Summer of 1968
Island Park Idaho
Summer solstice, the smell of libidinous pine cleft my nose. Summer Solstice, Indian Spring, Mid-Summer’s Night; call it what you will it was the blood of life. The air was the redolence of lascivious immoderation. The forest is an amorously wild paramour of sensual Elysium Epiphany. The people were in the vaporous misty capsule of an atmosphere of wanton salaciousness. It was they day and everyone was meeting in the woods just for the hell of it. Hippies, druggies and anyone wanting to get stoned or layed from all over the west joined in a Love In, in Idaho’s Lodge Pole sanctuary in the elysian dawn-tinted garden of sensorial rapture. We were all to meet for a week of unattached irresponsibility of flaring assertion of canaille escape and rousing nuclear corporeal surrender to an acme clamorous discharge of seditious extravagance.
The week before I was working at Ross Park Zoo. This is where I had been working sense I got out of Prison. It was June and I had been working there not quite three months, and worried about become rigid if I stayed any longer. I was a young man when I started, and two months later too much time had past to still be young. Only a fool would work so long in one spot. Estrangement was my name, everyday was like a level plain, spread out in every direction the same as every day before. My youth now spent for staying so long, I would be determined not die and old man in a place like that. It was clear to in another week I would be too old to take pleasure from the life still left me as my days slipped away. I had been 21 for four months and age froze in my soul. I would make the Island Park Summer Solstice, but I would first quit this dead end job to experience America first hand, yet again. My bosses were illiberal and impotent. Only Mary Jane and LSD made this old guard thralldom endurable. Flooding the railroad yards, forgetting to confine the bison were my calling cards. I in reality don’t think free roaming Bison in town actually bothered the citizens that much, if it did why did it keep happening. Anyhow, quitting was in the air.
After my last day, my friends picked me up and we were of to Island Park. Red Mountain Wine, the “Cream”, that killer stuff laced with God knows what we drove in a climax of contentment. Life was a righteous but great and luxuriant gentleness of a shameless bareness of erotic quixotic intemperance. When we arrived, with all the secondary pilgrimages, it was already dark. We slept in the open. Peyote tea, Red Mountain Wine (the champagne of rot gut), laced refer was all that was need to dream melodiously in the chilled mountain air.
Upon awaken deliverance into the frigid Idaho daybreak, our nostrils stung from the smoldering acrid smudge of the enlivened fire, hot coffee and ”blue cheer”. As the rocks along the path began to dance in color trails, the beckoning honk of Georgia’s command came waffling through the timberlands. Georgia requests, I accept the turning point of my biography. At her camp were older hippie types, beats, bohemians, iconoclasts, nonconformists, and freethinkers. They too where in the necessity of having their material existence under the power of anodyne ethereal occurrence. They had just began to roast a pig over a spit, when we captured by desire. The fragrance of loquacious cooking pork flesh, was so paradisiacal that we could wait no longer. We all jump into the fire and began to consume the raw flesh. Our hands burning from holding the hot flesh, our feet on fire and eyes burning it was the best pork I have ever eaten before or since.
We spent the next few days making music in the nude, racing along river banks and horrifying the onlookers. When it was apparent that we were heading for a major problem with the law, it was time to break up this fervid extravagance for this year. I could not go back to my hometown at this point, because I had no job.
I hitched to San Diego. I made in four rides and three days, not bad for 1968. I had hoped to find Georgia there, as her husband was still off to the war. She was with Marsha her other lover, so I was on my own. Sometime I abhorred that woman, byronic circumscribed love affair, or any kind, with a woman was all to unusual. I will go with his where ever it takes me.
Tim Coffman who lived in San Diego at the time was a friend I met the year before hitching around the country. He told me look him up if I was ever in town. That is what I did. However, on the Coffman, home front things were not the connubiality rapture any individual fellow traveler would envision. Tim played electric jazz guitar, same old story have guitar will travel. He never planned on it things just happened. Suzie wasn’t buying any of it. He asked me to stay with him a few days, more for protection than glad to see ya. No matter how he explained how women just keep throwing them selves at him it is hard for a decent citizen to deal with, he would not feel better. Poor Tim had to explain to his wife that it was not his fault. Now she just could not understand. Now he had to explain how if she did the same thing it wouldn’t be the same, because it would be pay backs and that is just mean. Even at the time I had trouble understanding this man stuff. I guess that is why I was never very good at it.
Tim and his band had gotten a gig up in Marin County. Tim asked if I wanted to go with him. Having nowhere else to go and not wanting to hang around in the South Land any more I said yes. Tim asked me to carry an extra guitar, he wanted to hitch north and two men carrying guitars would help a lot in getting rides. This was nothing even close to being an exaggeration, if anything it was an understatement. I don’t think we ever stuck out our thumbs as much as 10 minutes before we got a ride. Always women, and also two women. Two men with their guitars, and two women alone some inexplicable sorcery I assume. That evening we arrived in San Luis Obispo. Again two women alone Tim and I were invited to spend the evening with them. Tim played I listened. “Michael why don’t you play something?” ... “I’m not up for it right now.”
