Monday, December 31, 2012

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- American Psycho Number27-Jack Webb’s “He Walked By Night”

DVD Review
He Walked By Night, starring Richard Basehart, Jack Webb, Warner Brothers, 1948

Who knows what makes a guy flip, a guy turn into a flat-out maniac, a stone-cold killer when to all the whole wicked world he looks like a guy who is just a little eccentric, a little bit of a loner, and not a guy who has an immense unfulfilled (unquenchable) grudge against the world. Then a little midnight caper, a little heist, turns sour, a cop gets a little suspicious since there have been a ton of burglaries and robberies in the neighborhood and the guy goes crazy, and the cop winds up dead, very dead.

Of course when a cop gets killed other cops are ready to work night and day 24/7/365 to bring the culprit to justice and it that process of bringing that stone-cold psycho killer to justice that drives this little film noir police procedural, He Walked By Night. They don’t start with much to work with since our psycho was very smart, had a sophisticated scheme, and was very knowledgeable about what the cops were up to as they closed in on him. And that in the end was his undoing as some very ordinary back-filling police work leads to his identification.

Funny as classically well done as this film is as a police procedural (getting the bad guys after all is what crime film noir is all about) it was not at all clear why our culprit turned on society and that failing takes away from each of the actions to try to corral him. So we will definitely have to put this in the B-film files although the scenes at the end when the cops corral our mad monk psycho are very evocative of other famous chase scenes (think The Third Man).



A New Year’s Resolution for 2013:



As another year of US and Israeli wars and occupations comes to a close leaving tens of thousands dead and injured and many more living in terror from Gaza to Pakistan, we call on all people of conscience to remember the suffering caused in our name and to join the struggle for peace. Only mass outrage and action can change this deadly path of violence. Join us as we make our voices heard in the new year and make the following demands:

Stop the drones!

No cut-backs!

Stop surveillance!

No U.S. intervention in Syria or Iran!

No unconditional aid to Israel!

Contact us to learn more and to join the struggle to build a broad-based peace movement in Boston and beyond.

Boston United National Antiwar Coalition,,

Stop the Wars Coalition,

Jewish Voice for Peace Boston,

Veterans For Peace, Smedley Butler Brigade,

Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights,

Boston Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,

Boston United for Justice with Peace Coalition,

Code Pink Greater Boston,

Pardon Private Bradley Manning Stand-Out-Central Square, Cambridge, Wednesday January 2nd, 5:00 PM


Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Free Private Bradley Manning-President Obama Pardon Bradley Manning -Make Every Town Square In America (And The World) A Bradley Manning Square From Boston To Berkeley to Berlin-Join Us In Central Square, Cambridge, Ma. For A Stand-Out For Bradley- Wednesday January 2, 2013 From 5:00-6:00 PM


The Private Bradley Manning case is headed toward a late - winter trial now scheduled for March 2013. The recent news on his case has centered on the many (since last April) pre-trial motions hearings including defense motions to dismiss for lack of speedy trial (Private Manning’s pre-trial confinement is now at 900 plus days), dismissal as a matter of freedom of speech and minimal effect on alleged national security issues (issues for us to know what the hell the government is doing either in front of us, or behind our backs) and dismissal based on serious allegations of torturous behavior by the military authorities extending far up the chain of command while Private Manning was detained in Kuwait and at the Quantico Marine brig for about a year ending in April 2011. In December Private Manning himself, as well as others including senior military mental health workers, took the stand to detail those abuses.

Some more important recent news from the November 2012 pre-trail sessions is the offer by the defense to plead guilty to lesser charges (wrongful, unauthorized use of the Internet, etc.) in order to clear the deck and have the major (with a possibility of a life sentence) espionage /aiding the enemy issue solely before the court-martial judge (a single military judge, the one who has been hearing the pre-trial motions, not a lifer-stacked panel). Other news includes the increased media attention by mainstream outlets around the case, as well as an important statement by three Nobel Peace Laureates (including Bishop Tutu from South Africa) calling on their fellow laureate, United States President Barack Obama, to free Private Manning from his jails.

Since September 2011, in order to publicize Private Manning’ case, there have been weekly stand-outs (as well as other more ad hoc and sporadic events) in various locations in the Greater Boston area starting in Somerville across from the Davis Square Redline MBTA stop (renamed Pardon Bradley Manning Square for the stand-out’s duration) in Somerville on Friday afternoons and later on Wednesdays. Lately this stand-out has been held on each week on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:00 PM in order to continue to broaden our outreach at Central Square, Cambridge, Ma. (small park at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Prospect Street just outside the Redline MBTA stop, also renamed Manning Square for the duration of the stand-out). Join us. President Obama Pardon Private Manning Now!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

On The 224th Anniversary- IN THE TIME OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE-Paris 1793



This year marks the 223rd anniversary of the beginning of the Great French Revolution with storming of the Bastille. An old Chinese Communist leader, Zhou Enlai, was asked by a reporter to sum up the important lessons of the French Revolution. In reply he answered that it was too early to tell what those lessons might be. Whether that particular story is true or not it does contain one important truth. Militants today at the beginning of the 21st century can still profit from reading the history of that revolution.

The French Revolution, like its predecessor the American Revolution, is covered with so much banal ceremony, flag- waving, unthinking sunshine patriotism and hubris it is hard to see the forest for the trees. The Bastille action while symbolically interesting is not where the real action took place nor was it politically the most significant event. For militants that comes much later with the rise of the revolutionary tribunals and the Committee of Public Safety under the leadership of the left Jacobins Robespierre and Saint Just. Although the revolution began in 1789 its decisive phases did not take place until the period under discussion in this review, that is from June 1793 with the expulsion of the (for that time moderate) Gironde deputies from the National Convention. That event ushered in the rule of extreme Jacobins under Robespierre and Saint Just through the vehicle of the Committee of Public Safety. That regime, the Republic of Virtue, as it is known to militants since that time and known as the Great Terror to the author of the book under review and countless others, lasted until July 1794. It was in turn ousted by a more moderate Jacobin regime (known historically as the Themidorian Reaction, a subject of fascination and discussion by militants, especially the Bolsheviks, ever since).

Robespierre’s and Saint Just’s overthrow in 1794 stopped the forward progression of the revolution although it did not return it back to the old feudal society. The forces unleashed by the revolution, especially among the land hungry peasantry, made that virtually impossible. In short, as has happened before in revolutionary history, the people and programs which supported the forward advancement of the revolution ran out of steam. The careerists, opportunists and those previously standing on the sidelines took control until they too ran out of steam. Then, not for the first or last time, the precarious balance of the different forces in society clashed and called out for a strongman. Napoleon Bonaparte was more than willing to be obliging when that time came.

Mr. Loomis takes great pains to disassociate himself not just from the excesses of the period (the executions) but seemingly the whole notion of democratic revolution at that time. He essentially favors a constitutional monarchy, and let the revolution stop there. In short, a regime run by a Lafayette-type- but with brains. Great revolutions, however, do not go halfway, despite the best laid plans of humankind. That said, why would militants read this book which paints everyone to the left of the most moderate Girondists as some kind of monster or at least an accomplice? If militants only read pro-revolutionary tracts then they are missing an important part of their education- the fight against patented bourgeois mystification of events. The terror in Paris is a question that needs to be dealt with critically by us while we defend the members of the Committee of Public Safety in their efforts to defend France against internal hostile elements of the old regime and the counterrevolutionary Europe powers. And at the same time defend the Committee’s program of social democracy initiated in order to maintain their base among the sans-culottes.

That said, every place Mr. Loomis places a minus we do not necessarily place a plus. We need to do our own sifting out of revolutionaries from the pretenders. Mlle. Corday by all accounts was a royalist at heart before she murdered Marat. Marat was by all accounts a fanatic. You cannot, however, make a revolution without theses types. A combat-type revolutionary party, if such a party existed in Paris at the time which this writer does not believe did exist, would rein a Marat in. Danton is still an equivocal character who wanted to stop the revolution at his threshold. A Danton-Robespierre political bloc could have carried the revolution over some tough spots. That was not to be. The fault lies in the personality of Robespierre.

