Feeling distracted while attempting to read “Lennon Remembers” at a coffee shop not too far from Joan Didion’s old home on Franklin, my eye catches the culprit of my irritation. A balding homeless man on the busy sidewalk is playing air guitar to a handful of frightened Asian tourists. My mental gears strain to return to the pages by another gulp of coffee while making a invisible point of being thankful a government shut down doesn’t affect our collective ability to buy and consume coffee. Lennon says in 1970 he doesn’t believe in Beatles, Dylan, or most anything else that day. I differ with this deceased bearded Beatle. I do believe in Beatles and Dylan as a concept or as anything tangible or intangible. I wonder why he was fine with the Rolling Stone interview but was livid when Wenner published it into a Straight Arrow book in order to make a buck?
It seems half of everyone I encounter has a cold. Permanently. This is southern California not Minnesota or Michigan or Saskatchewan. Why do we even get colds? Palm trees and ocean water should be our immunity. Somehow I blame this on the decline of LA Weekly after they were captured by Tea Party dough and Henry Rollins quit. Upon leaving the coffee shop a hip young woman gives the homeless gent an apple explaining it is a “Trader Joes apple”. Well, here is a new poem I offer to help get you through this government shut down and the unAmerican cold epidemic.
“Define a beatnik and what does he want?” screamed a angry banker while gobbling a pie
“Why ask me?” the long haired vagabond wondered as he brushed food off the man’s tie
the banker just grunted and farted as he glared for an answer so the vagabond smiled
” a beatnik is a search, a journey, a mission to launch” in a tone sounding from a child
“but looking for what? for who? why?” demanded the pie eating suit wearing gnome
“it’s easier to tell you what he is not. Beatniks are not fast talkers, fast walkers to home-
they don’t chase money and fame. Beatniks search for that something hard to explain
but you know when you find it and want to measure it out but only against the grain.
bohemian soul magic is that freedom to be free, the grassy path, hearing it sing”
“Bohemian soul magic? Must be a farce. Never heard of such a foolish thing.”
The beatnik laughed and chuckled and decided to get back on that old road
the banker grabbed him in a fury and began to unload
“I hate simpletons like you who go around in smug drunken haze,
thinking they know it all finding out this crap is just a phase.”
but the vagabond waxed eloquent and responded in kind
“Kerouac! Burroughs! Ginsberg! and others tell you and the rest who are so blind,
life is not life without magic and the best type is of the Bohemian soul.
You have sold yours to the gods of mammon bringing life into a dark hole”
by now a crowd gathered to see if they would get further embroiled
“I shake my fist at you who want war and more blood on the soil”
the vagabond now rested but the banker seemed asleep, dumfounded
a stranger nudged the banker until his eyes opened brown
asking “How do I get this magic or do they even have it in this town?”
the vagabond whispered to the banker who went promptly to sleep
five minutes later he awoke, disrobed and began to leap
he cried out from his soul and frightened all who were there
shouting “Gary Snyder! Keith Richards! Charles Bukowski! and many more”
as the vagabond faded away he could still hear “Ferlinghetti! Neal Cassady! City Lights Book store!”
I know that the shutdown is over but it was in full bloom when I started this post. But, I bet we get another one soon.
See you next Friday for some new stuff!