On the Road to Satori – Alice

the hitchhiker by christiano bill

the hitchhiker by christiano bill


 

Each one of these stories is a small window—a theatre of the mind—of observations made during a period of travel in the early 1970’s. Hitchhiking the roads of America, I spent the later years in reflection. These poems are what grew from the adventure.

Read as rhythmic rolling narrative, they need no explanation except to tell a story that follows one title to the next.

Pablo Cuzco

 

Alice

 
in the wee hours
of a pitch black Texas night
in Alice bound for Nuevo Laredo

the road deserted
not even a gun-rack pistol-packing
Texas Truck in sight

no drivers dusted
from too many hours
entertaining the yellow line
looking for a rider to take the wheel

the rattlesnakes they chattered
the coyotes yip-yip-yip-aye-ayed
into the pitch-black prelude
to the dawn

a thousand miles from nowhere
with nowhere left to go
a lost and lonesome
highway vagabond

the rumble down ten-wheeler
that eventually picked me up
was headed for Freer

blaring rhythm and blues
on the AM band cracking
and squawking like a CB radio

left little room for conversation
yelling over the noise
grinding gears and rattling truck parts

“Leroy Simmons—glad to meet you
Headin’ far?” Nuevo Laredo
“I can take you part of the way”

Dawn…
the Sonoran Desert
a desolated stretch of highway
Mexico—twenty-five miles to the south

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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

On the Road to Satori – The Baby Blue Peugeot

http://zarkwebic.deviantart.com/art/Peugeot-404-Draw-270288999

peugeot 404 by zarkwebic


 

The Baby Blue Peugeot

 

winter was heading my way
the eternal summer
of the Southwest calling
I hooked up with two guys
and an old ’63 Peugeot
headed for Arizona

we kept the baby blue sedan running
twenty-five hundred miles
across Pennsylvania
along old Route 66
through Ozark hills
to the Oklahoma Panhandle

we cooked refried beans
over an alcohol stove
and popped cans of Coors
—you can only buy them
West of Tulsa—

they said

on rolling plains dotted
with clusters of trees
near a winding brook
on a night blistered with stars
we drank Rocky Mountain water
from a flip-top can

On the Road to Satori – Tucumcari

it’s a lovely day tomorrow by BWS


 

Tucumcari

 

just outside Tucumcari
at a gas station
bodega-cantina
bar and grill

the attendant
in Levi jacket and jeans
pulls a lid from behind the counter
says twenty bucks

reminds me of workers
I met in New York
who were from Chile
wore cowboy boots
and red bandannas
and spoke so colloquial
they could barely understand
when I spoke Nuyorican

I listen to the jukebox
soft guitars and fiddles
old 30’s western sound of
hobos travelin’ singin’
songs in Spanish!
“Is this what you guys
listen to out here?”
the guy says “Yeah
maybe”

he doesn’t get it
this stuff is not
on the radio
back East
this stuff
is precious

as I write I realize
I never got to hear
that music again

On the Road to Satori – State Trooper Blues


 

State Trooper Blues

 

we see the troopers lights
and hear the blip of the siren
turn to each other with a “we’ve been
narced by the guy at the Bodega!” look on our faces

the trooper snoops around
looking mean in his Smokey Bear hat
black Gestapo boots and a forty-five pistol

his ’69 Plymouth Road Runner
hemi-head dual exhaust
going varoom! varoom! shaking
like a dragster disguised in cop lights
and a New Mexico State Trooper emblem
so that we’re quite impressed!
despite the circumstances

he let us go
must have figured we were just
a bunch of wide-eyed college kids
on their way to see America
why toss ‘em in the clink
and ruin their lives forever?
let ‘em find out for themselves
when they end up
on the street

“your brake light’s out,
thought I’d give ya a warning”
yes.thank.you.sir!
we slide back on to the road

welcome to New Mexico

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 – 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

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