Moreover, the execution of the leading Hebertists was a serious mistake, as it weakened the Committee’s base of support among the sans-culottes.Robespierre and Saint Just are portrayed here as little more than monsters. But without those two figures the contours of the revolution would have been different, if it had survived the Coalition military forces arrayed against it at all. The question of the military defense of the revolution and its requirements domestically takes short shrift in Mr. Loomis’s account. That is the book’s abiding error. Robespierre headed the key administrative component of that defense. Saint Just was instrumental in the military aspect of that defense. One can rightly ask, with the possible exception of Carnot, who else could have organized that defense? One should moreover note that a revolution brings the fore all kinds of personalities, not all of them as well- adjusted as modern humankind (sic) - it however, can never be reduced solely to that factor. Thus, militants should look for other sources elsewhere in order to find ammunition in defense of Robespierre and Saint Just. Apparently, according to Mr. Loomis and others, they are in need of defending. Nevertheless, they are worthy of honor in any militant’s pantheon. Enough said.

When The Blues Was Dues- Song For Woody

…he came out of the prairies like the fire, like the wind. And like the wind no prairie could hold him long, hold him from the doing he planned to be doing, planned to be making, hell, planned, just planned. So if anybody asks you, or worse, anybody tries to tell you that his plainsong adventure was all ad lib, was put together helter-skelter with scissors and paste (real scissors and paste for those too young to remember such ancient ways of fitting a thing up, making it right against mankind imperfections, or maybe were too young to remember him except through parents, or grandparents ,or now maybe even ancient thickset, hard of hearing angel great-grandparents) , all mirrors and mirages like some snake oil salesman or carny barker, don’t believe them, just don’t.
Yah, like the wind he roamed out of those okie hills, all threadbare, all morning dust, all noon dust, all evening dust, all dust broke, all dust finished, and like a million okies before him he lit out for the west and more space (east, east had no appeal, had no sex appeal for him but was like some worked- out barren mine, a place to pass by, or die in), mountains, canyons, arroyos, rios strewn every which way, then to the flatlands past the Sierras on down to the sea, the pacific sea. And there in the valley camps, there in the wicked miserable bracero fields, sweated, back-breaking labor not fit for man no woman (although not as miserable as those played-out okie fields, now bank repossessed) he got his voice. Got the rhythm of his people not turning back (where would they go, and why, why with all hell playing out on those dusty prairies) taking one final land’s end stand before Jehovah himself. And he sang like some latter-day poet Whitman, and they listened, listened to their okie bard, as he sang of their trials and tribulations, and maybe his own.

Oh yah, sure he loved women, jesus, everybody wants to know about that even if they can’t remember the lyrics to his plainsong, loved every woman who gave him an eye, a shy eye, a bold eye, maybe even one-eye but that look, or maybe just the thought of that look, got him into many a bed, wedded bed mate (she wedded) or not. Until, until he got that okie dust feeling, that moving on down the line feeling, or maybe she thought twice about leaving Hank, or Jimmy, or Bill when he, seeing another eye cast his way, a shy, eye, a bold eye, maybe even one-eye, and saved him the bother of sneaking out that third floor back window and catching that Southern Pacific to parts unknown, yah, to parts unknown and a fresh start, as long as he could get that okie dust out of his throat and some pacific waters, foam-flecked, white-capped to wash him clean.
And then, well then, roaming and bumming, and bumming and roaming (and smoking and drinking and whoring, alright) took their toll, he lost his voice, not the physical voice but that voice that drove his plainsong, and he took to bed, took himself back east (that east that had no sex appeal, that was to be passed by, or was a place to die), and he collapsed in on himself, turned to a monster of himself before the end, the feeble end. But just before then, just that minute when that lost voice was ready to give out for good, he asked, no he begged, no he ordered, no he commanded, in one last fit of okie hubris that under no conditions, was he to be buried out in that throat-clogging okie wasteland. Nah, just throw his silly (his term) ashes over some blue-green high-flying, white wave ocean and be done with it…

***A Jeff Bridges Retrospective- “Stick It” (Yes, Stick It) - A Film Review

DVD Review

Stick It, starring Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, Touchstone Films, 2006

Over the past few years or so, since he won the Academy Award for best actor for his role as broken down country singer/songwriter Bad Blake in Crazy Hearts I have been reviewing the cinematic work of Jeff Bridges as his films have come into my hands. Most of my reviews have been positive reflecting the very real talent and flare that Jeff Bridges brings to the movies. That said, I am at a lost for why he did the film under review, Stick It, that while marginally entertaining at times is an incredible waste of his time and talent.

Now I am not, and never have been, privy to the decisions that actors make about taking on scripts. Maybe they see something in the plot line, maybe they are looking for something a little edgy, or maybe just for the dough, not an unimportant consideration in fickle movie land. But now I can add Jeff Bridges to the vast number of very talented actors that have been in “turkeys”, for whatever reason.

Strangely, it is not the subject matter, the trials and tribulation of a troubled, ex- or maybe not so ex- gymnast (Haley Graham, played by Missy Peregrym) trying to find her place in the world, the non-monastic gymnastics training world that is off here but the subtext that the teenage rebellion of a gymnast attempting to dramatically change the way the sport is conducted has enough energy to fill an hour and one half film. It really doesn’t since an amazing amount of time is spent in various clips of gym activity. And Jeff Bridges as a washed-out (kind of) gym camp owner is in the thick of this thing as Haley’s substitute father/confessor.

There are plenty of issues (sexual, physical, psychological) that could have been raised by a close look at the cult-like elite gymnastics world (or any high-level sports training) but none, other than a silly attack on the scoring system, are addressed by a film which decided that it did not want to tackle them and played instead to a kind of campy teenage melodrama. And high talent (although poor gymnast, incredible poor, making me feel practically like a champ in comparison, a very hard task to do, and sage) Jeff Bridges got caught in the middle.

Boston First Night- Copley Square New Year’s Eve Pardon Private Manning Stand-Out


Stand In Solidarity With Private Manning In Copley Square As We Celebrate The New Year, The Year Of Bradley’s Freedom. (This spot is now the traditional First Night spot for all those who want to stand against current wars, impeding wars, and for national liberation struggles so we will be among kindred spirits as people gather to watch the First Night parade that starts in the area later in the evening.)   


Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Free Private Bradley Manning-President Obama Pardon Bradley Manning -Make Every Town Square In America (And The World) A Bradley Manning Square From Boston’s Copley Square To Berkeley to Berlin-Join Us In Copley Square (at the Boston Public Library, corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Streets ), Boston , Ma. For A Stand-Out For Bradley- First Night, Monday December 31st From 3:00-5:00 PM


The Private Bradley Manning case is headed toward a late - winter trial now scheduled for March 2013. The recent news on his case has centered on the many (since last April) pre-trial motions hearings including defense motions to dismiss for lack of speedy trial (Private Manning’s pre-trial confinement is now at 900 plus days), dismissal as a matter of freedom of speech and minimal effect on alleged national security issues (issues for us to know what the hell the government is doing either in front of us, or behind our backs) and dismissal based on serious allegations of torturous behavior by the military authorities extending far up the chain of command while Private Manning was detained in Kuwait and at the Quantico Marine brig for about a year ending in April 2011. In December Private Manning himself, as well as others including senior military mental health workers, took the stand to detail those abuses.


Some more important recent news from the November 2012 pre-trail sessions is the offer by the defense to plead guilty to lesser charges (wrongful, unauthorized use of the Internet, etc.) in order to clear the deck and have the major (with a possibility of a life sentence) espionage /aiding the enemy issue solely before the court-martial judge (a single military judge, the one who has been hearing the pre-trial motions, not a lifer-stacked panel). Other news includes the increased media attention by mainstream outlets  around the case, as well as an important statement by three Nobel Peace Laureates  (including Bishop Tutu from South Africa) calling on their fellow laureate, United States President Barack Obama, to free Private Manning from his jails.