Between Red Mountain Wine, dope, and reds I wasn’t really interested in the classic beauty next to me. By the next morning I wasn’t pleasantly acknowledged by our fellow travelers, and Tim had to get going if he was to make his concert. Both women were intensely antagonistic towards me, until Tim told them I was gay and then they couldn’t have been sweeter. They even bought me breakfast to say they were sorry.
By the time we reached Big Sur, it started to rain. I kept busy after they dropped us off by the road. While standing by the coast highway I made up stories to define myself. I could not help but wonder if this would lead to realizing my quest of becoming a working class hero living the revolutionary dream of discovering the dignify of the movement of the radical significance of changing the entire core of America. This would be a revolution free from guilt with integrity and courage. For me personally I wanted to come together intimately the only true god named “Insurrection”. As I stood by the side the highway, the smell of firs, and redwoods, wind, rain and the sound of the waves against sheer rock cliffs. I was becoming Redder by the second, I was immortal and fir flowed through my veins. Things could not possibly improve then we got our next ride. I was a go ride two beautiful women, wonderful sounds, Red Mountain Wine, righteous Mary Jane, and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. This ride took us all the way to Marin County and the concert.
Setting up was a lot of work, but we all worked assiduously, even the two who gave us the ride. May had attached her self to me at Sur. She never said two to except to tell me her name. She was one the two who had given us a ride. Tim to his credit had told his companion he was married, she didn’t mind but he did. Suzie would have been proud. After we had set up May and I set off on our own. May and I walked through the woods holding, kissing every chance could, carrying a gallon of Red Mountain, with sillisibin in sharing it with any all comrades we found in the wealded glen. We heard the music start, so we went back to the concert. May and my self got to set right next to the stage. After the music started, I discovered Georgia setting next to me. She whispered her husband had returned to the wars, and she had sometime on her hands. I could never figure out how she could find me whenever she wanted, to you would think America a big damn place. I guess I must have forgot to break up with her. anyway after the second set or so Georgia and myself left together. She simply called and I dutifully followed. As I turned to look at May, she seemed to be all right with all this, she was holding hands and kissing a soldier on leave to this day I am not sure she noticed or realized it was some one different. Anyhow she was all right. I was all right. God in heaven was all right, and nothing goes the way you expect.
After the concert I followed Georgia to San Francisco she had gotten her a small place by the little park off of Deloris Mission. In San Francisco our days were spent in a daydream of rhythm without direction. The streets moved and so did we. The mystery of Georgia was that she never seemed to need for anything, but never did anything to maintain a vocation lacking notable struggle. She slept until early afternoon, I woke early morning, and I snuck back for breakfast when everyone else was having lunch. One day in the morning I was setting on bench where the panhandle meets Golden Gate, when two near do wells came my way, robbing everyone in sight. I was sitting next to a friend I had just made, and discussing the moral failures of capitalism. He was so proud of his new motor cycle boots. These young criminals came our way when they pulled a silver plated 38 police special and demanded his boots. The boots were to small for either one of them. One of the young men tried to wear them any way. He couldn’t even get his feet in them, he was walking on his tip toes looking like a fool. I couldn’t help myself I began to yell they were both total idiots and they made me ashamed to be a human being. I was told to shut up, or I would be shot point blank in the face, as one of the young men put the gun next to my left eye, all I remember is I started yelling even loader, and he was yelling that he was serious. Then when I regained control, I was informed I was now being robbed. I told both of them all I had was torn worn out tennis shoes the smelled, and empty wallet with only an expired drivers license. One of the men gave me two dollars, and the other one said the next time he saw me he was going to kill me. I heard them say as they walk out of sight that I was truly crazy.
Marsha was in town, again I was my own. I could never understand myself why I put up with this, but put up with it I did and “Voluntarily”. One time I asked why most people fight a lifetime to find just one love and always come up short, she could have three and not really care. She told me sometimes you need a man, sometimes you need a woman, and sometime you need a boy to recover your youth. She never truly loved her husband they had too little in common. Her relationship with him was lascivious, somatic and erogenous like two wild animals in heat. Marsha and her was lock in the depths of an erotic sisterhood no man could ever progress from exceeding joy to descending tenderness or encounter. I was a spiritual poet that parts of her forgotten youth, she was 15 years my senior. I was a mythic dream of her forgotten subconscious soul. My feeling at the time was fuck this silly spiritual poet horseshit I wanted to be a wild animal in heat.
The latest buzz on the radio, free weed in the park. Local bands putting on a free jam. Local chemists free LSD. Diggers would kill a prized stud stallion, free ribs and stew. The placed was packet, old timers in the central of the circle rolling numbers as fast as they can. Everyone was packing Red Mountain laced with the lady, the best Lucy in a year.
The bands were each was to command into this world a completeness of plenitude on each unique addition to a totality of a ceremonial festival of bodily elegance that reproduce instantaneously the esthetic soul of eroticism. The sun burnt the insides of my eyelids as sounds, smells and motion of an uninterrupted contact with primordial bowels of the earth. I was consummated by the intense orgasm of eternity. I was loosened from the natural gentle magnificent earth to experience directly the face of god all with out having to take off my clothes. I was able to bring forward from the side of the knoll where we lay, then melted into the earth.
