On the Road to Satori – Melancholia

1958 vw microbus by harrietsfriend


Melancholia

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
… 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
strangers

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

On the Road to Satori – El Paso


El Paso
broad daylight
the Highway Patrol
blasting me with their
echo-of-a-future-police-state
loudspeaker horn tell me
“get off the highway
no hitchhiking
fool!”

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

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 the ‘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
space

Boxcar Blues – The Last Ride

The dust cloud on the horizon veers toward town. It’s getting closer. I tell myself, It’s the Calvary come to rescue me locked up for a crime I didn’t commit. “Fat chance,” the little voice in my head replies.

        Every day, Mei Lia brought me something to help take the chill out of this county cooler. One day she carried a tray covered in a red and gold silk handkerchief. My lawyer also came that day.
        “The judge won’t grant an appeal.” Josh Feathers gave me the bad news. Tatay had even offered to get his attorney from Philadelphia to help, but neither he nor I could afford it. Mei Lia’s smile made up for all of it.
        In the tray was pancit, the same dish we’d had at our wedding.
        But wait a minute! As I served up a forkful I saw the unimaginable. The round end of a metal object stuck out from under the soft mound of noodles. She had covered a skeleton key inside the dish. I grabbed it and shoved it under the mattress. I looked in her soft, almond-shaped eyes, afraid to ask. She made no acknowledgment. She just smiled.
        After I finished my meal we kissed. It was long and tender. We said our goodbyes. She and I knew it was the last affection we would ever share. There was no turning back from this.

The Chinese apothecary shop on the corner of D Street and Second has a sign that gives a proverb for every day of the week. That night it read: Make the most of an unexpected opportunity.

        I made my way out of town the same way I’d come in. I hopped a boxcar on the first westbound freight train. Inside an oversize wooden crate of farm equipment, I peered through the slats as two cargo handlers checked the load. The train had just crossed the state line into Arizona.
        “Why do ya think they didn’t shut this door?” one worker asked the other.
The loader pulled a pack of cigarettes out of the pocket of his jeans and shrugged. “I dunno. Maybe they just forgot t’lock it? It opened by itself? I dunno.”
        As they moved boxes and crates, making sure everything was secure, they seemed to find a sense of satisfaction in their work. Thinking back, it may have been the contentment I felt as I clung to the canvas of the duffel bag Mei Lia had packed for me. After I unlocked the door to the cell, I had ducked out of the jail house while the dispatcher went for coffee. I found the bag stashed in the bushes in back of the county offices. That girl knew exactly where I’d run. She had an uncanny sense that way. I cried inside with a terrible pain in my heart. What was I going to do without her?

In my dreams, a young man manipulates levers and belt drives that operate an escalator made of molybdenum-steel, raising and lowering people cut in half at the torso, only to become whole again at the end of the ride.

A middle-aged woman at a bus station reminds me that there are still details to work out, pieces to put together. Don’t despair, she winks while pouring used oil around fence posts. To preserve them, she says.

        I woke up to the rhythmic rattle of the Southern Pacific against my back. I stood up, forcing open the door of the boxcar, and saw the landscape as it flew past.

At sunrise, the Arizona desert comes to life in a soft purple contrast of shadow and light. The camel colored mountains display a palette of gold and red, stretching the long shadows of tumbleweed across the land like fingers flirting with the new day. I followed as thousands of sun beaten sagebrush swayed in the morning breeze, waving that yellow ball toward the western sky.

        As I put a part of my life behind me, the thought crossed my mind—Nick Dade will make California, after all.

Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Artists

“Alan Watts was a British philosopher who spoke about Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and was an excellent orator on topics such as the meaning of life, higher consciousness, the true nature of reality and the pursuit of happiness.”


“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.” -Alan Watts


This is an excerpt from the article: 25 Alan Watts Quotes That Will Blow Your Mind Wide Open
By Universe Insider – May 7, 2017

Why AMERICA IS GREAT and WHY SHE ISN’T

I ran across this post from January that I had previously liked very much. It touched on something very dear to me—the plight of immigrants and minorities who are threatened in the present “Neo-Democracy” that is promising to reshape our country into a form it has not seen since before the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. It is longer than anything I’ve posted recently, but please take the time to read it through. It would be difficult to find better words of advocacy for the hard work of the people that built this country and their plight today. ~Pablo Cuzco


Posted on January 26, 2017 by Holistic Wayfarer

rd.com June 2014

rd.com June 2014

Deeply troubled by the reports of violence against the Jews in Europe, Gil Kraus decided to rescue children from the clutches of Nazi Germany. His posh home and successful law practice in Philadelphia were treasures he could let go. Even with two kids, 13 and 9 – and perhaps because of them – he was willing to confront danger for families suffering terror. His wife Eleanor, won over to his vision, prepared affidavits from people who signed on to help support the kids financially. When she Continue reading

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