Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .
History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.
My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder’s jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . .
There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .
And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
i’m having a really bad day, so i took an emergency cigarette from my desk, a lucky strike my friend victoria gave me when she was in oakland some time ago, and i walked around the block smoking it and crying
i was only outside for two or three minutes before it started pouring on me
this morning i woke up and realized i had left my car lights on, and so the battery was dead. i had to walk to work. i guess i am walking home in the rain, which, as a chronically dramatic person, suits me just fine i guess
i need money and then i need to finally leave it all. i don’t want any of it anymore and i haven’t for some time
hooray for hollywood
there are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own. however, nothing dispirits, and nothing seems worth while disputing. he bolts down all events, all creeds, and beliefs, and persuasions, all hard things visible and invisible, never mind how knobby; as an ostrich of potent digestion gobbles down bullets and gun flints. and as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker. that odd sort of wayward mood i am speaking of, comes over a man only in some time of extreme tribulation; it comes in the very midst of his earnestness, so that what just before might have seemed to him a thing most momentous, now seems but a part of the general joke.
Piping down the valleys wild
Piping songs of pleasant glee
On a cloud I saw a child.
And he laughing said to me.
“Pipe a song about a Starsailor;”
So I piped with merry chear,
“Piper pipe that song again—”
So I piped, he wept to hear.
– – –
Little Starsailor who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
i missed you dante
the walls close in and
i need some noise
man, i am at work and i can’t stop crying . . . not over anything in particular i don’t think. it is more like a sort of bodily unburdening . . . like a sneeze or a yawn or a cough! i feel so drained from having been wrenched up all weekend. it was an emotional thing to see my friends who* i had not seen in years, and i felt like i had to be a supercharged version of myself to hide the fact that i actually felt pretty sad. it made me realize how much i had missed them. this is not anyone’s fault, but when i perceive that someone had a larger impact on me than i did them, or that i had, whether i wanted to or not, reserved a place for them in my memory that i revisit because it makes me feel happy to know or have known this person, only to find out that this was not true on the other end . . . well, god help me, i get bummed out. i can’t help it! another thing is that people are always surprised that i remember everything they told me, or that i remembered little details about their lives. well, of course i do! i was listening to you when you told me these things! and i liked you and so it was important to me to hold on to to those memories. i don’t know . . . maybe that’s vain and melodramatic, but then what else is new. i should not go about it that way, and anyway maybe i’m wrong. i can’t expect everyone to be as embarrassingly forthcoming about their feelings as i am. some people just don’t come at the world like that and that is perfectly fine.
(*NOTE: i am aware of the grammatical error in this post. i wrote ‘who’ when i should have used ‘whom’, which you use when the subject is him / her / them (versus he / she / they for ‘who’). however, it always sounds pretentious to me, so i omitted the M. deal with it!! (please ignore the irony of this postscript, which is way more pretentious than the issue i created by being purposely wrong. oops!))