On the Road to Satori – Flagstaff

 


 

Flagstaff

 

we drove north from Sedona
amazed at the crystal clear air of the night
Elizabeth explained that the crackle of bonfires
were actually in people’s back yards
not the National Park

we spent the night
with a family in the process
of converting their mobile home
into a mountain lodge; the framework
and plywood sheathing visible
as we sat to dinner

I marveled at the ingenuity
of people who engage in such endeavors
having lived my whole life in apartments
never knowing what it’s like
to own a house
you can convert
and add to
at will

Ralph and his family were ok
they all got along fine with Elizabeth’s two kids
and their dog; who later ate the scraps from our plates
(I think we probably ate venison)

we had breakfast the next morning
at a coffee shop on San Francisco Street
train tracks ran East-West through town
I walked along them for a half mile or so with Jack
a fellow we’d met in the café

Jack told me of his dreams of traveling
cross-country; riding the rails and bumming it
how he envied me his job and bills
reminding me that, yeah
I was pretty lucky
out here rambling
no worries—no dough

back at the diner
Elizabeth waited
to take me to the Interstate
where I would (hopefully)
make my next connection
to the Coast

she let me off at the crossroads
and I waited there for a ride
she stayed in the micro bus
guarding my journey
like the angel of
my mother’s prayers

a pretty girl
driving a flatbed truck
stopped to give me a ride

I ran jumped up into the cab thinking:


I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,
It’s such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me
. . . take it easy. . .*

I waved at Elizabeth and the kids
—I was on my way


*Take It Easy—Eagles, 1972

On the Road to Satori – Westfalia

http://docsonian.deviantart.com/art/On-the-Way-Back-to-Wolfsburg-173372391

On the Way Back to Wolfsburg by DocSonian

 


 

Westfalia

 

she was a congressman’s ex-wife
rambling in a Volkswagen Westfalia with her two kids
she offered to take me further down the road
said she sensed I had a greater motive
for all of this journeying “Seattle\Northwest
you’re bound” she told me nodding with certainty
over a cook fire on the road north to Flagstaff

at the ruins of Montezuma’s Castle
stripping off my jeans and
red flannel road-shirt
I lay in a narrow canal
letting the cool water course my skin
cleaning me up spit shine and polished
hair smoothed back and grinning like a lark

I whistled as I returned to the campsite
and told her about the refreshing spot just up the trail
she gasped as I described my naked exposure
the solitude of the wild Sedona autumn
I was just young enough to not
make the connection; she
was at least sixty
I thought
back then
now realize
as I’m older
she was probably not

she later speculated she must
remind me of my Mom not
at all,
I replied
—I still didn’t get it

On the Road to Satori – Tempe

 


 

Tempe

 

Tempe was not the haven I expected
a roadside rest park just off the bridge from Mesa
substituted for the hobo jungle of my hitchhiking dreams

campers and tents strewn around
smoke rising from campfires and alcohol stoves
people waking up early every morning
after staying up all night drinking
spinning yarns

Buckhorn Bob taught me
how to make cowboy coffee:
“You sprinkle some grounds in the pot
bring the water to boil let the grounds
settle and pour it off the top—ya got your
cowboy coffee” he instructed me

I hungrily accepted his kind offer of a cup
as by now I was pretty much broke
hungry; no direction

On the Road to Satori – Bridgeboro

http://throwingtwixbars.deviantart.com/art/HitchHiker-160260256

hitchhiker by throwingtwixbars

 


Bridgeboro

so here I am
standing on this cold
pavement just west of Bridgeboro
where I once swam in a sea
of confused euphoria
bliss/LSD parties
at Hoegstrom’s
—a tryst in the closet
on a three-by-six mattress

her father—
nose and cheeks bruised
by years of heavy drinking
burst blood vessels feverish bowels
yelling “knock it off in there
you two!” over the noise
of The Moody Blues
…come, ride my seesaw

I met up with some old friends
and spent a week in town
reminiscing

and nearly landed a job
but lost it when I blurted out in
pure angelic sincerity I would
only stay long enough
to get the money
to travel on

my friends left me with
a handshake and twelve dollars
in a creased envelope—alms for
the vagabond drifter

so here I am
headin’ down the road once more
staring at the sleet and cold rain; disillusioned
at the world and its empty values and screwed up
demands on a young man barely
able to hold down
a job

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

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