I’m not a Dead head. I didn’t even know, when I bought this shirt at the 1993 Gay Rights March (see the last paragraph of this previous T-Shirt post) that the slogan was from a song and the song was sung by the Grateful Dead. If it’s not classical music, as a rule, I don’t listen to it, but oddly enough the two pop performers I ever play in the Sledmobile’s tape deck are Jimmy Buffett and Crosby Stills & Nash, who both covered it. So eventually I had to notice.
Your guess is as good as mine what the lyrics mean; but why is it that baffling, obscure poems are sometimes just the ones that make your throat close with weird longing — like the dreams where some important truth, woven into the random images and happenings, slips away with the last tatters of sleep?
I used the shirt as a seat-back cover in said Sledmobile until it shredded from sun-rot — you only realize in retrospect that something like this has memento value. It gave a righteous sentiment some exposure, and I enjoyed the moments when people tried to collate a straight married female woman with a gay-rights shirt showing two interlinked Mars symbols — I never could resist a little whiff of gender-fuck. Eventually it got folded away in the bin of things we all have that are no longer serviceable but remain part of our history. Two back to back blizzards will lead you to poke into bins like that, to make sure you’re saving things for a good reason.
I hummed the song all day long. I like the way the Coral Reefers do it.