Things to do in Denver when you’re hip and super fresh

And what I mean by that is…
The mercury red was dripping through the lights of the
downtown bars – it was blood running through
and icy chalices clinking with the rhythm of this night
the smoke curled its fist and whirled on out into the
streets –
we were looking for things to do in Denver
and we were most definitely hip and super fresh.
The sky was dark, wet and gray
the rain was coming down in spittles,
and the cold beacons burst forth from the skyline
and we breathed exponentially as we shook with cold
outside the place
where the band was playing hard and loud
and the women were drugged up tight,
they were all looking for a fight
erotic clashes in unfamiliar bedrooms
searching for the light switch
in some unfamiliar hall…
and we wandered, Soledad the sailor and I,
into the billiards parlor on the corner
where all Christmas shopping
was kicked to the curb
and mean looking men
were grasping sticks and swearing and swilling beer

So we caught two seats at the bar
and were lost in the noise
when something caught our attention
a brooding and bulbous man with wispy hair, atop a head shaped like a golden pear

He was clutching a magnet and a metal clam
reciting poetry all nonsense
something Spanish and insanely divine
about Albuquerque and nutty Nob Hill
and the love he held for well-groomed dolls
and it was a whacked-out scene
and we wondered, Soledad and I,
if we had shot ourselves up
with some mad horror show voodoo
and simply had forgotten…
but it was all real
as the man shed his black leather jacket
and made his way confidently
to the smoky stage, under scattered lights
and stood before a crowd who ignored him,
and so he tapped the mic with a hint of nervous fear
and began to speak…
“and what I mean by that is …”
and it went on and on from there,
like someone had plugged him in a bit too long,
his fiber optic cables all juiced up
and so the incessant talk came on like a flood
about the place he loved
and the games he dug
and the restless nights that drove him to kill…

So Soledad and I just sat there at the bar
sipping our Parrot Bay rums
watching the stitched up 5-minute idol
rant and rave
and his tsunami of words
followed us out the door and down the streets
and we rejuvenated our mission
to find things to do in Denver when you’re hip — and super fresh
Soledad wanted to climb a tower,
I wanted to find an all-night bakery
when from out of a crack in the buildings came a flash,
because we were hip,
we were super fresh
and we had become immaculate icons
of this new human race,
we could no longer afford to walk,
we had to run…

We had hoped to have some orange apples fall from
the sky
but all we met up with were detour signs
it went suddenly backward to Halloween
and we thought Denver was playing a trick on us
but we liked it anyway
so we tripped it to some mad cathedral
on this eerie hill in the middle of town
it was this great spire
of grass and rock and trees and torn down fences
and from this vagrant, fragrant vantage point
we could see a million trillion lights
all bubbling up from the floor of this town
and for a second we didn’t feel lonely
we felt hip and super fresh
as we found things to do in Denver
and then something somewhere
suddenly came with a burst of singing
and it was like some mad hipster
had broken free from his cell
and was bellowing forth
every ache he had ever felt…

So we stayed on that hill
not really talking,
but rather dreaming of what our lives would be like —
and we were afraid of the sorrow that might come
but then we realized we couldn’t worry about that
because somehow, some way,
life works itself out
and whether or not we would be strung up with
or drown in the yellow dust
we were here right now in Denver
and damn we were hip and super fresh.

Albuquerque French Fries

The mountains in Albuquerque are to the east. In most places I’ve lived, they were to the west. I always found that to be a bit strange, but maybe it’s not. But I was on the east side of Albuquerque, close to the mountains, when I was suddenly struck with an insatiable desire for French fries.

I stopped at some chain diner place and ordered not one, but two baskets of French fries and something to drink, a Coke maybe, I can’t remember, it being such an odd and weird time in this life.

I was in Albuquerque for no particular reason. I had been in some cheap corporate place of lodging the night before. I just remember staring out over the lights of the city; there had been a lot of blue, not amber so much, as I had expected — blue, desert lights — and I was hungry for action as I smoked cigarettes and drank bottled beer.