Since September 2011, in order to publicize Private Manning’ case, there have been weekly stand-outs (as well as other more ad hoc and sporadic events) in various locations in the Greater Boston area starting in Somerville across from the Davis Square Redline MBTA stop (renamed Pardon Bradley Manning Square for the stand-out’s duration) in Somerville on Friday afternoons and later on Wednesdays. Lately this stand-out has been held on each week on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:00 PM in order to continue to broaden our outreach at Central Square,

Cambridge, Ma. (Small Park at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Prospect Street just outside the Redline MBTA stop, also rename Manning Square for the duration.) Join us. President Obama Pardon Private Manning Now! &nbsp

Año First Night Boston Copley Square-Nuevo Manning Eva Perdón privado stand-out

Año First Night Boston Copley Square-Nuevo Manning Eva Perdón privado stand-out

En solidaridad con Manning privada Copley Square Al celebrar el Año Nuevo, el Año de la Libertad de Bradley. (Este lugar es ahora el lugar tradicional First Night para todos aquellos que quieren estar en contra de las guerras, las guerras actuales que impiden, por la liberación nacional y las luchas por lo que será uno de almas gemelas como las personas se reúnen para ver el desfile primera noche que comienza en la zona tarde en la noche.)

Vamos a redoblar nuestros esfuerzos para liberar privado Bradley Manning-Presidente Perdón Obama Bradley Manning-Hacer todo Plaza de la Ciudad en América (y el mundo) A Bradley Manning Square De Copley de Boston Square a Berkeley para nosotros Berlin-Join In Copley Square (en la Biblioteca Pública de Boston Biblioteca, esquina de las calles Boylston y Dartmouth), Boston, MA. Para un stand-out Por Bradley-First Night, lunes 31 de diciembre de 3:00-5:00 pm
The Private Bradley Manning caso se dirige hacia una tarde - juicio programado para el invierno ahora marzo de 2013. Las recientes noticias sobre su caso se ha centrado en los muchos (desde el pasado mes de abril) mociones previas al juicio audiencias, incluyendo peticiones de la defensa para desestimar por falta de juicio rápido (Private Manning prisión preventiva está ahora a 900 más días), el despido como una cuestión de la libertad de expresión y un efecto mínimo sobre presuntos problemas de seguridad nacionales (cuestiones para nosotros saber qué demonios está haciendo el gobierno, ya sea en frente de nosotros, o detrás de la espalda) y el despido basado en las graves denuncias de comportamiento tortuoso por las autoridades militares se extienden lejos de la cadena de mando mientras soldado Manning fue detenido en Kuwait y en el bergantín Quantico Marine alrededor de un año que terminó en abril de 2011. En diciembre del mismo Manning privado, así como de otras personas, incluyendo altos militares de los trabajadores de salud mental, subió al estrado al detalle esos abusos.

Algunas noticias recientes más importantes de los 11 2012 preventiva de sesiones es el ofrecimiento de la defensa de declararse culpable de cargos menores (uso indebido, no autorizado de Internet, etc) con el fin de limpiar la cubierta y tiene la mayor (con un posibilidad de una sentencia de cadena perpetua) espionaje / ayudar al enemigo cuestión únicamente ante el juez de la corte marcial (un solo juez militar, el que ha estado escuchando las mociones previas al juicio, no un grupo condenado a cadena perpetua en fichas). Otras noticias incluye la mayor atención de los medios por los medios de la corriente principal en torno al caso, así como una declaración importante por tres Premios Nobel de la Paz (incluido el obispo Tutu de Sudáfrica) pidiendo a su laureado compañero, el presidente estadounidense Barack Obama, al soldado Manning libre de sus cárceles.

Desde septiembre de 2011, a fin de dar a conocer el caso Manning privada ', ha habido semanal stand-outs (así como otro anuncio más hoc y eventos esporádicos) en varios lugares en el área metropolitana de Boston a partir de Somerville al otro lado de la Davis Square Redline MBTA detener (rebautizada Perdón Bradley Manning Square durante la duración del stand-out 's) en Somerville viernes por la tarde y más tarde de los miércoles. Últimamente esta posición de salida ha tenido lugar en cada semana los miércoles 5:00-18:00 con el fin de seguir ampliando nuestro alcance en Central Square, Cambridge, MA. (Pequeño parque en la esquina de Massachusetts Avenue y Prospect Street justo fuera de la parada de Redline MBTA, también cambia el nombre de Plaza de Manning para el resto.) Únase a nosotros. Presidente Obama Manning Perdón PRIVADAS ahora mismo!

From “The Lonesome Hobo” Series –“The Old Man’s Old Sea”

It was dawn, or maybe just those few minutes before the dawn, those dark light minutes when the sun’s battle for the day coming over the ocean’s eastern horizon is set. The waves splashed, although that day not so innocently, against the waiting sand, sand beaten down since time immemorial. This beach, this northern clime beach, the far end of Olde Saco, Maine beach, was filled with empty clam shells waiting sandification (if that is the name for it, that long process of grinding down to dust and fine enough for angel bums, angel beachcomber explorations, angel teen bikini beach blanket bingo boy –girl lolls, if not then close enough), abandoned and mislaid lobster traps (better brush up on the law of the seas, and keep a heavy object handy against those uncivilized enough to demand their washed-up crates back) occasional oil slicks spilled from the trawlers (also a law of the seas but not chargeable except in immense smears) working trawlers nearby (the crew hoping that the pre-dawn coffee holds out until they get to the killing fields), the flotsam and jetsam streamed here of a thousand ships, cargoes, careless throwaways and conscious, very conscious dumpings (law of the seas be damned) , like the sea was just another land-fill wanting filling.

That day though he was ready, ready for the hundredth hundredth time to walk the walk, the ocean walk that has defined more parts of him than heaven will ever know. Walk the walking daddy walk, he called it now (long ago calling it high, benny high, or maybe weed high, walking arm and arm with some sun browned-skinned honey, some ex-surfer’s girl, slumming against the next new thing, testing the waters around the edge of the 1960s summer of love night, down on Malibu or LaJolla oceans, walking with the king, walking then with some sex-driven purpose, whispering that purpose in her ear, or hopes, heard from some mad monk jazz man trying to hit the high white note out in “Frisco town). As he buttoned up his slicker against the April winds that came there more often than not he saw, saw faintly in the distance, a figure, a fellow traveler taking his, her or its’ (don’t laugh he had seen horses, unridden horses, trotting these beaches, although no sea monsters), maybe also hundredth hundredth walk along the ocean sidewalk, and maybe, just maybe, for the same reason.

Today, hundredth, hundredth walk or not, he was in a remembering mood, a high dudgeon remembering mood that always got triggered by proximity, anywhere within fifty mile proximity if the truth be known, to the ocean. He had just finished up a piece of work, a small journal small paid piece of work, a recollection really, borne of fierce schoolboy night remembrances, that reminded him of seas, sea-sides, sea walks, sea rocks, ocean-side carnival amusement parks placed on jutting piers as if to mock the intrinsic interest that one would have in the sea, our homeland the sea, and he needed to sort this out, this sea-memory desecration also for that now familiar ten-thousandth time. He thought then that maybe he had better begin at the beginning in order to sort things out, or try to, so he would be finished in that hour or so that it would take him to walk this walk, this rambling ocean walk, this no walking daddy walk (although now that he thought about it walking daddy might have some sexual purpose behind it as well reminding of old day ex-surfer’s girl, blankets wrapped around and fondlings in wayward deserted beach corners, but that was for another time, that thought ), and about that time he would pass that solitary walker coming the other way and be obliged under some law of the sea to break his train of thought and remark on the nature of the day, the nature of the ocean, and the immense joys of foam-flecked ocean-ness brought forth by old King Neptune to that passing stranger.