When I was awakened, from this imperishable new jerusalem, it was Marsha. She was mad and the reason, Georgia’s husband was in town. We decided to spend the weekend together. She had a place in Berkeley and I could pick up some spare cash doing yard work in a monastery near the University.
Berkeley was where the best imitation of life could be found. Berkeley the imitation of insurrection, anarchy, revolution, art, all met. Berkeley was were there was the sympathetic animated lustrous agitators and embellished salacious following of a life for the dispossessed street people and of course a radical commodious elite.
The weekend was silient, but by Monday the trajectory of the extensive life fractured to pieces and supported by the glare of certainty of triumph and transmogrification of cultural transcendence. Every fiber cell and molicule of America would be melted, burned, and crushed before the radical new democracy. The campus was patroled by armed gaurds, every door on every major building. Summer students may not be as seditious as during the rest of the year. Rebellion in highly contagious fervor blisters the soul. Uprisings were blowing in the summer wind, till the blood burns with a molten tornado overwhelming the listless coagulated tastelessly palatable milieu of senselessness of the “American Celebration” and bursting the glacial infertility of a return to the Pleistocene of patriotism, and Paleolithic chauvinism of the Dark Ages of the Cold War into a forest fire of passion.
Telegraph was boiling in an open confrontation with the police and street people. The people would run from the charging cops, only to regroup and attack their rear. Stones and garbage against tear gas and clubs. As the tear gas was shot and filled the streets people would disappear down the side streets, only to return with faces wrapped in wet cloth staying only long enough to toss a chard at a pacing officer and disappear to safety a block or two away. Projectiles flew from second and third story windows on to the streets below. Police batons were flying against faces and skulls blood and tear gas mingled like a jazz improvisation, until the burning smog was so dense that no life could survive. I never seen Marsha so happy as when she bit the ear off a cop an out ran him disappearing into nothingness. I was grabbed strip searched, but before I was hand cuffed and to hauled away a group of unknown rioters liberated me. We all escaped to the other end of the campus, because the air was intolerable for several blocks around. As quite regained the streets, at the other end of campus angry speeches filled the air as jaw smiths worked the crowds to an opera of rage. Street people like me, and students who had nothing in common but a limitless rage and necessity for revolution. Armored cars, mounted police and Burns Guards drove the crowd from the fountain.
That night a festive carnival filled the night air, joy filled the streets everywhere rioters were claiming victory, strangers literally danced and made love in the streets. Exultation moved with each. Songs of joy and resistance were to be heard on every corner. Marsha and walked for hours singing what ever song we stumbled upon. The party went uninterrupted until noon the next day. Exhausted we returned to her apartment, where we slept till about six or seven. After a small meal I worked till long after dark for the monastery. Afterwards I put in two more full days I needed the money.
By the end of the week we decided to take in the Napa Valley, but neither of us had a car or even a license, so I invited my friend Victor along. We drove from winery to winery do the taste test. Each tasting room had pretty mannequins in micro-mini skirts and ample cleavage with smiles that never left their over painted faces. As far as the wine was concerned we were way past our limits before we ever reached the Barbara Bothers. The tasting was only occupied by two middle aged Italian men who master wine makers and storytellers. The younger one sat on a bar stool with a glass of wine in one hand and his wife’s butt in the other. The older one pour us wine as fast as we could slap it down. Stories and wine flowed like an ancient river through a fertile valley. The old man would set up the young man, and the young man’s wife was the willing straight man. The old country, immigrants, working on the railroad, the strike of 1919, the strike of 1922, the wines of Lucca and how culture has gone to hell. By the time we left we melted into the car, our eyes were twisted backwards in our skulls, but there is no cure for invincibility and feeling as if we could live for ever.
We drove about twenty miles down a narrow country road, until we drove off the road and into some framers field. We decided to stay put until we slept it off. But, we were hungry and we were in the middle of cactus farm. We gorged our selves on the ripe purple fruit until we could eat no more. The fruit was fresh, luscious, euphonious and ambrosial like no fruit I have ever eaten before or sense. When we awoke in the bottom of an empty irrigation ditch with our mouths, noses and hands filled with cactus thorns. The bottom of my maw was glued to the top of my nasal passage. My head anguished with lighting flashes through my eyes. I was not moving now or ever. Victor said he had the cure. Acid is the only thing to knock out a hang over this bad, I said. He only smiled... Victor said “STP is what I recommend” and laughed. STP was a four day trip like acid plus, the chemists only improved what was now outlawed. How we got back to Berkeley alive no one will ever know.
When we got back, Marsha decided she like women, and couldn’t keep up with this charade. She had pretended I was a lesbian trapped in a man’s body; but it was still a mans body. I told her she was right “I never was a real man, and I like that as I was always an outsider from male culture. She was getting back together with Georgia so cut the crap”. God I loved women, they where a whole lot more fun than men, but only with their clothes on. From now on celibacy was the unequaled solo channel to navigate.
My new life would begin in Carmel Valley. Yet that was not to be. The first day there I found a job and place cleaning up a Harley shop. Bikers run a local bar, and the shop was attached. Behind the place was a little home in which the proprietor and others some related and some not called home. I would stay in this mountain valley but a week, but it would only crush the unorganized but reimbursed conceptions of a fragmented acquittal of a discredited America.
