Ode to Dr. Benjamin Spock

I met you crawling down Whitehall Street, trying to get to the door of the place where they take the young men in to war,

bony old man turned child in a playpen of uniformed legs, cruel blue bars laughingly blocking your tantrum of justice!

Did they finally let you pass, embarrassed before the cameras still blind to your knocked-off glasses, the dust on your ass,

the rip in the knee of your rusty and dignified cutaway, torn like blue jeans in the run and stumble of some game of war?

In the name of my Mother, who tattered the bindings on three of your book's 21,000,000 copies, raising us four!

In the name of yourself, the only lone man to whom history credits a visible share of our strangeness and change,

who with so few loved so clearly our selves and your own, to move in true harmony of spirit and danger!

0 lovely common working example of the old culture's cream dream in liberal flower:

tireless paternal cornucopia of articles in Family Circle, two bits at the supermart checkout stand,

telling still-pretty girls whose only dances were learned from their Kansas mothers not to freak when their children touch themselves lovingly!

popularizer of technical reports on abnormal Roentgen levels in infant cartilage!

patron of clinics, correspondent of Russell, reassuring proud name at the head of each earnest SANE sponsors' list!!

0 Daddy! Daddy! when will you learn?! those men won't even mimic your dear symbols of grace and respect!

0 Teacher Thespian, now you are on the street your children inhabit! you act out the ritual of defiant honor to Law, offer yourself up in ram sacrifice!

Can't you see profane magic has touched the altar and turned the wine: furnace and meatgrinder, acid and hemlock?

Don't drink it! Too late! I love you! Anyway! Because of it! Don't call me to follow you!

0 Daddy, Daddy! your cock grows abundantly, endlessly! they cut it off piece by piece, there is never enough to do the deed! I stand cupping my figsweight in codpiece hand, watching your martyrdom!

0 Daddy, Daddy, living out your grace, can't you see it's too late? your electric example draws no sentient response from Leviathan in whose soft tongue you're floundering, only a swallow!

0 beautiful Daddy can you still learn that to spring a world entire from ourselves not just beauty's the key, but it must survive?

0 Daddy! I cry from my street to your cell, this time they will eat you alive for only a few years, ignoring your radiant warmth in their bowels,

while through your slow newspaper window you'll watch and learn how they'll come to treat your children!!


28 July 1968