Ah, memory, jesus, just the names, Taffrail Road, Yardarm Lane, Captain's Walk, Quarterdeck Road, Sextant Circle, and the Snug Harbor Elementary School tell a story all on their own. Yes, those names, those seemingly misplaced, misbegotten names and places from the old housing project down over in Olde Saco (called Irishtown and Frenchtown by the locals depending on the street but generically known as the Acre to the general public passing by), his old hometown, and where he came of age surely evoked imagines of the sea, of long ago sailing ships, and of desperate, high stakes battles fought off shrouded, mist-covered coasts by those hearty enough to seek fame and fortune. And agile enough to keep it. Almost from his first wobbly, halting baby steps down at “the projects” he had been physically drawn to the sea, a seductive, foam-flecked siren call that had never left him.

Needless to say with that ocean as a backdrop, ever since he was a toddler his imagination, his sense of imagery, his sense of the nature of the world has been driven by the sea as well. Not so much of pirates and prizes, although those drove his early youth a bit but of the power of nature, for good or evil. And on those long ago days, just like now, he was dressed against the impending inclement weather with his mustard yellow rain slicker(French’s mustard color not Guiden’s, okay) complete with Gloucester fisherman’s rain floppy rain hat of the same color and rubber boots, black, knee-length boots that went squish, squish and have since before time immemorial.

Of course, anybody with any sense knows that anyone who had even a passing attachment to a place like Olde Saco, tucked in a bay, an Atlantic bay, had to have an almost instinctual love of the sea; and, a fear of its furies when old Mother Nature turned her back on us. Yes, the endless sea, our homeland the sea, the mother we never knew, the sea... But enough of those imaginings. If being determines consciousness, and if you love the ocean, then it does not hurt to have been brought up in Olde Saco with its ready access to the bay and water on three sides. That said, the focal point for any experience with the ocean in Olde Saco centered, naturally, around its longest stretch of beach, Olde Saco Central Beach. Puny by beach far-as-the-eye-can-see standards, Olde Saco puny by Carlsbad (California Carlsbad) farther-than-the-eye-can-see standards but a place to learn the ropes of how to deal with the sea, with its pitfalls, its mysteries, it lure, and its lore.

For those of a certain age brought forth by the sea he thought one could not discuss Olde Saco Central Beach properly without reference to such spots such as Aunt Jenny’s famous landmark ice cream stand (now a woe-begotten clam shack of no repute). For those who are clueless as to what he spoke of, or have only heard about it in mythological terms from older relatives, or worst, had written it off as just another ice cream joint you can only dream of such heavens although someone, not him, not him today as he remembranced with a broad stroke and had no time for pretty descriptions, for literary flourishes, should really do themselves proud and write the history, yah, the child’s view history of that establishment. And make the theme, make the theme if you will, the bond between New England love of ice cream and of the sea (yes, it is true, other parts of the country, other ocean parts of the country as well, are, well, nonplussed by the ice cream idea, and it shows in their product).

Know this for now though: many a hot, muggy, sultry, sweaty summer evening was spent in line impatiently, and perhaps, on occasion, beyond impatience, waiting for one of those 21 (or was it 22?) flavors to cool off with. In those days the prize went to cherry vanilla in a sugar cone (backup: frozen pudding). He would not bore the reader with superlative terms and“they don’t make them like they use to,” especially for those who only know “Aunt Jenny’s ” from the later, pale imitation franchise days out on some forsaken turnpike highway, but at that moment, that child moment ,he was in very heaven.

Nor can one forget those stumbling, fumbling, fierce childish efforts, bare-footed against all motherly caution about the dreaded jellyfish, pail and shovel in hand, to dig for seemingly non-existent clams down toward the Pineville Cove end of the beach at the, in those days, just slightly oil-slicked, sulfuric low tide. Or the smell of charcoal-flavored hot dogs on those occasional family barbecues (when one in a series of old jalopies that his father drove worked well enough to get the family there) at the then just recently constructed old Treasure Island that were some of the too few times when his family acted as a family. Or the memory of roasted, really burnt, sticky marshmallows sticking to the roof of his mouth.

But those thoughts and smells were not the only ones that interested him that day. No trip down memory lane would be complete without at least a passing reference to high school Olde Saco Central Beach. The sea brings out many emotions: humankind's struggle against nature, some Zen notions of oneness with the universe, the calming effect of the thundering waves, thoughts of mortality, and so on. But it also brings out the primordial longings for companionship. And no one longs for companionship more than teenagers. So the draw of the ocean is not just in its cosmic appeal but hormonal, as well. Mind you, however, he was not thinking here of the nighttime Olde Saco Beach scene (really down at the Seal Rock end way from maddening beach ball families, away from French- Canadian homeland tourists, away from nosey Acre parents), the time of "parking" and the "submarine races". His thoughts were now pure as the driven snow. Hence he thought to confine himself to the day time beach.

Virtually from the day he and his friends (his corner boy friends from his high school hang-out over at Mama’s Pizza Parlor, the one with the gigantic jukebox with huge beautiful latest rock and roll selections and five for a quarter over on Spruce Street, not the one on Pleasant Street which was for, for, hell, the families looking to have a mom’s night off pizza, Jesus, no) got out of school for the summer vacation they headed for the beach. And not just any section of that beach but the section directly between the Pineville Yacht Club and the Pine Tree Boat Club. Now were those corner boys situating themselves in that spot done so that they could watch all the fine boats at anchor? Or was this the best swimming location on the beach? Hell no, this is where they heard (and here include his old running pal and classmate, Frankie, Francis Xavier Riley) all the "babes" were. Information passed down from generation to generation since, he guessed they invented teenage-ness a hundred years or so back. Those beat teens were, apparently, under the influence of Beach Blanket Bingo or some such teenage beach film. (For those who are again clueless this was a grade B ‘boy meets girl’ saga the plot behind a thousand Hollywood films, except not always on the beach.)

Well, for those who expected a movie-like happy ending to this section of the remembrance piece, you know, where he meets a youthful "Ms. Right" to the strains of the song Sea of Love, forget it. (That is the original Sea of Love, by the way, not the one used in the movie of the same name sung by Tom Waits at the end, and a cover that you should listen to on YouTube.) He will keep the gory details short, though. As fate would have it there may have been "babes" aplenty down there but not for that lad. He was just too socially awkward (read, tongue-tied) to get up the nerve to talk to girls (female readers substitute boys here). And on reflection, if the truth were to be known, he would not have known what to do about such a situation in any case. No job, no money and, most importantly, no car for a date to watch one of those legendary "submarine races." But one can hardly fault the sea for that, right?

But visions of nearly one-half century ago hardly exhaust the lure of the sea. And, speaking of visions, that fellow sea-seeker he mentioned that he saw a while ago, coming from the other end of the beach was starting to take shape, it was a he, our man could tell by the walk, by the sea walk that men put on when they are alone with their thoughts, although beyond that the sea-seeker was too far away for him to determine age, class (this is a very democratic beach, in most spots, with few vulgar and almost universally disregarded no-trespassing-private property-keep out-beware-of-dogs-police-take-notice signs), or physical description, as the suppressed light from the cloudy morning day gets a little brighter

Funny, some people he had known, including those he grew up with, grew up with breathing ocean air and who started with a love of the sea much as he did, moved to Kansas, Omaha, Peoria, Winnemucca or some such place, some such distinctly non-ocean place and never looked back. Christ, as was well known by one and all who knew him he got very nervous even then when, as a city boy, he went to the country and did not have the feel of city lights to comfort him. Not as well- known was the fact, the hard fact that he got nervous, very nervous, when he was not within driving distance of some ocean, say that fifty miles mentioned above. So keep, please keep, your Kansas, your Omaha, your Peoria, and your damn blessed Winnemucca and let him be, be in places like Bar Harbor, Maine, Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Sanibel Island, Florida, Carlsbad, California (hell no, not the New Mexico one ), Mendocino, ditto California, Seattle, Washington just to name a few places on this continent, and there are many others, and on other continents, or the edges of other continents, as well. And stories, plenty of stories, which he doesn’t have time to tell you now except for one that will stand in as an exemplar for what he meant. By the way that form, that mannish form, coming toward him was looking more like a young man by the speed of his walk, and he too seemed to have on a the favored sea dog yellow rain jacket.


