Friday, March 30, 2007

Some Memory Serves Well

If your memory serves you well. We were going to meet again and wait. This Wheels on Fire. They used to play it on the radio in Milwaukee. And the all of us got excited about that and wanted to go to the East. Where it was kabloom! The Atlantic water coast. Turning sky things ablaze. Where Dylan had been writing this stuff. Him and Allen Ginsberg.

So Jeff and me got a ride - they had ride boards, maps of America, and you’d hook up somehow - ride with a Physics major who ate a lot of candy and who said to us learnedly and secretly ‘in a group orgy whatever feels good: feels good.’ Who knew? We shred a glance and the Physics major eye the road with hands on the Chrysler’s wheel.

And he drove us to New York and it was a bright day and then was turning toward outta-work time, and we were going down the subway as a million people were coming at us. Crazy working people! We got lost that night - almost stayed in a shelter - but tore up our Free Clinic passes, and took our chances. We got lost that night and then found NYU. And it was about 2 am when some great red-dressed girl met us and took us home. A garret grotto Village pad no less. All she asked was we buy her pomegranates - something I’d never seen before. And she called them Chinese apples. Next day to hook up with Dave and Jim.

Last night. We were in empty loft, sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor. Down the street from Teddy Roosevelt’s boyhood home. I remember. Had heard Crash on the Levee. Dylan’s latest tome. Signal through the ether. It’s king for king and queen for queen the worst old flood anybody’s ever seen. This night, the guy who owns the loft tells us hip places to go. We’d asked. There’s such and such, MacSorley’s on th Street. And there’s the place where the factory crowd hands out on 42nd St by the Library. A Mulligans perhaps.

So that’s where we go. And we get there. And there’s Allen Ginsberg! Our old friend.

Well we’d seen him in Madison. But we saw him just the night before too. Driving down 8th St in our International. I saw him on the sidewalks. I said Hey I just saw Allen Ginsberg getting in a cab.

Nooo! Couldn’t be

No I’m sure. I’m sure it’s him.

So we slow down and let his cab come upside us. Down on Flaming 8th St. - And when his cab is next to us, we speed up, align, and say:

Hey Al, you want to write a poem?

And he leans forward, opens front window of cab - back ones don’t open then. Yeah, he says whadya want?

We’re hipsters from Wisconsin and
We want to write a poem!

He says:

8th St.
red lights
blinking in my eyeballs

And Dave says

for a break

And then Ginsberg asks what we’re doing.

And I say: Looking for stardom. And he says: Look to your heart. And his cab takes a left .

Now Ginsberg is sitting on a chair. The only thing you see there down the long expanse of Irish stew and Miller beer bar. And we go in right pat him. We must have been drinking beer and straight to the men’s room. And there in the booth with him more hidden is Dylan. I see him as we’re moving past. And as Dave is at the urinal, I hit him on the back, Hit him as hard as I can saying Dylan’s in there. And him and Jeff and him look at me .

Are you kidding.

No I am not.

I have at times since then this to brood over. Read Chronicles. Where schmucks were parking out on Dylan’s roof - like raccoons - as no doubt he tried to sleep. We weren’t too different. Can’t take back lost time or call as a witness those Wheels on Fire.

We run of course into the booth next to them. Start looking over our shoulders some. Dylan and Ginsberg are talking with Russian poets just in town maybe at Carnegie Hall. Ginsberg as ever is talking about breath control Dylan is laughing. As they leave we grab their beer bottles, and I peel off the Miller slogan.

THAT WAS THE NIGHT and I saw Dylan in New York.

Dylan’s leaving, right? We all get up to leave too. Follow him to the door, with Ginsberg and the Russian poets. Dave says: Bob, you want to write a song? Dylan says: Nooooo..

So all a sudden we’re all getting waltzed out.

Ginsberg asks: You know who that was?


He embraces all. Except me. I shake hands. And he says: Boy I wish I was as smart as he is.

Click on image to enlarge.

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