The mornings in the valley were shivering transparent sunlit lyrical comedy of sensations. The couple I was staying with operated with their own rhythm and temporal environmental design. They were warmhearted, selfless, and not a little scary. On the second night I was there, the young woman tall, ivory, beautiful, curvaceous, large firm breasts, small waist, long legged, and very naked. She woke me up just to talk. I was certainly not prepared. Shortly there after her boy friend also very naked came out just to sit and talk. The three of us naked and drinking coffee talked most of the evening. The next morning the woman asked if I were gay, why I asked? To make things easier I told her I was. Later her boy friend said that his girl friend was trying to change beds and was turned down by me and was hurt. I told him that because he also came out to join us I had no way of knowing or her intention of making me her next lover. He said he was not the jealous kind, and only wanted to wish us luck, and let her know her bed was empty when I was ready to move on. All I could think of was how much I loved celibacy. The next day a friend of theirs just got his draft notice, and was headed for Canada. I know people in Saskatchewan. That night I called the contact I knew in Idaho. The arrangements were more than easy to make. That night we had a party for another young man was headed for Canada.
The deputy sheriff was a close friend of his, and was at the party and ask me if I would help drive his car, with him to Vermont. The story he gave me was that the woman he loved was in Vermont, just divorced her husband, she could make no promises, but if quit his job sold his house and joined her she might consider giving it a try with him. She was making no promises but she would try. He didn’t have time to sell his house so gave it away at the party, it was paid for so it was easy to find some one to take it off his hands. He quit his job without notice. What was a job or a house compared to love.
We left early in the morning and drove non-stop from Carmel Valley all the way to Burlington Vermont in under three days, and two nights. The car smelt like a sausage, we hadn’t slept. We talked about everything from Revolution, to love, to America, to go what future held for us all. If this romance didn’t work out he would head for Coasta Rica to homestead. We saw the dawn break over the Adarondacks as the sun peaked over the peaks the clouds opened and the sun danced with the Raindrops and dew. We reached Kent New York about 7:00 am. We caught the ferry across the Lake. She was waiting for us on the other side. They fell into each others arms. I shook each of theirs hands and was on my way. Years later I receive a letter from him. The romance lasted about a year his lover returned to her husband, she still loved him but she felt her husband had more to offer, the husband had a house and a high paying job. She offered him the position as her back door man. Tried it for awhile, then decided to move to Coasta Rica where he had his own cattle ranch. He married a local woman, and had two children, he would return if given an opportunity to the woman he truly loves. He knew his current family would understand and forgive him. But, he had lost contact with his true love and wondered if I could help. From our mutual friend he Canada I learned she had left her husband and was married to an even richer man in France. Later I learned he moved his entire family to France. Criag was even more Romantic than I am.
Form Vermont I travel by thumb to New York. It was an uneventful pilgrimage, except I came face to face with a ambrosial mixture of bracing airy seclusion in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire camping near Timber line.
New York, New York so great they named it twice
New York was a thoughtfully and frolicsome hallucinatory, glittery, freakish inferno that could persist only in your overly suspicious illusions of a lacerating hangover. The town itself sweats, screams, and weeps independent of all its citizens who do just the same. The silent noises mixed with the screaming sounds puncture into the spine undiminished, all awareness is subcoardical, reacting as a ganglia would act to boiling water. Awareness remains concealed in secret below the waterline of the superficiality of consciousness. Eternity is lateral not temporal. Infinity is microscopic. The city exists outside of time and space and beyond thought or comprehension. New York simply moves in chaos of sensations unrelated to perception or understanding. The perturbation of agitation in its tactile discord of the sounds of the city boogied my skull leaving my brains a bleeding mass of protoplasm. The streets suffocating with the aroma of wine and urine and stuck to the bottoms of my boots. The olfactory zenith moved with waves of fervor deluge, and a frigid lust of living. Breathing concert of concrete its own entity in existence through the carnally tantalizing nucleus from the streets.
I first arrived a I was a consonant electric storm turned lose on the streets. The lower east side, was a candy land. Walking down second street came face to face with the biggest meanest cop I’ve ever seen. Worst yet he seen me, and flowed with an evil gale toward me. When he spoke the summer heat chilled the sweltering boulevard with the Greenland Ice Cap. “I hope you have some idie you sleazy Mother Fucker, or I will run your cracker ass into the most grievous fiery perdition you will ever see”. I pulled my fetid dispirited tattered retired wallet, showed my Idaho drivers liceince expired more than two years before. Alchemy before my very eyes the vile and injurious Cop, was transformed into a corpulent and rolly, mirthful adorable harlequin and he be speaking with the most melodic Irish brogue I’ve ever herd. He gave me a five spot and told where I could find a place to stay cheap. Kept saying his wife was a WOP, and what a looker she was. Mean while just a cross the street a new Lincoln Continental, was being stripped to the inside and out leaving nothing remaining but a pile of junk. A whole gang of what looked six year old black boys and girls set expertly to destroy this car. I ask if that was ok with him? He said anyone who would park a car in this neighborhood got no one to blame but themselves. Besides the kids were having fun and being a father he believes in fun.