It was a mighty funny feeling not really knowing why I was in Albuquerque at that particular time. I just wanted to get away from the doldrums of it all, back in some place suspiciously called HOME, but not really being home at all, but even so, there had been no action to be found after all. It was just a bunch of lazy driving through another American charade parade. Honking and Howitzers, springboard diving into hard cement, cold dreams, loneliness… the constant… loneliness… strumming the walls of white-walled malls, walking among the living dolls swinging handled bags of Chinese crap as they smiled those fake plastic smiles to the point the heavy makeup nearly cracked and fell to the ground — and me, up and down escalators, elevators, in and out of parking spaces from another dimension, and there was the smell and the sun and all the Native American motif fizzing like digging it science-fiction sabers… And then a bookstore, where I could breathe, meld into words and covers, fondling spines as I walked the rows among the ink bleeders and readers, wives with glasses, wives with hair pulled back into a tight tail, with the kind of head that you could palm like a tender melon as she let loose in your very own lap — the luxury of Saturn’s dew and doom—  loving it, living it, bent to it, stardust whispers scraping across the firmament like the cloud-studded smile of a stranger now wiping at her mouth with a scratchy, white motel towel, high-heeled remnants of lipstick-stained cigarette butts in some cheap amber ashtray on the bedside table, the one right next to the three-quarter drained bottle of voodoo juice purchased at some Nob Hill poison joint.

And I ate those French fries slow and alone, looking out the bug greasy window at the traffic all piled up and trying desperately to move. All them peoples frantically working away their lives just to live for a couple days a week, a couple weeks a year — “you’re all fucking slaves to the system” I said to the fries and then I knew the batty waitress was going to call the cops on me, so I left her a nice big, fat tip and told her “I was never here, you didn’t see nothing,” and then I ran out the door and I started to drive again.

I rattled around Q-Town, aimlessly, again, searching for meaning, searching for enlightenment so often talked about — where was it? I ended up near the Sunport. I just parked somewhere under the sun and just watched planes come and go, people come and go, everyone in such a damn hurry to get to nowhere, in such a hurry to just wait, to be strip searched, to be violated in a windowless room. It was hot, I rolled down the windows, I sucked on oil cans of Australian limeade, that’s Australian for lemonade, good drink, and I wondered, what’s Australian for Albuquerque? There were no super fresh and hip boomerangs or two-step your dead snakes lumbering along Indian School Road… And that’s where I almost bought a condominium, townhouse maybe, but it made me think too much of childhood and milk and that made me sad. I suppose, childhood’s end right out there tip-toeing on the double yellow line as mad dashers come whizzing by that do not mention your soul in those radio prayers bleeping forth from plush dash… Awe, money man and your senseless soul, look at the trees once in a while, get out of this neon cave and get lost for once in your fucking digitized life, smoke a little sky, eat a little dirt, breathe in the sun and let the sunflowers puke forth. Man, you are becoming machine. You are being eaten alive by throngs of numbers, nonsense, nocturnal Novocain in the batty cave.

774 Central Refreshment House — more juice required. Cocoa Puffs and milk and Milky Way wayward hanging out by the sea of Sandia. Drunk on 233 Insomnia Street with some invisible chick named Glory, Glory Hollywood Boom Boom in a blue dress and tattooed bed sheets all covered in shiny pistols and white daisies. She wonders why I sit there, on the edge of the bed, shirtless, my back curved like a bell jar, staring out the window, the widow ghost traces my scars with cold fingertips, like a map of downtown Boston, they run down and all around, some mad parade of direction all haywire, I have some seizure via Heaven’s reach, she tries to calm me with something on fire, it’s getting yellow outside, there is maybe crying inside, but not out here, not where shit is real and man be cold, and the record needle digs into the vinyl and Native American mystic music comes pouring out like I was liquid in some wigwam in the parking lot of the neon green Gallup pharmacy where the witch doctors freeze you up before you take that freedom walk, that vision quest that leaves your eyes white and wide as you kick at dead America with the toe of your most trusted boot and simply look away.

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My Vimana

I bought a green and red striped lampshade in a small shop on the corner of 5th and Main in some battered and bruised American town. It made my lonely place look like Christmas, but more importantly, I needed something to shelter me, from the rain, coming in my windows, running down the walls, it’s even chasing me, down and through the halls. Can’t remember what to see, I was looking for something to just say, something beautiful, something truthful, wondering what parts matched your eyes, your crystal-blue cornflower eyes, that made your face a place of peace, like high-country grass beneath the better parts of space, like a white farmhouse, a red barn, a green lawn, all ringed by a wooded place of trees and quiet and the amber hands of some Summer God, reaching down, parting the canopy and letting in the light.

