With a Little Help From My Friends by
(303 Stories)

Prompted By Altered States

Loading Share Buttons...

/ Stories

Summer 1967

It’s the Summer of Love in San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

Meanwhile, across the country,
A high school girl, not quite sixteen,
End-of-summer birthday,
Tall and thin, with curly hair she irons straight,
And glasses which she seldom wears
Feels too old to go to camp,
Off to a summer program at Syracuse U.

Amy, her sophisticated roommate,
Who lives in a brownstone on the Upper East Side,
Designer clothes and savoir faire,
Already knows all about drugs and sex.
Later in New York the two of them will see
Hair:The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,
a celebration of drugs and sex.

Syracuse physics class, full of college students
there because they flunked the course the first time.
She meets a gorgeous college boy named Murray,
just turned 20, who drives a gold Camaro.
She is smitten. Amy, what do you think?
She and Amy go to his party, everybody must get stoned.
He knows she is too young.

Such amazing music that summer.
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Never tire of listening over and over again.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
I get high with a little help from my friends.

Hey Carrie Anne, what’s your game now, can anybody play?
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
She hears Vanilla Fudge doing You Keep Me Hangin’ On,
thinks it is the Supremes but it is s-o-o-o  s-l-o-w.
Wow, this must be really good shit!

Want to inhale some freon?
Great high, only lasts a minute or two.
Sure, why not, sounds like fun.
Turns out that kids died from inhaling freon, lungs frozen.
Thankful that her lungs are okay.
Let’s stick to grass, forget about the freon.

In the coming years there will be hash, mescaline, LSD,
So many things to try!
Lots of good times and lots of good drugs.
But it all started with Syracuse, and Amy,
and Murray with the gold Camaro.

Profile photo of Suzy Suzy

Characterizations: been there, moving, right on!, well written


  1. John Zussman says:

    I love the way this poem portrays, mostly by suggestion rather than explicit description, how you were drawn gently but inexorably into a new world of adulthood, sex, and drugs. Wonderful use of song lyrics, as usual!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Brilliant use of song lyrics to weave your tale of experimentation and summer (of) love.. It WAS a summer of great, diverse music, which you so expertly point out. A tale wonderfully told.

  3. An intriguing departure from a straight-ahead narrative! Your impressionistic assembly of lyric snatches and impressions captures the feel of the times, non-linear, the medium is the message. Very nicely lined out, might make a great rap tune or — truer to the times — a talking blues. Love your reprise of Murray and the gold Camaro!

    Also, your pic (possibly chronologically accurate), reflects in my humble opinion, the kind of worldly anger that so many of us experienced as our perceptions caught up with worldly injustice. In a way, your portrait becomes an extension of your story. Nice!

    • Suzy says:

      I started writing about my drug experiences as straight-ahead narrative, and was boring myself to death, so I decided to try this approach instead. I think it captures the way I felt. The picture is from Nov. or Dec. ’67, so it is chronologically accurate except that I’m wearing a wool dress instead of a sundress. Not sure about the anger you see, but it IS one of the only non-smiling pictures that I have.

  4. John Shutkin says:

    Terrific! I also very much liked how the story moved the narrative forward, but did it poetically (literally) and weaving in the lyrics of the time. As I think about it, how could such a story be told well without bringing 60’s (i.e., “our”) music into it? And yes; I definitely see a talking blues potential here.

Leave a Reply