He let me go with a hearty laugh and a slap on the back. I proceeded to find my friends. They were easy to find. Thompson and MacDogal was the funkiest head shop in the West Village. The streets were swarming with the melodramatic sensuality of a rhythmical exhibition of anguish and the rapture. The avenues secreted lust through the jitterbugging fervor of souls lost before they were born. The exhibition of the psychotic and the shattered were laid open for the flourishing plebeians in all their nudity of their open and bleeding souls.
There was Premamary Betty the dishonored ballerina who out her broken heart in the middle of 5th Avenue until the police would chase her off, only to return again when all was quite on the tortured locale of carnage. There was Arty who talk to Zeus and Jesus on transistor radio. Always free with his opinions and disapproval the two glorified spirits of copal crime. Froggy moved in short leaps and whacking the promontory of deportment. Guttural whimper in his maw clothed in scorn for fountainhead of the omnipotent architect, and the Universe itself. Big Brown who ran denuded into crowds of tourists throwing rubber tip spears at them. There was always the sing were ever two winos met would be an impromptu concert of the sweets and most melodious sounds that ever fell from the heavens. You could share in the spirituous refreshment simply by sharing in the sounds. Come down on from the staircase of New Jerusalem was the celestial spirit of splendor, whose voice filled the glen with unsullied honey. All mortality was captured within the accentuation of the enclosure of her sympathetic embrace. Seduction and liberation moved together with the songs of the night.
The fever of the darkness of night exploded into a riot of lyrical insurgent disorder of enraged, revulsion and craving for release. The cops patrolled in armed cars, and heavily armed busses. The swarms bellowed and threw rocks and other projectiles at the armies of imperialism. Windows in the store fronts shattered as the contents were thrown on to the streets creating make shift missiles to attack the symbols of colonial oppression. Tear gas and water cannons dispersed the crowds, only to reassemble on the rear front. Morning broke onto the battlefront and the heat of the day would be born again.
The next evening I met the Revolution. She was a sumptuous, in flower, busty, raven, sultry, tinder woman. Washington Square was brimming to cubic contents of the population it could hold. While the sweltering enraged faces showed insurrection axed from its grappling iron, there was floating above the volatile ether of the park was the wailing threnody of “Revolution”, “Revolution”’ “Revolution”. The word itself was the symphony of the majestic visionary temptress in full rebellion. Only one thing was agreed upon, that the streets would be cleansed pure with inferno of effervescent blood. Women and men intoxicated with the caress of the courtesan “Revolution”. My head spume with ferment. Life truly is a passion play. Revolution is most libidinous lover of hot summer night.
The square was surrounded by riot police, slowly moving into the center, and the crowds were dispersed. New disturbances would spring up spontaneously all over the down town. The hot night melted into an even hotter morning. Revolution was more than New York. I Would move to another street fight in another town as the Revolution also lives within the pits of my bowls and the marrow of my bones. She holds me, caresses me and sings to me in my dreams. Revolution that harmony of desire and sonnet of lust. She moves with ecstasy and grace as then streets and walkways combust with battered and ravished by conflagration of accumulated grievances of Imperial Tyranny. The Revolution beckon me into the world.
Heading out of Jamestown, New York heading for the city of soul. The summer heat danced with forest, while the highway call to my secret name. “Guerriero Minore”, like ancient note sung just beyond the where earth meets the heavens, and ethereal cognizant beasts carry out their infatuated comedy of carnality.
Highway six twisted its way through woods and glen. Each curve was hidden in a mystery of green. Each flat stretch of road opened upon a world never before encountered. This was a world that seemed to have escaped the perception of any temporal helmsman on the journey into a world yet to be apperceived.
The late afternoon, closed in upon me like a indulgent autonomous thinker
“Guerriero Minore”, “Little Warrior Come Dance and play with Me”.
“ I let my gown fall upon the prairie, my inflamed, disrobed bosom pressed next to your torso of hunger”.
“Guerriero Minore , Guerriero Minore your Craving is my Rapture”.
“I take you into the mystery viscera of answers not yet questioned. Labia Majora of the secrets men carry hidden from all but their hidden dreams. Taken out quietly when the darkness cuddles the clandestine repose of measureless present”.
“Guerriero Minore , Guerriero Minore
Compose a melody of predilection
“With a pocket full of rain.
Come rest tonight within my arms
Come rest tonight you will feel no pain”.
Sing of a cap full of hope, and a hat full of rain”.
Walk the frontier region in a torrent of anger and a deluge of mistrust”.
“It was a fantasy of direction and a boundary of progress enclosed in a country saturated with self-doubt and arrogance”.
“The nature’s gentle symphony of the forest, brought ambrosial repose to my breast. While I walked on the avenue of tomorrow. Carefully avoiding the snare of steel”.
The long twisty road to Penn led me to a slot in the highway called Pitsfield.
It was a fetid furrowed field cut out of the woodlands. The forest overwhelmed the village. The hardwood borough of primitive husbandry responded to me like a truly relevant vision of existential vexation. This dread was an angst that was a significant provocation to my ethereal existence like a robustly scythed bog. The aroma of condemnation lingered in the air. While the moisturized purée of soggy atmosphere pre-packaged my disrobed expression in the asphyxiation of my circulating destiny, I awaited next comic drama of the gods.
