Written by Timothy Leary while in prison in California in 1970 as an appeal for his freedom to Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. It was published by City Lights of San Francisco about a month after his Sept 1970 prison escape.
Published by permission. An extended version of this text appeared in the Psychedelic Review, No. 11, 1971.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
STATE OF CALIFORNIA,
No. Crim. 14501
MEMORANDUM OF THE APPELLANT
This memorandum is submitted in support of
appellant's application for bail pending appeal of his con-
viction of possession of marijuana in violation of Section
11530 of the Health and Safety Code of the State of Cali-
fornia. The amount of marijuana was alleged to be two haft-
At the present time Timothy Leary is unlawfully
imprisoned, detained, confined, and restrained of his freedom
in the California Men's Colony-West, San Luis Obispo,
California. Appellant has been incarcerated since February
THE UNLAWFUL IMPRISONMENT OF TIMOTHY LEARY AND HIS FAMILY SIGNALS A GRAVE DANGER TO THE SPIRITUAL AND POLITICAL WELFARE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Rosemary and I are American Eagles
Totem animals of this land
Wild Free High Proud
Our children are eaglets
Fierce stubborn wild birds
We are in prison because we are American Eagles
We are not free because we have become symbols of freedom
Laws have been passed against eagles
They have hunted us to the ground
Rashly wickedly and in violation of national law
Because we flew high above the cities the valleys
and mountain peaks
Because we laughed and cried FREEEEEEEDOM!
Because the beat of our wings sang FREEEEEEEDOM!
America cannot pass laws against eagles
Because the eagle is America
Life liberty and the soaring joyous flight
THE EAGLE IS NO LONGER OUR TRIBAL SYMBOL.
TURKEY IS THE NATIONAL BIRD. LOOK AROUND
YOU, FOOLS. THERE ARE NO EAGLES LEFT IN THE
SKY. THE WILD BIRDS HAVE VANISHED.
But all our friends are eagles hawks thrashes larks
We know none but wild birds
ALL THE EAGLES HAVE BEEN SLAIN, WOUNDED,
CAGED, OR. ARE IN HIDING. THE SONG BIRDS WISELY
ARE CONCEALED. TIMOTHY, BE COOL. DON'T FLY
WHERE THEY CAN SEE YOU. DON'T SCREAM FREE-
DOM. THEY HAVE SWORN TO FELL YOU.
Oh, we cannot change
It is the nature of the eagle to float high soar serenely
Living symbol of freedom
If we eagles do not fly high and be free who will?
This is the danger, O Judges
That the wild birds will be forgotten
They will forget that the eagle is our totem
They will forget
It has happened before
We are caged now because we were too free
Remember, America, we were your free-est souls
Your wisest funniest beautiful laughing souls
We never brought you down
Have you forgotten how we flew over your green city parks
and your college lawns?
Celebrating love peace and freedom?
Do you remember the excitement?
How the young thronged eagerly and the curious and even
the domesticated to spread wings and fly with us
and rejoice in the freedom?
Do you remember how you thrilled to. the sound of our wings
and cheered and laughed to be in the presence
of high wild birds and thus regained your wings?
That was before they drove us away with guns
Before the time of guns
THAT WAS YOUR PROBLEM, TIMOTHY. THE YOUNG.
YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED HIDDEN ON YOUR
MOUNTAIN TOPS. YOU CREATED ANARCHY IN THE
HEN COOPS AND CONFUSION IN THE TURKEY RUNS.
THE JUDGE WAS RIGHT. YOU ARE IRRESPONSIBLE
PLEASURE-SEEKERS. ALL THE YOUNG BIRDS START-
ED TO FLY. IT WAS A DISASTER. THEY SMASHED
THEIR WINGS AGAINST THE BARS. YOUNG CHICKENS
BEAT THEIR WINGS AGAINST THE BARS. YOUNG
CHICKENS BEAT THEIR WINGS FUTILELY AND WEPT.
A VERY FEW FELL FROM ROOF TOPS. MANY FLEW
SO FAR THEY NEVER RETURNED TO THE HEN COOPS.
THOUSANDS WERE HURT AND CONFUSED. MILLIONS
WERE LOST TO SOCIETY. THE ORDERLY PROCESS
OF DOMESTICATION WAS DISRUPTED. IT WAS
CRIMINAL IRRESPONSIBILITY TO TELL THE YOUNG
TO BECOME EAGLES.
Oh no, beloved
We never told the young to be eagles
We said Be free
Discover your deep wild nature and be true to it
Do your own thing
BUT YOU MADE FUN OF DOMESTICATED BIRDS.
THE CHICKENS WERE ASHAMED AND THE ANGRY
TURKEYS HAD NO SENSE OF HUMOR.