Visions of Angelica, Angelica of the homeland sea, January 1970.

I waved good-bye to Angelica, once again, as she drove off from the ocean front campsite that we had been camping out on, the Leo Carrillo State Park near Point Magoo about fifty miles or so north of Los Angeles. She will now drive the road back in her green Ford Hertz unlimited mileage, mid-size rental (paid for, as she explained one night, by her parents whose golden age of the automobile-frenzied minds counted it as a strike against me, a very big strike, that when I had “kidnapped” their daughter on the 1969 blue-pink summer road west down in Steubenville, Ohio I didn’t even have a car). She planned (on my advice) to drive back mostly on the ocean-abutted, white-capped waves smashing against jagged ancient shore rocks, Pacific Coast Highway down through Malibu and Santa Monica to take one last look at the Pacific Ocean as the final point on her first look ocean trip, on the way to LAX to take a flight back to school days Muncie, Indiana.

She will also be driving back to the airport and getting on that miserable plane east knowing as I do since we talked about it incessantly during her stay, that some right things, or at least some maybe right things, like our being together last summer heading free west and for these two January weeks in front of the sea, our homeland the sea, before her classes started again, got caught up in the curious web of the human drama. For no understandable reason. Hey, you already knew this if you have ever had even that one teeny-weeny, tiny, minuscule love affair that just had no place to go, or no time to take root, or just got caught out there in the blue-pink night. Yah, you know that story. But let me take some minutes to tell you this one. If it seems very familiar and you “know” the plot line well then just move on.

To get you up to speed after Angelica and I had been on the heartland hitchhike road (and places like Moline, Neola, and Omaha are nothing but the heartland, good or bad), she, well, she just got tired of it, tired of the lacks, tired of the uncertainties of the road. Hell hell-on-wheels, I was getting tired of it myself except I was a man on a mission. The nature of that mission is contained in the words“search for the blue-pink great American West night” thus the particulars of that mission need not detain us here. So in Neola, Iowa, Neola, Iowa of all places aided by “fairy grandmother” Aunt Betty, who ran the local diner where Angelica worked to help make us some dough to move on, and her own sense of dreams she called it quits back in September. Aunt Betty drove us to Omaha where Angelica took the bus back east, Indiana east from Nebraska, to hometown Muncie and I hit Interstate 80 West headed first to Denver before the snows, or so I hoped.

Honestly, although we exchanged addresses and telephone numbers where messages could be left, or where we could speak to each other (her parents’ house not being one of them), and made big plans to reunite in California in January during her school break, I didn’t really think that once we were off the road together that those plans would pan out.

Now I may not remember all my reasoning at the time this far removed, the now of my telling this story many years later, but I had had enough relationships with women to sense this one was good, very good, while it lasted but it could not survive the parting. Not one of those overused “absence makes the heart grow fonder” things you hear about. And, truth to tell, because I thought that was the way things would play out, I started getting focused back on Boston Joyell more than a little as I walked a lot, stood at the shoulder of the hitchhike road a lot, and fitfully got my rides on the road west.

But see this is where you think you have something figured out just so and then it goes awry. Angelica called, left messages, sent letters, even a telegram, to Denver (to the commune where, Jack and Mattie, my traveling companions on the final leg west whom I had met earlier in the spring on a different trip down to D.C., were staying). She sent more communications in early December saying that she was still coming to Los Angeles as well where we three stayed with a few artistic friends of Jack and Mattie’s. Cinema-crazed artistic friends, including one budding film director who, moreover, had great dope connections right into the heart of Mexico. This is where they would stay while I planned to push the hitchhike road north heading to San Francisco.

I once, in running through one of the scenes in this hitchhike road show, oh yah, it was the Neola scene, mentioned that in Angelica what you saw was what you got, what she said was what she meant, and both those were good things indeed. And so if I had thought about it a minute of course she was coming to California in January and staying with me for her two week break, and maybe longer. So when January came she contacted me though John and Mattie, who like I said were now staying with this very interesting experimental film-maker, David, in the Hollywood hills and canyons. I started back south to L.A. in order to meet her at the airport. From there I had it planned that we would go to Point Magoo and camp out like in the“old days” at an ocean front state park.

Needless to say when I greeted her at LAX we both were all smiles, I was in more than all smiles mode, because I had been “stag” for a while and she was, well, fetching as always, or almost always. Here though is where I noticed that the road really is not for everyone. In Neola, and later getting on the bus back home in Omaha, poor Angelica looked pretty haggard but at the airport, well like I said, she was fetching.

And, guess what, she brought her sleeping bag that we got for her in a Lexington, Kentucky Army-Navy Store when we first seriously started on the road west. And the first thing she said about it was, referring to a little in-joke between us, “it fits two, in a pinch.” Be still my heart. So we gathered up her stuff, did the airport exit stuff (easier in those days) and picked up the outside shuttle to the Hertz car rental terminal. We were jabbering away like crazy, but best of all, we were like, a little, those first days last summer back in that old-time Steubenville truck stop diner and cabin when I first met her.

Of course, part of the trip for her, part of what she went as far as she could with me on the hitchhike road for, was to get to California and see what it was all about, and what the ocean was all about since she was a heartland girl who had never seen the ocean before. When we got to Point Magoo she flipped out, she flipped out mostly at the idea that we would stay, could stay, right on the beach in front of the ocean. And just like a kid, just like I did when I was kid and saw the ocean, when she saw the Pacific, she jumped right in. Hell, she was so excited she almost got caught in a small riptide. I had to go drag her out. I won’t say we had fun every minute of those weeks acting out our ocean nomadic existence, but most minutes, and I could see that she felt the same way.

Naturally, as time drifted away toward her return flight date we talked more and more about what the future, if any, held in store for us. She was adamant about not going back on the road, she was adamant as well that she wanted to finish school and make something of herself. I had no serious defense against that practical wisdom. And, truthfully, I wasn’t, toward the end of her stay, pushing the issue, partially because even I could see that it made sense but also, we had had a “flare-up”over the Boston Joyell question (I am being polite here).

But it was more than that; the flat out, hungry truth was that I really didn’t know how to deal with a Midwestern what you see is what you get woman like Angelica. I was more used to virtuous Irish Catholic girls who drove me crazy as a kid getting me all twisted up about religion, about nice girls, and about duplicity when I found out what the real score was with this type of young girl/ woman later. I was also, and Joyell was the epitome of this type, totally in sync (well, as much as a man can be) with the Harvard Square folksy, intellectual, abstract idealist, let’s-look-at-everything-from-twenty-two different angles, what is the meaning of human relationships 24/7 kind of woman. And fatally attracted to them (and still am). This Angelica look at things only a couple of ways, let’s work things out easy-like, heavens, let’s not analyze everything to the nth degree flipped me out. Angelica was a breath of fresh air and, maybe, maybe, about ten years later, and two divorces later to boot, I would have had that enough sense god gave geese to hold onto her with both hands, tightly, very tightly. But I was in my blue-pink search phase and not to be detoured.

Of course all this hard work of trying to understand where we stood put a little crack in our reason for being together in the first place. The search for, search for something. Maybe, for her, it was just that life minute at the ocean and then on to regular life minutes out in the thickets of the white picket fences. She never said it then in so many words but that seemed to be the aim. And to be truthful, although I was only just barely thinking about it at the time, as the social turmoil of the times got weird, diffuse, and began to evaporate things started to lose steam. As we were, seemingly, endlessly taking our one-sided beatings as those in charge started a counter-offensive ( a counter-offensive still going on) people, good people, but people made of human clay nevertheless got tired of the this and that existence, even Joyell. Joyell of Harvard Square folksy, intellectual, abstract idealist, let’s-look-at-everything-from-twenty-two different angles, what is the meaning of relationships 24/7 was also weary and wary of what was next and where she fit into “square” society. Christ, enough of that, we know, or knew, that song too well.