It was Sunday the morning was gray, humid, hot and dense. Two police cars stopped lights flashing by me standing at the side of the road. In both large men descended upon me upon dressed up for church. In both cars their families waited in the back. One officer demanded to see my identification. “He is Italian, he looks like a Syrian”. “Lets kick his hippie ass and go to lunch”. Down I went to the ground. They appeared not to need my assistance kicking hippie ass. I just layed there while they kicked a hammered my body till they tired of the fun and then drove off. Nothing was broken other than my self-esteem. Bruised and muddied and in pain both physical and spiritual I wondered off dazed. I do not remember much after that until I was sitting in kitchen of elderly gentleman.
“Michael my father was a military man also. My war was in “17” I didn’t go either. Cost me two and a half years in a federal lock-up. That wound in my family never did heal”.
How I got there is not clear, but the hot coffee in my hand proved he was my peculiar dependable biography in another body. The pain in my head proved this old man trusted enough to taken a way faring stranger in his home and his heart. He surely saved my life.
“They would turn out a yellow dog in these woods. Last week a poor veteran was beaten and left by the side of the road. Found him too. If you go on the highways in the back areas they thrash you. If you don’t they maul you. My name is Whitman of the Pennsylvania Whitman’s. My father fought in the Pennsylvania volunteers. My father was old when I was born back in 87. Pennsylvania is a place were there is the meanest of mean and the bravest of brave. The home of the Robber Baron and the union man walk the same roads and highways. Both fellow worker and comrade fought the plunderer of the blood and soul of the workingman. I can see you are a comrade, cause you is you will walk many a road, but you won’t walk alone. They the young folk say it now that there will always be the movement. Cause you is a comrade you are always welcome under my roof, you can stay here to night.”
That night that night we dined on new potatoes, fresh carrots, cabbage, lamb, and of course wild black berry wine. We talked all night about the miner south of there and the stevedores a few miles to the west in Erie. We talked of the union, the commies, the fascists in Harrisburg, and Washington. We talked of the coming Revolution and now it was the young peoples turn. His small farm was a sanctuary, and the hope of a socialist tomorrow. That night I slept in the loft and dreamed dreams of the Revolution just as my host had done for the last 81 years.
The next day his granddaughter drove me to a place on highway 6 a few miles beyond the county line were I could catch a ride to Erie. Lacking the Constabulary of this purgatory trap which except for my communist farmer and his granddaughter was the place of the warmed over dead I would be excited about life again.
The next ride would take me into Erie. Definitely an administrator archaic and whiten with age. He was taut form the inception. His pains at chitchat was dingy. I was appreciative for the ride, but wearied because my intellect was alternatingwith out direction and suffering form vertigo with thoughts of a Pennsylvania communist farmer and the subterranean ethereal ecstasy I had just undergone.
“Were you from”.
“Were you going”.
“To become aware of my reality and my dream”.
“Were you been”.
“To visit a friend”
“ A girl friend”.
“No a boyfriend.”
I knew at the time I should not have said that. I certainly would live to regret my error. It did shut him up and we drove into Erie, leaving me alone with my thoughts. We drove into Erie to the other end of town clear to the Lake Front. There was a very nice Hotel by the Lake he bought me a nice room with a good view of the lake. He invited me to dinner in the Hotel Restaurant in a couple of hours then he left. I took a long hot bath, a nap, and change my clothes. Later I met him in the Restaurant where I had Roast Beef and Boiled Pike. We did not exchange any words at the time, but the meal and the wine were good. He picked up the tab, which was generous besides I had no money. He invited me to his room in about an hour for a few drinks, I said yes I always like a few drinks. I returned to my room and not ten minutes had passed, when the room phone rang. He said he was ready now, so I joined him. He setting on the edge of the bed, unmistakably he had just taken a very quick bath as he had nothing on but a bathrobe. On the end table were two whiskey sours already prepared. I drank mine rather quickly.
“How long you been sucking men off?”
“Not long, in fact I never have.”
“You are homosexual aren’t you?”
“You think it is sick?”
“No my very best friend in Pocatello is.”
“How you going to pay for the ride, the meal, and the room?”
“I don’t know.’
“I will buy you breakfast and give you a ride to the highway if you don’t say a word of this”.
“I am a very successful politician in the state government, I have a wife of 50 years and am a Deacon in my church all this would be over in a second if any one found out I like young boys”.
“No one will ever know.”
I left then as we were both embarrassed and uncomfortable. The next day we had a very quite breakfast, and he drove to the interstate outside of town.
Out of Erie I pick up, by a close friend Aumid Kosiesian a Palestinian Christian and a Marxist. The chances of meeting my man this way was about a billion to one. Family member of the cause of socialism on the highway of America a fellow traveler, “Glory Acclamations’ were in order. We discussed Marx, Camus, Bakunin, Trotsky, Lenin, Mao, Kropotkin, Luxemburg, Ho, Mao, Che, Tito, communism, socialism, anarchism, workers councils, workers self-managements, Marxism and revolution. Hours passed like seconds a Bolshevik and a Wobblie, we both being educated Collectivist Proletarian, we agreed we thrived and sprouted on uncivilized bedlam. Soviets of the dispossessed were our homes. The insurrection of the denuded tenants of the freakish anima of the omitted of this terrestrial sphere this was our kindred with each other and the indigent laboring proletariat.
