Image: "Altamont Free Concert", text editing onto a typewriter.

The Altamont Free Concert | By Meg Boyles

The Altamont Free Concert


In 1969, an eighteen-year old black boy was stabbed at Altamont
by one or more of the Hell’s Angels, who were working concert security.


I heard they killed him
because he drew a gun, which he did,
people saw it, but they stabbed him before that.
People also say they killed him
because he was belligerent, high and swaying,
or they killed him because he pushed to the front
of the stage, wanted to see the show close
like walking outside to see snow as it falls, near enough
to be touched, and I think Meredith knew that, they say he loved
the music, and by the way, that was his name, Meredith—
and people also say they killed him
because he yanked away when he was grabbed,
because he ran. On the ground, back to grass,
he said, I wasn’t going to shoot you. I imagine
the space above him, the music other humans made,
unaware, and beside, nothing mattering but his breath.
There’s footage of this, the Angels descending,
the body losing its pulse. People say he was killed
because his skin made a noise louder than the music.



Meg Boyles is an MFA candidate and poetry fellow at Chapman University. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Hendrix College. She has been recognized by The Eudora Welty Foundation for her poetry. Her writing has appeared in several journals, most recently in B O D YApricity Press, and The Cortland Review.



Featured Image: “Altamont Free Concert” provided by Twitter Trends 2019 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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