This morning Joe Maizlish, my neighbor in Silver Lake, dropped off an envelope of letters I wrote to him while he was in prison for draft resisting in the late sixties. I was in high school and deeply involved in the draft resistance movement. The letters are written on yellow three-hole punch paper with a sepia typewriter ribbon. I quote Levertov and Eliot, Patchen and Whitman and I describe the morning in Watts in 1968 when my high school boyfriend chained himself to the altar and was carried away by federal marshalls for refusing to register for the draft. In these letters is the voice of my younger self, agonizing about the war in Vietnam.
My young self was lucky, in hindsight, to be part of a community organized against the war. In these days with combat operations still active in Afghanistan and Iraq (and now Libya)-- the response is muted and confused. And the wounded soldiers (surviving more heinous trauma than anyone ever used to survive) continue to come home and try to fit in to "ordinary" life where both the dangers of snipers and the comfort of community are rarely encountered Read More