We drove through out the Day letting out at Port Huron as he was crossing into Canada. It took ride to get to Holland I camped out on the beach. The next day I was in Grand Rapids. The hot summer day trouble broke out in the Wealthy Street area. The Wealthy Street Baptist Church and the First Bank of Michigan sat side by side, with a flashing neon sign that read “Jesus Saves at 4% interest. It sounded good to me. As the day progressed so did the trouble. By early evening the vaulted clash between regional citizenry and the law arrived at a anomalous disorder and beat leading a proclivity for fury. A young couple and myself sought sanctuary in a Catholic Church. At first we met a nun who lead us to the cafeteria of the Hospital next door. She fed us and said she would arrange lodging for us. We waited several hours before the police showed up and arrested us. The nun was crying and saying it was for our own good.
At the station the uncuffed us, finger printed us, took our identification and was debating what to charge us with. At some point we were alone in the room for no more than a minute when we simply walked out of the station and into the street. We waliked several blocks through the melee to the Hospital cafeteria. Our packs and rolls were where we left them. We gathered up our things walked back on the street, and headed out for Detroit.
In Detroit we arrived a Plum Street by early morning. This barren unyielding jumble of street people, and comfit looking head shops spread like a humid irony. Profane stratification offered up its fidelity, in which the surrounding populous could never afford to shop in these bohemianness repository of shops for those who could afford to be a want a be, not the pitiful riffraff who were and were not welcome inside the establishments. It was an assortment of mockery, excessive silliness, and trite exhibition of hypocrisy of a capitalism in which everything is for sale.
Detroit in its center was still a bombed out cavity from the social convulsions from a year ago (1967). Rage had receded by the Summer of 68. Downtown Detroit is the backdoor woman, and war zone for the runaway’s with no direction home. These were the refuse social of back roads, decaying orthodox small towns and suburban shame. The smell of urine and cheap wine, which stuck to the bottoms of your feet and crackled as you shuffled about. The sounds song from the sprawling mass of street people point of convergence was upon the jaunty hippie shoppers in the stores. The taunt of the street people directed toward the hippies, “look at the plastic counterfeit monkeylike people”. The hippies looked with equal disgust toward the derelict indigents “you can smell them before you can see them, these social outcasts of an penurious slag collection of social junk”. The chorus of contrasting tormentors was blending with the mistrial of the summer breeze and birds aria to their inamoratas to make an incommensurate whimsical and kaleidoscopic rhythm and blues.
It was on Plum I met Homer, his lover Lady Jane, and their faithful pet human Arty. Homer was three hundred pounds of Black muscle, bone and sinew. Homer was a sage, poet, philosopher, insurgent, radical, firebrand revolutionary, and troubadour. Lady Jane was a representation of womanlike imperishability tall and Nordic. Arty was only Arty who talked to Zeus and Jesus on the radio, loudly rebuked spiders for harming flies. Arty ate only fruit, raw corn, and of course spiders. He did not believe in causing harm. It was through Homer that I met both Little Richard, and Stevie Wonder. If you followed Homer weed was good and the LSD was cataclysmic demoniac in the best sense of the word. He was planning the revolution in Chicago, and needed volunteers to go to the Democratic convention and fight fascism in the streets. I had nothing better to do so “count me in”.
As we entered the “City”, the” army of cultural democracy” sang we will march against terror of imperialism. US out of Vietnam, US out of Latin American, US out of the Reservation, US out of the Ghetto, US out of America. Our blood boiled white hot, fury filled the stratosphere. The chill of the scalding nighttime overflowed with zealous electricity of a necessary but succulent corpulent rabble looking for a fight. It was a fight we meant to find. We were here to drive imperialism into the lake and to assassinate by extinguishing chauvinistic jingoism of the Great American Pomposity.
Cops out in force. The atmosphere was viscous with fervor, and every motion was a threat. The hippie look was subversive in itself. The other side was also looking for a fight. Insults from the police would give birth to heckling from the freaks. The squad cars would stop two or more cops would run out and make menacing gestures with their weapons. We would run and they would follow, but not to close. Then the game would begin again. The convention was a couple days away and tensions were mounting, the game was going to get very real and both sides knew it.
My group tried to pass out leaflets on capitalist exploitation of the wage slave in the steel industry. The workers were in no mood to talk to street people. They had jobs and we didn’t. They knew more about exploitation than druggies. We had to scrap the idea of starting the Revolution south of town.