A couple of days before Angelica was to leave, and on a day when the sun seemed especially bright, especially bright for then smog-filled Los Angeles January, and warm, not resident warm but Boston and Muncie warm, sat like two seals sunning ourselves in the glow of mother ocean she nudged me and asked me if I had a joint. Now Angelica liked a little vino now and then but I can’t recall her ever doing a joint (grass, marijuana, herb, ganja, whatever you call it in your woods). So this is new. The problem, although not a big one in ocean-side state park 1970 Southern California, was that I was not “holding.” No problem though, a few spots down the beach was an old well-traveled, kind of beat-up Volkswagen van that I knew, knew just as sure as I was standing on that white sand beach, was “holding.” I went over, asked around, and “bingo” two nice big joints came traveling with me back to our campsite. Oh, daddy, daddy out in the be-bop blue-pink night thank you brother van man. For just a minute, just that 1970 California minute, the righteous did inherit the earth.

Back at our camp site Angelica awaited the outcome of my quest, although she also wanted to wait until later, until the day’s sun started going down a bit more to go into that smoked-filled good night. When that later came Angelica was scared/ thrilled, as she tried to smoke the one I lit up for her and started coughing like crazy, but that was nothing then. Everybody, at least everybody I knew, went through that same baptism. But Jesus, did we get mellow, that stuff, as was most stuff then, was primo, not your ragweed bull stuff that ran the rounds later. And why should it have not been so as we were so close to the then sane Mexican border of those days to get the good stuff.

But all of this build-up over this dope scene is so much filler, filler in those days when if you didn’t at least take a pipe full (inhale or not, like it or not) you were a square “squared.”What the stuff did for Angelica, and through Angelica to me, got her to open up a little. No, not about family, or old boyfriends, or her “this and that”problems. No, but kind of deep, kind of deep somewhere that she maybe didn’t know existed. Deep as I had ever heard her before. She talked about her fate, the fate of the fates, about what was going on in the world, no, not politics; she was organically incapable of that. Mystics stuff, getting in touch with the sea homeland stuff, earth mother stuff too in a way. Dope-edged stuff sure but when she compared the splashing foam-flecked waves to some cosmic force that I forget how she put it (remember I was dope-addled as well) then for just that moment, just that moment when the old red-balled sun started to dip to the horizon on one of those fairly rare days when it met the ocean I swear that Angelica knew, knew in her heart, knew in her soul even, what the blue-pink American West dream stuff I had bombarded her with was all about. That was our moment, and we both knew it.

So when leaving came a couple of days later and we both knew, I think, as we packed up her things, including that well-used sleeping bag, we had come to a parting of the roads. As I put her stuff in the rental car she sweetly blurted out something I was also thinking, “I’ll always remember that night we made the earth under the cabin in Steubenville shake.” And I thought I bet she will, although she forgot the part about the making the roof of the cabin move too. And so there I was, waving as she drove off to her Angelica dreams. And I never saw her again.
But enough of ancient thoughts, of ancient sea thoughts, and ancient sea loves because just now he saw that previously distant figure on the beach was none other than a young boy, a young boy of maybe six or seven, not older he was sure. About fifty yards away he stopped, as boys and girls will when confronted with the endless treasures of the sea, and was intently looking at some sea object although the old geezer could not make it out from his distance. What he could make out, make out very plainly, was that he was wearing a mustard yellow rain slicker (French’s mustard color not Guiden’s) complete with a Gloucester fisherman’s floppy rain hat of the same color and knee-deep rubber boots, black, of course. As they approached each other the old geezer noticed that the lad had that same determined sea walk that he had carried with him since childhood. The old geezer looked at the lad intensely, the young lad looked at the old geezer intensely, and they nodded as they passed each other. No words, no remarks on the nature of the day, the nature of the ocean, and the joys of ocean-ness brought forth by old King Neptune need be spoken between them . The nod, the ocean swell, and the ocean sound as the waves crashed almost to the sand beneath their feet, spoke for them. The torch had been passed.

From “The Lonesome Hobo” Series -Scenes In Search Of The Blue-Pink Great American West Night

These flash scenes were originally conceived (born in some drift-less night, virginally born, hah, nights really, memory high, blasted on sixteen old time highs, benny, miff, sister, brother, boy, girl, jesus, sweet jesus, weed, mary jane bless her heated heart was the least of it), as separate entries, as separate dream thoughts, and they can be read as such. They can also be read, collectively in sequence, as part of a greater experience and thus I have gathered them together here in one place. The genesis of these bump in the night scenes, or stories if you insist, initially came together, as will be noted further below, as a result of a question, no, not a question really but a sense of bewilderment, a” what the hell are you trying to tell us, why, and what for,” that a young friend of mine, a cosmic traveler in his own right gleaned from the times that I have occasion to speak to him, speak his dream words vocabulary and thus comprehend a little, had about my use of the term “in search of the blue-pink great American West night” in many of the sketches that I was writing some time back. That point blank query lead to some necessary introspection on my part about the great 1960s hitchhike highway, physical, mental and spiritual of my youth and I belted out a short reply. But that was hardly the end of it. The reply triggered further remembrances and, as such things do, triggered some more after that and led to the stream of be-bop road scenes.
Of course that young friend’s spark only tells part of the story. No question that I had already been thinking a lot about those 1960s days, and the influence of re-re-reading Jack Kerouac’s “beat”travelogues, especially On The Road during that period is, or should be, obvious as well. I made many trips across the country in those days, mostly through use of the hitchhike thumb, for lack of cash if no other reason, but the choice of the mainly 1969 sweet youth, sweet youth love, sweet Angelica-laced company trip scenes are calculated to give the best sense of those trips, and the closest I every came to finding out some truth on that damn blue –pink quest. And if all those reasons individually, or collectively, do not tell the story behind the scenes then let’s just leave it as this-the restlessness that drove that youthful quest is still in my bones, still driving my old bones enough to keep me restless forty years later. Hey there is still some of that lonesome hobo wandering left, left unresolved, left thumb-less in the gentle rain good night. Enough said.
Original Introduction

I have recently been taken to task by a young friend, a cosmic traveler if not a physical one in his own right, and not without some similar political, social, and cultural understandings, some dreams of his own, although to connect we must speak his dream words vocabulary or else stand naked and mute. This fellow sits on a committee that I have belonged to for the past several years (and that I have written about previously in other contexts, contexts not pertinent to this reply) who was miffed (I am being polite although the stronger language used was not done in anger, but rather bewilderment, or something close to that state ) at me for my constant use of the term, or variations of the term, “the great American night”, especially when dealing with the 1950s “beat” generation writers (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs and the usual suspects). Now this young friend is one of the fellow members, a younger one as I said, that I go back to the days of ancient memory Bush post-9/11 Afghan October war, bombing-them-back-them-to-the-stone-age, with, and who helped us, in all manner of ways, to get through those tough days when opposition to that war on the streets of Boston, and elsewhere in America, was an extremely dicey thing. So under normal circumstances I would be all ears when he had some comment or criticism to make. But here he is just “cannon fodder” for screed.

But there is more gnawing at me than making a public point at his expense. Go back to that young brother's point. We all come to our cultural politics, young or old, in our own ways, and in our own good time. I have always been somewhat amazed at the variety of such experiences that, by now, almost defy categorization. We also come to our personal predilections for expressing our cultural politics in much the same way. Jazz, be-bop, bop-bop, techno-hop, hip-hop, poetry slam, folk jam, and so on. For a fact though he knows not, and I have drilled him on this, of ancient dreams of blue-pink great American West night dreaming old men, passed down from older men (mostly). Know or not know though, here is his answer.
There is no question that over the past year or so I have been deep in remembrances of the influences, great and small, of the 1950s“beats” on my own sorry teen-aged alienation and teen-aged angst (sometimes they were separate anguishes, sometimes tied together like inseparable twins, mostly the later) and the struggle to find my place in the sun, to write in bright lights my own beat plainsong. Of course, that "beat" influence was blown over me second-hand as I was just a little too young, or a little too wide-world unconscious, to be there at the creation, on those first roads west, those first fitfully car-driven, gas-fuelled, thumb hanging-out, sore-footed, free exploration west roads, in body and mind that exploded in the immediate post-World War II walking daddy walk world. And of that first great rush of the adrenal in trying to discover, eternally discover as it has turned out, the search for the meaning of the great blue-pink American West night. Ah, pioneer-boys, thanks.

I just got a whiff, a passing whiff of that electric-charged air, the sweet “be-bop”, bop-bop, real gone daddy, cooled-out, pipe-filled with whatever (hash, the O , sweet jesus weed, jazz-sexed (Charley, Dizzy, Miles, Lester blowing that big fat sexy sax at the end) , high white note-blown (blown out the first time on some warm, drink sweaty, weather sweaty North Beach “Frisco night), howling in the wind plainsong afterglow. Moreover that whiff was somewhat tarnished, a little sullen and withdrawn, and media-used up by my time. (Christ, every television show, every mainstream media outlet it seemed had it mock-“beat”as counter-point to the sober real world, Ike’s sober real world of bombs and psychic beatings.) More than one faux black chino-wearing, black beret’d, stringy-bearded; nightshade sun-glassed, pseudo-poetic-pounding, television-derived fakir crossed my path in Harvard Square in those high stakes early 1960s high school days. A few real ones as well. (A couple, whom I still pass occasionally, giving a quick nod to, have never given up the ghost and still haunt the old square looking for the long-gone, storied 1962 Hayes-Bickford, a place where the serious and the fakirs gathered in the late night before dawn hour to pour out their souls, via mouth or on paper. Good luck in your search, men.). More to the point, I came too late to be able to settle comfortably into that anti-political world that the “beats” thrived in. Great political and social events were unfolding and I wanted in, feverishly wanted in, with both hands (and, maybe, feet too).
You know some of the beat leaders, the real ones, don’t you? Remembered, seemingly profusely remembered now, by every passing acquaintance with some rough-hewn writing specimen or faded photograph to present. Hell people who after giving the best summer of their lives to the Village (or North Beach) and to beat life and then after graduating to stockbroker Wall Street are glutting the market with their minute pictures with Jack, Allen, or mad monk Corso, steamy affairs (all sexes), and take on that lost minute. (Just check E-bay or Amazon if you think I am kidding.) Worse. Now merely photo-plastered, book wrote, college english department deconstruction’d , academic journal-debated. Ah, but then in full glory plaid shirt, white shirt, tee shirt, dungarees, chinos, sturdy foot-sore cosmic traveler shoes, visuals of heaven’s own angel bums, if there was a heaven and there were angels and if that locale needed bums.

Jack, million hungry word man-child sanctified, Lowell mills-etched and trapped and mother-fed, Jack Kerouac. Allen, om-om-om, bop, bop, mantra-man, mad Paterson-trapped, modern plainsong-poet-in-chief, Allen Ginsberg. William, sweet opium dream (or, maybe, not so sweet when the supply ran out and the sickness came on), needle-driven, sardonic, ironic, chronic, Tangiers-trapped, Harvard man (finally, a useful one, oops, sorry), Williams S. Burroughs. Neal, wild word, wild gesture, golden boy dropped out of ashcan all-America dream man, tire-kicking, oil-checking, gas-filling, zen master wheelman gluing the enterprise together, Neal Cassady. And a whirling crowd of others, including mad, street-wise, saint-gunsel, Gregory Corso. I am a little fuzzy these days on the genesis of my relationship to this crowd (although a reading of Ginsberg’s Howl was probably first in those frantic, high school, Harvard Square-hopping, poetry-pounding, guitar-strummed, existential word space, coffee, no sugar, I’ll have a refill, please, fugitive dream’d, coffeehouse-anchored days). This I know. I qualified, in triplicate, teen angst, teen alienation, teen luddite as a card-carrying member in those days.
More recently that old time angst, that old time alienation and a smidgen of that old time luddite has cast its spell on me. I have been held hostage to, been hypnotized by, been ocean-sized swept away by, been word ping-pong bounced off of and collided into by, head over heels language-loved by, word-curled around and caressed by the ancient black night into the drowsy dawn 1950s child view vision Kerouac/Ginsberg/Burroughs/Corso-led “beats” homage to the great American West night. (Beat: life beat-up, fellaheen and fellaheena beat-down, beat around, be-bop jazz beat, beatified church beat, howl poem beat, beat okay, anyway you can get a handle on it, beat.). The great American West “beat” breakout from the day weary, boxed-in, shoulder-to-the-wheel, eyes forward, hands to the keyboard, work-a-day-world, dream-fleshed-out night. Of leaving behind on the slow-fast, two-lane, no passing, broken-lined old Route 6, or 66, or 666, or whatever route, whatever dream route, whatever dream hitchhike gas station/diner highway beyond the Eastern shores night, of the get away from the machine, the machine-making machines, the “little boxes” machine night, and also of the reckless breakout of mannered, cramped, parlor-fit language night. Whoa!

This Kerouacian wordplay on-the-road’d, dharma-bummed, big sur’d, desolation angel’d night, this Ginsberg-ite trumpet howl, cry-out to the high heavens against the death machine night, this Burroughs-ish languid, sweet opium-dreamed, laid-back night, this Neal Cassady-driven, foot-clutched, brake-pedaled, wagon-master of the to and fro of the post-World War II American West night, was not my night but close enough so that I could touch it, and have it touch me even half a century later. So blame Jack and the gang, okay and I will give you his current Lowell, Massachusetts home address upon request so that you can direct your inquiries there.
Blame Jack, as well, for the busting out beyond the factory lakes, corn-fed plains, get the hell out of Kansas flats, on up into the rockiesmountainhigh (or is it just high) and then straight, no time for dinosaur lament Ogden or tumbleweed Winnemucca, to the coast, come hell or high water. Yah, busting out and free. Kid dream great American West night, car-driven (hell, old pick-up truck-driven, English racer bicycle-driven, hitchhike thumbed, flat-bed train-ridden, sore-footed, shoe-beaten walked, if need be), two dollar tank-filled, oil-checked, tires-kicked, money pocket’d, surf’s up, surf’s crashing up against the high shoulder ancient seawalls, cruising down the coast highway, Pacific Coast Highway One, the endlessly twisting jalopy-driven pin-turned coast highway, down by the shore, sand swirling, bingo, bango, bongo with your baby everything’s alright, go some place after the bango, some great American West drive-in place. Can you blame me?

So as for that comrade, that well-respected young cosmic traveler, what would he know, really, of the great blue-pink American West night that I, and not I alone, were searching for back in those halcyon days of my youth in the early 1960s. What would he know, for example, except in story book or oral tradition from parents or, oh no, maybe, grandparents, of the old time parched, dusty, shoe-leather-beating, foot-sore, sore-shouldered, backpacked, bed-rolled, going-my-way?, watch out for the cops over there (especially in Connecticut and Arizona), hitchhike white-lined road. The thirsty, blistered, backpacked, bed-rolled, thumb-stuck-out, eternally thumb-stuck-out, waiting for some great savior kindred-laden Volkswagen home/collective/ magical mystery tour bus or the commandeered rainbow-marked, life-marked, soul-marked yellow school bus, yellow brick road school bus. Hell, even of old farmer-going-to-market, fruit and vegetable-laden Ford truck, benny-popping, eyes-wide, metal-to-the-petal, transcontinental teamster-driving goods to some westward market or kid Saturday love nest, buddy-racing cool jalopy road. Yah, what would he know of that.
Of the road out, out anywhere, anywhere west, from the stuffy confines of worn-out, hard-scrabble, uptight, ocean-at-you-back, close-quartered, neighbor on top of neighbor, keep your private business private, used-up New England granite-grey death-chanting night. Of the struggle, really, for color, to change the contour of the natural palette to other colors brighter than the New England leafy greens and browns of the trees and the blues, or better blue-greens, or even better yet of white-flecked, white- foamed, blue-greens of the Eastern oceans. (Yah, I know, I know, before you even start on me about it, all about the million tree flaming yellow-red-orange autumn leaf minute and the thousand icicle-dropped, road strewn dead tree branch, white winter snow drift eternity, on land or ocean but those don’t count, at least here, and not now)