Clothes void of bodies, flutter in the winds of my crowded and unkempt closet, the one over there, on the wall full of bullet holes and big, red hearts all shattered and astray. I got venom in my pocket, I got a bottle rocket — “don’t shoot your eyes out,” the maniac under the bed, said, and Charlie Chan stares in through the window, biting down hard on a skeleton key. I was getting way beyond damaged… Much too soon and much too hard by the tollbooth dictator via Kansas way, that hot sway on the highway and the hunt for a Motel 6, somewhere near Lawrence, where Burroughs used to live and where he died, but it got too late and hazy, the lust wore off like bad medicine and I went on driving—to Kansas City, Amorika, via the fatal stroke of midnight.

Sleeping pills and mind medicine sat on the bedside table like jewels. I could not sleep. I rattled my feet. I stared at the white ceiling, where there cast was the shadow of a one-eyed alien lamp, and then I thought it would be a good time to take a ride in my vimana, and I put on my flying pajamas, wrapped the dog tags around my neck, and then carefully crawled inside. I closed the hatch and ignited the mercury, and we went up, up, up and out through the retractable skylight of night like Mr. Wonka and his magical elevator. I looked around as I rode over the world, the rooftops all shimmering and wet from the rain running down your face, and the Earth an electric grid, with some places very dark, these, the dens of the poor and hungry and forgotten—and some places very bright, these, the dens of those that do all the forgetting.

So, my vimana and I flew around undetected, no one knew us like I know them, if she only knew, what I know, what I know, what I know, of everything back then—and the sun began to creep over the edge of my destiny, and I felt it was time to bring her down. The vimana landed in some other world, looked like the realm of De Smet, South Dakota in the late 1700s. There was a great meadow of tall, yellow grass and it swayed back and forth a bit in the light breeze that they had there. I shut the vimana down and crawled out. There was a chill in the air, and I put on my long, black coat I kept stowed behind the seat. There was a howl of emptiness in the air—as if I had been the only man that had ever been there. The sun was not orange or yellow, but a bluish white. It was a steely sun, a cold sun, a sun undone by time and space itself, but it lit the world around me, no less than the sun of my own.

I buttoned my black coat and put on my Moroccan cowboy hat and lit up a Marlboro red. I looked around at the landscape, seemingly vacant of any man or animal. To my left, a great, long wall of gray yet bedazzled rock for as far as I could see. To my right, that sea of tall, yellow grass crashing against some invisible shore like the feathers of tender Eve. Then straight ahead. There was something there, on a small rise of land. I wondered, if it was the grandmother vimana, waiting for me on the landing pad porch, ringing the dinner bell with the tail of a comet, hanging out the clothes for proper dying, ready to depart to my new world of love and peace and long sleeps in bone-bleached sheets in some white house on a clean street in small town bizarro-world Amorika. I crushed my smoke out with the sole of my cool boots, the boots I bought in Albuquerque right before all that madness began in the Nob Hill pub, and I walked on, toward grandmother vimana.

As I got closer to it, I realized it was no mother ship at all, but instead, a grounded structure hewn from sturdy, gray wood, now bleached by the blue sun. There were four sides, a roof, a porch, rectangular windows with crisp white curtains, and a door. I walked the perimeter of the place and looked around, over my shoulder, no one to be found. I peeked in the windows. There was something there, but I could not tell. It was somewhat dark and hazy in there, so I went for the door. The white knob was cold to the touch. It turned. The door was not locked; it opened with a nearly inaudible squeak. I stepped inside, the wind outside blew in. I walked around slowly, quietly, like an uninvited guest. The floors creaked. It was just the one room, that is all. The walls and the air in there were void of any signs of life. There was but one thing in the whole of the entire place, and that was a wooden chair; it was set near the window that faced the direction I came from. I sat down in the chair; I adjusted my Moroccan cowboy hat and lit up another Marlboro red. I stared out the window for a very long time; it never got dark ever again. My vimana was gone. The wind shook the tall, yellow grass for as long as I stayed there, which was forever, like her crystal-blue cornflower eyes, melting winter’s dawn at the very moment you leave dreams and enter life.

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