By the time I got to Woodstock

Leaning dancer, in charcoal, Woodstock drumming circle, Sep 2018, drawing by William EatonIt was an election season

And so the candidates and interest groups had their signs along the roadways

And my taxi driver said more than once that he wasn’t voting –

He didn’t know who to believe.


He was an immigrant, and the other immigrant I met had been in a bad car accident.

Of course this was part of the American experience as it is around the world: car accidents.

She had flown back to her home country to get medical care

Because good medical care is not part of the American experience.


She made me a dinner of cheese bread and mushrooms,

Just like back in the old country, and she told me about her second husband,

The American from a rich family who had become addicted to narcotics and died.

I have read that in one red and blue state opioid prescriptions now equal 68 pills a year for every resident, children included.


I had come to Woodstock to draw the drumming circle, which is one of my favorite things in this country.

It’s a semi-circle, actually, of people who drum, and there are also a few who dance or shout, and the tourists and other passers-by who look on,

In a little triangle of public space with a flagpole.

This past Sunday the flag was at half-mast in recognition of the Americans gunned down at the Tree of Life Synagogue.


It has occurred to me, somewhat naively, that a state – a nation – is breaking down when it is no longer able to protect its citizens from violent attack,

Be this by the enraged or by the police.

And to re-establish rule of law we would have to re-establish a sense of justice, which would include addressing income inequality (and how it affects legal decisions, including jail time),

And we would have to rediscover ways of protecting ourselves from attack from within, be it by drug-peddlers or other swindlers, or by job-seeking slanderers or guns.


— Poem and drawing by William Eaton


Previously, in 2015, Montaigbakhtinian published another, quite different piece, a satire: The American Flag is at Half-Mast Today.

Categories: Poems (including Limericks), The Real World

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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