Or of the infinite oil-stained, gas-fumed, rag-wiped, overall’d, gas-jockey, Esso, Texaco, Mobil, Shell stations named, the rest lost too lost in time to name, two dollar fill-up-check-the-oil, please, the-water-as-well, inflate the tires, hit the murky, fetid, lava soap-smelled bathrooms, maybe grab a Coke, hey, no Hires Root Beer on this road. This Route 66, or Route 50 or Route you-name-the route, route west, exit east dream route, rolling red barn-dotted (needing paints to this jaded eye), rocky field-plowed (crooked plowed to boot), occasionally cow-mooed, same for horses, sheep, some scrawny chickens, and children as well, scrawny too. The leavings of the westward trek, when the westward trek meant eternal fields, golden fields, and to hell with damned rocks, and silts, and worn-out soils absent-mindedly left behind for those who would have to, have to I tell you, stay put in the cabin'd hollows and lazily watered-creeks. On the endlessly sulky blues-greens, the sullen smoky grey-black of mist-foamed rolling hills that echo the slight sound of the mountain wind tunnel, of the creakily-fiddled wind-song Appalachian night.
Or of diner stops, little narrow-aisled, pop-up-stool’d, formica counter-topped, red (mostly) imitation leather booth seats, smoked-filled cabooses of diners. Of now anchored, abandoned train porter-serviced, off-silver, off-green, off-red, off any faded color “greasy spoon” diners. Of daily house special meat loaf, gravy-slurp, steam-soggy carrots, and buttered mashed potato-fill up, Saturday night pot roast special, turkey club sandwich potato chips on the side, breakfast all day, coffee-fill-up, free refill, please, diners. Granddaddies to today’s more spacious back road highway locales, styled family-friendly but that still reek of meat loaf-steamed carrots- creamed mashed tater-fill. Spots then that spoke of rarely employed, hungry men, of shifty-eyed, expense account-weary traveling men, of high-benny, eyes-wide, mortgaged to the hilt, wife ran off with boyfriend, kids hardly know him, teamsters hauling American product to and fro and of other men not at ease in more eloquent, table-mannered, women-touched places. Those landscape old state and county side of the highway diners, complete with authentic surly, know-it-all-been-through-it-all, pencil-eared, steam-sweated uniform, maybe, cigarette-hanging from tired ruby red lips, heavily made-up waitress along the endless slag-heap, rusting railroad bed, sulphur-aired, grey-black smoke-belching , fiery furnace-blasting, headache metal-pounding, steel-eyed, coal dust-breathe, hog-butcher to the world, sinewy-muscled green-grey, moonless, Great Lakes night.

Or of two-bit road intersection stops, some rutted, pot-holed country road intersecting some mud-spattered, creviced backwater farm road, practically dirt roads barely removed from old time prairie pioneer day times, west-crazy pioneer times, ghost-crazy-pioneer days. Of fields, vast, slightly rolling, actually very slightly rolling, endless yellow, yellow–glazed, yellow-tinged, yellow until you get sick of the sight of yellow, sick of the word yellow even, acres under cultivation to feed hungry cities, as if corn, or soy, or wheat, or manna itself could fill that empty-bellied feeling that is ablaze in the land. But we will deal with one hunger at a time. And dotted every so often with silos and barns and grain elevators for all to know the crops are in and ready to serve that physical hunger. Of half-sleep, half hungry-eye, city boy hungry eyes, unused to the dark, dangerous, sullen, unknown shadows, bed roll-unrolled, knapsack-pillowed, sleep by the side of the wheat, soy, corn road ravine, and every once in a blue moon midnight car passings, snaggly blanket-covered, knap-sack head rested, cold-frozed, out in the great day corn yellow field beneath the blue black, beyond city sky black, starless Iowa night.

Or of the hard-hilled climb, and climb and climb, breathe taken away magic climb, crevice-etched, rock-interface, sore-footed magic mountain that no Thomas Mann can capture. Half-walked-half-driven, bouncing back seat, back seat of over-filled truck-driven, still rising up, no passing on the left, facing sheer-cliff’d, famous free-fall spots, still rising, rising colder, rising frozen colder, fearful of the sudden summer squalls, white out summer squalls. Shocking, I confess, beyond shocking to New England-hardened winter boy, then sudden sunshine floral bursts and jacket against the cold comes tumbling off. And I confess again, majestic, did I say majestic and beats visions of old Atlantic Ocean swells at dawn crashing against harmless seawalls. Old pioneer-trekked, old pioneer-feared, old rutted-wheeled, two-hearted remembrances, two-hearted but no returning back (it would be too painful to do again) remembrances as you slide out of Denver into the icy-white black rockymountainhigh night.
Of foot-swollen pleasures in some arid back canyon arroyo, etched in time told by reading its face, layer after layer, red, red-mucked, beige, beige-mucked, copper, copper-mucked, like some Georgia O'Keeffe dream painting out in the red, beige, copper black-devouring desert night. Sounds, primal sounds, of old dinosaur laments and one hundred generations of shamanic Native American pounding, crying out for vengeance against the desecrations of the land. Against the cowboy badlands takeover, against the white rampages of the sacred soil. And of canyon-shadowed, flame-shadowed, wind- swept, canteen stews simmering and smoky from the jet blue, orange flickering campfire. Of quiet, desert quiet, high desert quiet, of tumbleweed running dreams out in the pure sandstone-edged, grey-black Nevada night.

And then....
the great Western shore, surf’s up, white, white wave-flecked, lapis-lazuli blue-flecked ocean, rust golden-gated, no return, no boat out, land’s end, this is it coast highway, heading down or up now, heading up or down gas stationed, named and unnamed, side road diners, still caboose’d, ravine-edged sleep and beach sleeped, blue-pink American West night.

Yes, but there is more. No child vision but now of full blossom American West night, the San Francisco great American West night, of the be-bop, bop-bop, narrow-stepped, downstairs overflowed music cellar, shared in my time, the time of my time, by “beat” jazz, “hippie’d folk”, and howled poem, but at this minute jazz, high white note-blown, sexed sax-playing godman, unnamed, but like Lester Young’s own child jazz. Smoke-filled, blended meshed smokes of ganja and tobacco (and, maybe, of meshed pipe smokes of hashish and tobacco), ordered whisky-straight up, soon be-sotted, cheap, face-reddened wines, clanking coffee cups that speak of not tonight promise. High sexual intensity under wraps, tightly under wraps, swirls inside its own mad desire, black-dressed she (black dress, black sweater, black stockings, black shoes, black bag, black beret, black sunglasses, ah, sweet color scheme against white Madonna, white, secular Madonna alabaster skin. What do you want to bet black undergarments too, ah, but I am the soul of discretion, your imagination will have to do), promising shades of heat-glanced night. And later, later than night just before the darkest hour dawn, of poems poet’d, of freedom songs free-verse’d, of that sax-charged high white note following out the door, out into the street, out the eternity lights of the great golden-gated night. I say, can you blame me?
Of later roads, the north Oregon hitchhike roads, the Redwood-strewn road not a trace of black-dressed she, she now of blue serge denim pants, of brown plaid flannel long-sleeved shirt, of some golfer’s dream floppy-brimmed hat, and of sturdy, thick-heeled work boots (undergarments again left to your imagination) against the hazards of summer snow squall Crater Lake. And now of slightly sun-burned face against the ravages of the road, against the parched sun-devil road that no ointments can relieve. And beyond later to goose-down bundled, hunter-hatted, thick work glove-clad, snowshoe-shod against the tremors of the great big eternal bump of the great Alaska highway. Can she blame me? Guess.

Yah, put it that way and what does that young comrade, a dreamer of his own dreams, and rightly too, know of an old man’s fiercely-held, fiercely-defended, fiercely-dreamed beyond dreaming blue-pink dreams. Or of ancient blue-pink sorrows, sadnesses, angers, joys, longings and lovings, either.