photo by Tom Ponce
N. 17th St. between Wisconsin
blue workshirt bluejeans sandals
Heidegger in the grass
These young men with their
beards and ideas were frightening to see. Dad said, "You
look like an old man." I didn't, but he was right anyway.
My youth had been subverted by the spirit of the age. There was
a world to save. We were at war. Dad said, "Don't be so
serious; why don't you smile?"
I was happening. I was not a
hippie. Not even when I wore the workshirt that Nettie Cullen
had embroidered down the front with flowers. Hippies were over,
took way too many drugs, didn't take the world seriously. I was
not a hippie. I had a high moral purpose.
If you know Milwaukee winters,
you know that when the sun appears in late May no one stays inside.
I was not posing, was not even
conscious of Tom's camera. I was seriously trying to understand
this German philosopher for my course on existentialism., and
not succeeding. I heard the shutter snap and looked up. When
he left I rolled over and let the tepid Wisconsin sun batter
me into a nap. I might have finished the book, but I never understood
it. Got a C in Existentialism.