We had blood in our eye and so did they. On the one side was the draft dodging, Communist, Anarchist, Godless, Faggots. On the other side the lackeys of imperialism, the Fascists, NAZIES, racist, sexist, testosterone soaked, Hereford steers all beef and no balls. Forgiveness was out and there would be a fight neither the creator nor society would deny either side the blood they longed for. The students, and peace activists at the convention center was more than well behaved, and committed to non-violence in their attempt to change a nation of war to a nation of peace through love and reason. The freaks, greasers, hippies and street people new the US Government, the Daley Democratic Machine, and the Chicago PD would never allow peace or reason to prevail. Each of the freak contingent knew from first hand experience that freedom is a class issue. Those who have money can afford civil liberties, and those without money continually fall prey to whims of protectors of law and freedom, and we street people say there is “Fuck All’ you can do about it. It was said when they find you dead in the gutter, you get to go to college as a skeleton in the Biology lab.
When the convention started so did the war. The students soon found out what we knew all along. The police were the vengeful goons of power. The law represented the sanctified vivacity of a favored few who run the world by avarice.
The police were attacking freak or demonstrator with uniform grotesque barbarity. I witnessed a middle aged woman driving a car with a McCarthy bumper sticker she was stopped by the police, dragged out of her car and beaten across the head by one officer while his partner slash all four of her tires. She sat in the middle of the street stunned and bloodily, unable to stand. Her glasses broken confused and weeping and she no where to go. The freaks I was with tried to help her but cops shot at us yelling “kill a fag, kill a commie”. The freaks began throwing rocks at the cops while, two men from side lines helped her into a building and into safety.
Tear gas filled the streets around the park, when any peace activist came to the park to talk about non-violence as the only way to make change in America she or sometimes he would be clubbed by the police right in front of us. Now no one ran from the cops any more, the freaks would throw rocks at the police and the police would club, batter, bludgeon, benzyl or tear gas, trampled all who stood in their way. The “Motherfuckers” from New York and the “Cocksuckers” Homers group from Detroit who fought hand to hand with the police. The only real weapons I saw belonged to the police. The only injuries I ever heard that the police had sustained were on their or shoulders from beat on citizens.
Next thing I remember was an ancient 1949 black Cadillac stopped at the corner. A middle aged Black man firmly, but with great dignity ordered me to get into his car. “Don’t you give me any shit just get into this car…NOW! “ …and I did.. “This is not your fight leave it to the students, the cops, and the hop heads looking for a thrill. You are no bourgeois student and you got more going on in side you than that street trash. This is not your fight, save the major shit for the major shit; your time be a commin, and in your own way. We drove to his habitat. He lived in an abandon warfe house with his wife and two kids. The bottom of the depository was an abandon cement shell. The family lived in the loft above. The only way to get up was in a gurney and a series of pulleys. We pulled our selves up. There was one main room, some offices that were converted into bedrooms, a kitchen, two restrooms and a shower room. That night he lectured me as if I was his prodigal son. The only way to institute change was with words not weapons. Until a majority agree with you the ” man” got the bigger guns and knows how to use them. Only when a majority of the Americans get sick of being part of the world browbeater will any people in anywhere in the world have a chance. That was to be my fight he told me.
The next morning we ate a good breakfast of fried corn mush, citlans and hot sauce. Later we went to a place called under the L to listen to blues the way it was meant to be heard up close of course. Later he told me his car would not make out of town.
He took me to the Pinedale Mission across the street from the Chicago Police head quarters and right next to the freight yards. He walked in with me and introduced me to some bums who he would take good care of me. One of the bums I had already met when I was in prison. He informed me that the El Capitan woul;d be leaving right after breakfast the next morning.
The mission was a multi-storied job. The care takers took away all your cloths and roll. They cotton uniforms solid white which fit no one at all. My street cloths and roll were steamed. Everyone took a communal showers and then drowned with flea power. Then we were all marched to the chaple to hear the good how Jesus love us and how Jesus forgave us. Since I never did anything to this Jesus thought that was pretty silly of him. The preacher asked us to come and pray or be blessed or something. I was doing ok so I did not feel a need to rush forward. The place was filled with men all of whom were throw away kind folk. Young women would up and down the aisles a dragging their victims up to a man who would tell the indigent casualty more about this Jesus fellow. I was one pathetic souls dragged off. My man proceeded to tell how Jesus died for my sins. I told him I never asked Jesus to, and besides I have never sinned, I did a lot of mean things and a lot more stupid things. They weren’t sins they were just dumb, and didn’t need to be forgiven I just needed to stop doing them. He told me not to throw away this beautiful gift. I told him a gift not asked for is a gift, but the price of slavery. He told me Jesus would even forgive that. I told him to tell Jesus I would forgive Jesus for his arrogance.
The barracks we rows of shelves in which the bums were tight packed for the night. The next day we were herded back to the chapel to hear how we were all going rot eternally in this lake of fire called hell. I felt in part responsible for all these poor dammed souls. I did pick a fight with this Jesus, and when Jesus gets pissed he really gets pissed. Any way a man with that kind of temper it is best to not have anything to with him.
I caught a ride on the El Capitan, which took to the other end of the country. To bring an end to my tell I was back in Pocatello in about three days. I too rose from the tomb. In Pocatello I started a demonstration in front of the federal building, which drew over a hundred demonstrators we plugged up the mian street trafict. The local police showed with shields, clubs, face masked. We lock arms and refused to move. They locked arms too. Face to face and they blinked. The summer of 1968 was good.
Wealth is Theft