Yes, we joked at the spectacle of wild creatures pretending
to be domesticated
Telling them it is the nature of the wild bird to laugh
and fly free
AND, TIMOTHY, THAT WAS YOUR MISTAKE. WE
WARNED YOU. THE DAYS OF FREE FLIGHT ARE OVER.
ILLEGAL. WILD BIRDS ARE VANISHING. POULTRY ...
POULTRY ... POULTRY. THE LARKS HAVE DISAP-
PEARED AND THE SWALLOWS. BILLIONS OF CHICKENS
ARE INCUBATED, FATTENED, PREPACKAGED PALE
YELLOW IN SARAN WRAP, OR CROWDED IN METAL
CAGES WHERE THEIR EGGS ROLL DOWN RUNWAYS.
DO YOU KNOW THAT THE 1400 MEN IN YOUR PRISON
DEVOUR 30,000 CHICKENS A YEAR? BIRDS ARE
We are caged because we are free
We are caged because we are all American eagles
Symbols of what may vanish
Free flight high proud
WHAT A WASTE! WITH YOUR ENERGY AND POWER
YOU COULD HAVE BECOME TOP TURKEY. DONE SO
MUCH FOR SOCIETY. YOU SHOULD HAVE FLOWN
AWAY FROM THIS POULTRY LAND WHERE EAGLES
ARE HUNTED. FLOWN TO LANDS WHERE WILD
CREATURES LIVE FREE.
How could we fly away?
We are American eagles soul spirits of this broad land
If we flew away to nest on distant peaks
Who would remind you, beloved?
You would forget that this is the land of the eagle
The proud free brave laughing land
Oh, you forget
We are caged
Because we were free
We sigh, waiting for flight
We weep that we are surrounded by metal
The proud eaglet keeps repeating over and over
Why don't they leave us alone?
Arrested fourteen times for the proud look he could not hide
Wild creatures cannot live caged
Eagles must fly high and cry FREEEEEEEDOM
To the winds at sunrise
Soon you will be freed
Imagine the captive pain of eagles
We cannot fly now
We smash our wings against the bars
Caged, we cannot cry FREEEEEEEDOM for it maddens
We sit in captivity recalling the wondrous history of our species
Stonehenge, Eleusis, along the Ganges
Moving west across the prairies with the buffalo
Exulting in free space and time when swan clouds darkened
the blue sky and songs of wild ones filled the air
We will not forget who we are
We must keep in flight condition
Stretch, tensing our wings
Hearing the wild cry, muted, straining our throats
It is so easy to forget
Captives become domesticated
We salivate at feeding time hearing the clank of metal spoon
on metal tray
And when we are uncaged
That clank of metal will be reflex sign of danger
No we will not forget who we are
Our wild souls still beat
Our muscles strain against the bonds
When tides of ancient energy surge within
We sit trembling in our cages
It is hard for the proud wild to be captive
We will not forget who we are
We pray that you, beloved, do not forget who we are
YOUR SCHOLARLY FRIENDS GRANT THAT IT WAS
RIGHT FOR YOU TO BE EAGLES. BUT NOT TO FLY
FREELY IN PUBLIC. EVEN YOUR PEACOCK FRIENDS
WHO LOVE YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE FOOLISH.
Oh, beloved, we never told you it was easy to be a wild bird
in poultry time
We warned of the dangers
Great God, look up
You don't need a government commission to tell you
that it is dangerous to fly too high or too early
before you have tested your wings
You know that in your bones
Everyone knows where it's at
We warned you that the heights were dizzying
We never told you it was safe to be a wild one
We told you, beloved, that if you flew too far you would
lose your way back to the hen coop
That there were no heated or air conditioned bird cotes
for the wild ones
That you would have to build your own nests high and far
Our slim tipis on the mountain side showed you how.
WE ARE NOT REALLY AGAINST EAGLES. YOU ARE
RARE BIRDS AND WE WISH YOU TO SURVIVE.
Eagles cannot live in captivity
Soon we will die if we are not freed
Do you want us dead?
Don't you know that America cannot live without eagles?
If we die, beloved, you will waste away and die too
"HE HAS PREACHED IT THE LENGTH AND BREADTH
OF THE LAND AND I AM INCLINED TO THE VIEW
THAT HE WOULD POSE A DANGER TO THE COMMU-
NITY IF RELEASED."
Wild creatures of God cannot live in cages
Open the gates of metal
Freedom ... Freedom ... Freedom
Fly high ... Freedom
It is our nature to fly
Fly laughing in the image of God
The time has come
We cannot wait
The issue in this brief is whether the appellant shall be
admitted to bail pending appeal of his conviction. We have
demonstrated that the principles of the First and Eighth
Amendments and the sanctity of our tribal traditions, indeed,
the spiritual survival of our people, require release of souls
who are held captive because of their freedom.
September 12, 1970
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TEXT ©1970 Timothy Leary
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