On the Road to Satori – Melancholia

1958 vw microbus by harrietsfriend


we heard
of a woodstockesque music-fest
playing in Austin

when we got there
the tickets had sold out
so we stood outside in the rain
the gray clay mud sticking to our boots

we took refuge
in Rodrigo’s Volkswagen bus
singing and playing on a borrowed guitar
I improvised in John Lee Hooker time
Jones on the harp in the key of blue
and Rodgrigo slapping the beat
on his jeans

… melancholia’s killing me”

Jones and I
wound up hitchhiking back
to San Antonio waiting for a ride
near a Church’s Fried Chicken

the counter guy yelled
through the take-out window
“hey you guy’s hungry?” and handed
us two cartons of chicken
“Happy Thanksgiving”

we had totally forgotten!
we just knew we were cold
wet and hungry—so thank you
Mr. Church’s Fried Chicken man
somewhere outside Austin may
you be repaid in triplicate
for your act of kindness
to two cold and lonely

The Pneumatic Steampunk Doorway – Further! Adventures on the Mojave Trail


Further! Adventures on the Mojave Trail

nighttime has fallen on the sleepy metropolis
the inhabitants are lulled by the roar
and rumble of the electric factory

under steel girders
and condensers
an occasional mechanic stirs
a technician kicks over and yawns
…night is at hand

“Mommy, mommy
who was that masked man?” the children cry
as they watch their father ride into the ether to meet
who knows what Further Adventures
on the Mojave Trail?

back in Cow Rock
the sleeping metropolis dreams
unaware of the creeping loathsome
black-lung that approaches

so what else is new?
“Nothing,” he says—over a
steaming hot cup of coffee
an overnight headache
and a yawn

…all is quiet
the steam plant is at peace

On the Road to Satori – Rodrigo

this is where I met Rodrigo
the born-again angel
of the Texas road

just inside San Antonio
the long auburn-haired
short-stance little gnome
of the largest man I ever met
who stopped and picked me up

he took me to meet his wife and kids
at his home where hitchhikers were welcome
to rest from their weary travels

he expected nothing in return
all due to his kind heart
and love of Jesus

after I explained how I
broke my guitar hopping off a train
at the El Paso freight yard: I’d have fallen to my
death if not for that Gibson

he told me of handmade guitars in Mexico
emblazoned with fine fretwork
rosettes of chipped abalone
all for a few dollars
then gave me the money
to go to Nuevo Laredo and get one

The Pneumatic Steampunk Doorway – from the Belly of the Beast




from the Belly of the Beast

at the steam plant
we don’t walk, we run!
when the unit lets out a bellow
like a Polynesian fire-idol screaming
for virgin sacrifice threatening volcanic
annihilation of the natives who—half-naked
with fear—try to appease the beast

“We fix-um! We fix-um!” they plead and scream
scurrying about in a witless ritual
attempting every known device
and operation that might
bring the creature
back to reason

fumbling with wrenches
running up and down ladders
“It’s hot! It’s hot!” they shriek
handling joints and sockets
super heated to an enormous
flesh shriveling degree

gang-bosses yell “Heave. Push.
Heave!” Flames spitting from their
teeth and sixteen-pound sledgehammer
hands coaxing a little more just a little more
from the poor natives who only came to work
at this god-forsaken place because they thought life
would be so much better living beneath
the shade of a live volcano!

The Valley


The Valley

winter left sudden the valley
budding green cottonwoods perked
the sparse landscape

the sky waxed clearer
dust slowly settled with late winter’s drizzle
the quartz-rock mountains crackled in clarity
ruggedly tearing the skyline

chickweed crowned the hillocks
and rumps in an emerald carpet—
desert lilies trumpeted the roadside
their clarion-like flowers heralding
the end/the beginning
of a new season

and soon the river
the opal blue river
its rocky red banks
the swelling current’s turbulent
surging fat ripple

will sing…

let go
let’s go
down by the river
where the waters rush by
down by the waters
by the riverside
water so clear and crystal azure
water so pretty make you
lose those

On the Road to Satori – El Paso

El Paso
broad daylight
the Highway Patrol
blasting me with their
loudspeaker horn tell me
“get off the highway
no hitchhiking

I walk down into the city
and smell the filth of the Swift-Premium
slaughter-house blood guts and excrement
of processed pig meat in this the new American
Frontier—Mexican Bodega signs in red and yellow
short Spanish women pushing baby carriages
staring at me like a sinister felon just
off the boat from Alcatraz—
what women with babies
fear about strangers

The Colorado River


sunset ski by behrfeet

The Colorado River

to the last moments of ecstasy
on the river’s swollen belly
the fishermen pull anchor
and troll home


the water skis come out
the boats’ll cut that water
pulling skiers in a splashing frenzy
coiling their wake in a whipping froth
of foam and spray

the din
of youth clamors
and rains like wild dogs
on their idyl

cutting the water’s stillness
with the primitive cacophony
of boat splash and roar
in a gloriously
wild ride
to freedom

they ride the sun to its zenith
and follow it down to day’s end—
and one more endless summer
night on the beach

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