poetry by STELLA NESANOVICH
The country still in ‘Nam, August 1969.
I’m in New York with a friend, up from Hersey—
the Pennsylvania town famous for chocolate kisses—
a visit with her family, the brother-in-law who kept
a boa constrictor named Snavely fed on pet-store mice.
It seemed cool until he vanished from his cage,
like we were all trying to do then. Later
we found him wrapped around refrigerator coils
for the house was chilly despite the mid-August heat.
Ready to travel, we take an old van with Minnesota plates,
head into the city. On every street taxi drivers give us the finger.
I have a key to a friend’s apartment on East 82nd,
an efficiency five stories up near Fifth Avenue
and the Met. Second day my friend says,
“Let’s go to Woodstock—we’re halfway there,
it would be an easy ride, just up state a bit,”
but by morning, when we plan to leave, rain
and the television shows clogged roads,
a mud bath mecca in grassy fields of acid and rock ‘n’ roll.
So my friend heads back to Hersey and I stay,
walk the Avenue like a native. Days later I fly home
to New Orleans, a city with its own music and history,
and Woodstock becomes a legend, a story to tell
the next generation how when I was young
I almost made it to Woodstock.