On the Road to Satori – Haight-Ashbury

circles by orzz


” Joaquín doesn’t live here anymore. . .


he died of the Vietnam War
—from drugs and alcohol.”

—it’s what I tell whoever asks
about my brother these days


I remember Joaquín
he’d fill my head with stories
about his time stationed at Treasure Island
on leave while in the US Marines
after his tour in ‘Nam

the summer of ’67, San Francisco
the long-legged blonde hippies on Haight sitting
on the sidewalk with blue eyes staring,
spaced out…sit down I
think I love you

Eric Burton
at the Fillmore—before
there was an East and a West—
singing blindfolded, stoned
smoking a cigarette
tempting the edge
of the stage
—tuned in
turned on
and dropped out
from the British Invasion

the yellow corn-cob pipe
and the nickel bag of Vietnamese
smuggled on the plane. I closed my eyes to
Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream, my thoughts a stream
of moving pictures, eyes closed
in an instant, opened
to a new sense
of time and


13 responses

  1. This was great, but I’m going to read it again tomorrow. The last thing I watched yesterday was a 2 hour Manson documentary (which seem to be airing with a strange frequency lately), so the image of Haight-Ashbury that I have this morning is far from one of hippie idealism. The long-legged blonde line made me think of Sharon Tate. So yeah, I’ll revisit this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really debated leaving that line out because of the possible anti-feminist vibe. Without it, the poem loses the Saturday in the park rose colored glasses love-in vibe. Which would have been a fake cliche device. My advice, Paul? Forget Manson, remember ’67 Summer of Love.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a composite of his story and my own experience. The expression of explaining loss in the title/prologue and the corncob pipe is me. The Summer of Love—he was there when it was happening—is his.


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