Terry and I climb a different hill today,
a narrow trail
weaving among wildflowers
where we search for an old water intake,
finding rusty pipe but no collection box.
Mountain plumbing is constant crisis
as storms re-engineer the landscape
while three hundred houses wait to wash.
Terry, you should know, operated
the water system for years and years
in our old hippie town.
we walk around the former reservoir
that collapsed in the winter of ’82.
Now that was a crisis.
I say I used to come to this hilltop
every day at sunset with my dog
to meet a woman and her dog.
Terry says thirty or forty years ago
he used to come to this hilltop
every solstice to drop acid with his buddies.
“When was the last time you took LSD?” I ask.
“Last week,” Terry says.
Terry, you should know, is seventy-two
with cardiac plumbing that has
weathered a few storms.
He says the trips are milder now, sweeter,
like spring-water from the little glen
on the hill above his cabin,
gurgles out slowly
but worth the wait,
at the end of that trail
only you and I know.
screaming in pain
cleaning her drain
it was very clogged
I am very logged
loved my plumbers crack
she gave my ass a smack
faucet beginning to leak
from the point of the peak
ended up in bed
she gives good head
wanted bill to be free
told me during my morning pee
I said you lost your mind
so I poked her from behind
how about half price
she said sorry no dice
please free she would beg
as she played with my third leg
running wild was my imagination
you could feel my frustration
after the plumbing was all done
it turned out she was a nun
“If you grow old, it is your own fault,”
I say to Terry as we
climb the mountain behind his cabin.
Terry is wearing a device that measures
his heartbeat and sends it by cell
phone to doctors at Stanford.
Terry has a flutter, nothing
Terry has a great heart, actually,
warm and wise.
We ascend this hill on Tuesdays
every week discussing
poetry and plumbing
our twin passions
the gathering of mountain water
funneled into pipes
delivered to homes,
the ordering of words
funneled into pages
delivered nowhere, sadly.
We discuss friends fallen or falling,
the arc of marriages, parenthood,
each a story and a puzzlement,
webs woven of love and rage.
That, and motorcycles, we talk,
pacifist veterans who walk
still seeking sense of an
shaping our lives.
We are harmless.
He, the Air Force;
I, the draft.
So we hike, hearts pounding,
the simple friendship of two old men
seeking the hilltop
again and again.
Here's a recording of my reading of this poem at the Beat Museum, San Francisco:
Words flow no longer a trickling drip
but the raging Mississippi with that
dream steamboat demotic.
It is good and I am whole.
The spirit is alive
and flows from these enlivened fingertips.
I am my own and this energy will be harvested.
I will storm and I will rage from dawn
Through the twinkling night.
I’m a plumb in a Fruit Basket that’s out of control, Two Apples ones green because the Banana forgot that he smelt see he was so old.
The Grape would always sit on its own in the corner in the cold, The Orange could never peel it’s self so the story goes.
The Kiwis always got a twin he aint really in a rush to want to go, Mangos getting weaker as they feel the muscles grow.
Crunch getting over taken by the hour glass that never grows, Sand dunes created by the sweet taste of the Tangerines we all loved to know.
Fruit salad created by the imagination our taste buds have grown to know Pears trying to mingle in this fruit basket that’s getting out of control.
See the birds all sing to the sweet taste of the Nectarines that I’m missing just thought you should know.
This fruit basket is getting heavy i can’t carry it anymore; I’m a Plumb in a fruit basket that’s gone out of control.