s. had achieved his heart's desire at that time. he was truly deranged. william blake had indicated that the 'doors of perception' were guarded by jealous and dead gods. s. had fulfilled arthur rimbaud's bequest, "illuminations", "the drunken boat" and "a season in hell" baudelaire's "fleurs du mals" and aldous huxley's predictions. he had tuned in, dropped out and was touting every other 'bohemian' rebellion possible. a legacy of freedom with ancient roots.
guided by de quincy's "confessions of an english opium eater", robert s. de ropp's "drugs and the mind" william james's "varieties of religious experience". and the amazing satrap propounders at "the evergreen review." by grove press, a beacon of questioning our existence as it was. now s. was truly lost. s. was no more than a dandelion seed floating in summer thermals.
:haight ashbury" they called it. the birth, some say, of the movement which ended the vietnam war. (we need such a birth now) and marches on washington to shake our dozing representatives up a bit.
in san francisco poor families
and hungry artists lived in 'free houses'.
s. had a small room in a dilapidated wedding cake of a building. there were many like it back in 1964. the owners had abandoned their property and anyone could squat there.
people shared the kitchens and bathrooms. there were junkies and drunks and other homeless miscreants. the halls were strewn with litter and garbage bags that never made it to the street.
there was one resident who attracted s.'s interest. he was a devotee of an unusual yoga teacher. this kid, eighteen and very fit existed blithely amidst
the noise and hysteria of the main kitchen.(shooting heroin and smoking pot was normal), and he would calmly juice his celery and carrots while everyone else was getting high laughing and talking excitedly. he would just smile and do his own thing.
his 'teacher' had been 'mr. universe'. then his teacher went off to india for many years and came back as a guru. he was a weight lifter and a body builder. he taught his form of yoga through caring for the body.(it's really more of a fakir school than a gnana yoga tradition).
vegetarians do seem to give off vibrations of purity. s. puzzled over this. this kid's ability to remain uninvolved in the chaos. the contrast between his healthy regimen and the flotsam and jetsam of human refuse was remarkable.
s. buckled down once again. he filled sketch pads with people doing their thing, pretty girls and trees in the park and naked 'flower children' swimming in cold rivers. a pencil portrait now and then was enough to provide food to keep body and soul together. you could say that the 'work' was keeping him out of trouble.
then julie arrived, found some 'john' and moved into a large and lovely apartment on haight street. the beauty of it was the bay window in the turret. s. loved that alcove.
it was on the third floor and commanded a good view of the street.
s. would visit but never stayed the whole night. that was over the moment he read the letter to fitzgerald. julie called on s. to babysit often. he always came. this routine went on for some months.
quiet nights and golden days and the billowing fog rolling in on schedule on cool afternoons; the 'panhandle' of golden gate park.
this is an aside for elucidation:
"From 1964 to 1968, there swelled a gigantic wave of cultural and political change that swept first San Francisco, then the whole United States, and then the world. What was fermenting in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco was a powerful brew that would ultimately stop a war.
As any history book will tell you, the Haight's popularity grew as the Beat Generation (inspired by Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, etc.) in San Francisco was dying out. Many of the beats crossed over, but a younger generation attracted to the bohemia of the Beat Generation gravitated to the Haight-Ashbury district, where the rents were cheap. Many were students at nearby University of San Francisco, UCSF, and S.F. State University. Others were musicians, philosophers, artists, poets, apartment-dwellers, panhandlers, and even future CEOs of companies such as Pepsi, the Gap, Smith-Hawken, Lotus, and Rolling Stone magazine."
this is good too….
then fritz said, "let us go to mexico." fritz had become s.'s sidekick. he was a good weather vane. being an Aquarius, he was like a compass needle for what was happening. fritz was a 'west coaster', and s. was an 'east coaster' fritz was blond, s. was brunette. sometimes they would find a duo of the opposite sex and romp in the hills together, not knowing even which girl was whose. it all comes out in time after a sunset and a bonfire.
"yes, let's." s. was in a mood for an adventure. the boring politics of meeting ginsburg at his house, not feeling any affinity for him; not even getting into the roaring saturday nights at the 'fillmore'… maybe there would be some surprises down mexico way. .
so they headed south.
a stop at the los padres commune, to see chris and his lovely wife, cynthia. then they did the hot springs with saki, acid trips to the hills for painting a record of their times in the windblown caves in the cliffs above santa barbara. then s.'s lone vigil deep into the hills….
chris, fritz and s. dropped acid every day and then climbed the cliffs to paint a record of their time in the windblown caves with s.'s powdered pigments.
they formed tinfoil cups and mixed colors with water dripping from the mossy crevices.
toking hashish through the days, plus oldsley's acid (blue dots), first thing each morning, they painted. chris and fritz were abstractionists but s. left a record of jet airplanes, televisions, skyscrapers and the atomic bomb.
s. had almost died varnishing the cave paintings.
s. insisted on the fourth day on going up alone to varnish it all.
that incredibly real moment when he clung to the pockets in the vertical rock face. "i'm going to die." was all he thought. he couldn't find a way up, and he had no way to go back. he was shaking and his foot holds were crumbling. then looking out over the landscape he noticed a sailboat sailing silently in the distance, so far away.
meanwhile chris and fritz were shouting orders. "hang on man.", "you'll be alright." and chris saying s's favorite words, "be cool, man."
and s. was cool. he was in a new state. the impression of the quiet sailboat had changed him. and it was simple. fritz and chris could see the next hand holds and directed s.'s every move. s. got there. he varnished the paintings.
then he and fritz and rin and one other guy; rin wright, now his friend with no animosity or jealousy, (he was the correspondent in julie's affair).they headed off jubilantly for baja and mazatlan in the $50.00 pink oldmobile with fixed brakes.