Why all this irrational hullabaloo about a man who’s been as good as dead for the past twenty years or so and who, when he was alive, merely punched men in the head and torso to make a living? During the Vietnam War (1965) I was dis-charged from boot camp because I said that conscription was evil and that the President was evil for ordering it. Saying also, after being asked what my religion was, that I was an atheist (which I think angered higher officers more than anything else). I added that it was a contradiction to draft men while at the same time to be fighting for freedom. I received no praise for voicing, to tight-fisted sergeants and shouting generals, the courage of my convictions. They instead tried to prove that I was mentally disturbed, but failed to do so.
To Cassius Clay. I was aware of his existence, but had I heard that he was to be seen a block away from me I would have felt no desire to follow the crowd to get a view of him.
Now I pause in writing this a baby blackbird comes pecking the ground around my feet. What a sweet and innocent little life—worth seeing.