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"Read all about it!"
what's going on
will not be
in the vacancies of meter and rhyme
in this afternoon's headlines.
we may find a wisp of it
in the speech and nod
of street vagrants,
the mood and move of bodies
on the bridge,
the call and answer of
wildlife up on Pintail Ridge,
not in scantly-measured spoonfuls
from the powerful and rich
they've thrown again into their refuse ditch
of tired, but still saleable myths
in the calligraphy of usury and commerce
we continue to mislabel life and events,
neglecting to frequent the sphere of our own --
the scent in the air,
notes on the wind,
the feel of cotton growing in our hands,
divine doodles in clouds and sand,
the hieroglyphic of birds soaring,
designs of pebbles cuddling on the lands,
mourning and warning in our waters' roar
that cannot subside and desist or be ignored.
In 60s and 70s, it was still considered safe generally and was legal to hitchhike, which I did sometimes to or from work at different offices, really just for the fun of it and people I might meet and talk with along the way. The pickup that stands out most in my memory was a van with a few young casually-dressed men in the spaciously-clear back that was colorfully accoutered with good music playing on speakers, and I believe they may have been traveling through Richmond, Virginia, from California. The ride itself was reminiscent most particularly of the days Bob and I had hitchhiked down Pacific Highway to Los Angeles and Laguna Beach courtesy of cordial strangers from a cheerfully enthusiastic older woman who declared her love and admiration for "hippies," as being the hope of the coming generations, to another large van that took us into the City of the Angels for a Hollywood tour and viewing of the volcanically stupendous "Krakatoa, East of Java." Other times I walked or used public transportation, buses that ran conveniently and comfortably throughout the city.
Some years earlier, we had meandered down the Pacific Coast from San Francisco to a musical gathering where Bay-based Jefferson Airplane, among many other famous bands, played to a huge crowd surrounded by heavily armed officers and members of the Hell's Angels gang all decked out in chains and black leather on their out-sized motorcycles and assuring the hippies that they were there to protect them.
In my backpack hitchhiking with Bob down Pacific Highway, camping in public parks along the way to what turned out to be a somewhat desolate and dust-dry commune off Laguna Beach with a stopover in downtown Los Angeles, I'd stored two place settings of the family sterling so we wouldn't be wanting anything in terms of stylish dining along the way. I'd misplaced my grandmother's 22k monogrammed gold thimble amidst prior communal arrangements back east. In those times in California, and elsewhere, hitchhiking was considered an acceptable "norm," an adventurously friendly transport-outreach within cities and between towns with their avocado trees and other indigenous exotics; we had little trouble garnering rides with interesting companions from elderly ones to 20-somethings for congenial conversation in conveniences ranging from an antique car to a fully-loaded psychedelic van.
Original material c. A Country Rag, Inc. and/or Jeannette Harris, Jonesborough Tennessee, April 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved.