I wrote this poem after attending a summer camp for Young Religious Unitarian Universalists in 1992 (age 16). It was an eventful week, because there were a few kids intent on breaking the rules. They kept at it until they got kicked out, after an epic 5am meeting called by my youth director, Bill Gupton. Bill was equally adamant that he would not be the one to kick them out; the group had to agree to enforce the rules... we just couldn't end the meeting until that happened!
This poem is important to me also because after it was published in Synapse (minus the final line!) Leela Rajani Sinha wrote to me through the magazine to tell me she liked it, and that began a friendship that has lasted for 30 years.
The world should have seen us we had love without sex we had mind-expansion without drugs we had peace without weapons we had justice without bureaucracy. Bill had to lay down the law. We all had to lay down the law. Out of 75 we lost 14 to burglary, butts, Bible burning, and beer amputate the limb or the whole body dies in severing it, we loved it all the more. They were crimes only because we loved both the criminals and victims. We gave the sentence because we loved the guilty. We accepted the sentence because we loved the innocent. The world should have been watching but it was only there in six-foot effigy part of Group Camp just as Group Camp was part of the world. The world is just like Group Camp only there are more than three rules only more people break the rules only no one cares enough to get up for meetings at 5 a.m. If we can show the world that teenagers can behave If we can show that community can work without sex drugs weapons bureaucracy The world will see us.