're all doing the twist and drinking 3.2 beer.
On the verge
life is good.
If you don't think about it too hard.
After all, it's 1962.
What could go wrong?