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Ch'ang Shih

Ch'ang Shih (Long Poem)
In the Summer of seventy-five we decided to make our way into the mystery forest of stream/trees where the road winds through endless switchback twisting to and fro our journey began in Huntington Beach starting off in a red and white microbus given to us to use by John's folks such trusting souls gas tanked full plenty of music tapes eight track Sanyo high hopes and foggy expectations of our trek north up the state Long Beach gas capsules green airport blinking down jumbo jet cylindrical Tower of Holiday Inn 360 degree view of the metropolis the 405 to 11 Harbor Freeway into Los Angeles cool cats driving callidacs be-bopping into the city lane-change to the beat of Paul Butterfield passing the scrappers of Downtown a million windows in need of wash overways underpasses interchanges cross-streets hit 101 to Melrose offramp stare at Mount Wilson Observatory star-gazing over Big City north on Melrose stopping at Bodhi Tree to find incense, books, prayer flags for excursion head out with farewell prayers and wishes for sentient LA County straight ahead to the 5 which hits 99 thru Bakersfield and Fresno cities far removed from excellence of sea-water breeze Fresno with its expansive area of shopping paradises the lone road travels stretched onward heading for the hills rolling wander up through stratas of the species scrub and brush spray of stone the city pulls back from our view waiting to be returned to pine trees appear here and there the beginning of forest 41 taking us on her curves Coarsegold/Oakhurst/Yosemite forks we enter the Visionary Lands of Yosemite National Park Mariposa Grove and Wawona and Badger Pass at 7,300 feet Chinquapin happy hunting grounds of Native Sons merge thru a tunnel or two rock lined drive built by cons solid granite blocks of Aztec design dipping down to the Valley entrance of Yosemite it opens before us like it did for John Muir revealing a billion years of glacier erosion rain snow hot sun streaking lines down sheer cliffs this is where they take Chevrolet commercials the perfect American Dream.... for the first sight of Valley beauty we jutted up the Glacier peak road and checked out the whole trip from 7,214 feet proceeding to go in Village of Despair everyone enjoying the grandiose all at once fine powerful flow of the Merced at High Tide Answering the call of fishermen the dream of Anglers stay the nite at Sunny Side camp great gathering of lost travelers 50 cents a nite nobody pays the armed guard rangers with their probe-light search for smoke and good times never go far from trails might get jumped a few fires around lighting the faces peaceful mosquito free time of jokin' singing and listening days here are hell next to insect-ridden Merced tremendous breed-ground for the 'ten-thousand' things humming omnipresent blood seeking creatures too much of a good thing 'spoiled' by skeeters onward onward to The City San Francisco we hail your call as your faithful children we come driving free back to you putting out of the valley tree lined paradise of city-dwelling mare out on 140 Merced bound El Portal of my eye Briceburg/Midpines/Mount Bullion/Cathey's Valley down the stratas seeing in reverse pine trees ferns rivers streams to brush scrub oak and steam flattening out on Merced plains where farmers do it like nothing happened 140 to 580 Atwater/Modesto/Livermore straight to the cool Bay Onward Hayward! across the San Mateo bridge first of many to be crossed first look of many at the poetical Bay the City looms ahead filled with goodness arrive scan scam rest on coast at end of Golden Gate Park Chinatown with Ancient script message T'ai Ch'i walking club gangs trash strewed alleys of forgotten pictures exotic diet of fish and vegetables them Chung guo jens (Chinese) eating the same for 3 thousand years pickled chicken eyes and a piece of Carrot City Lights Bookstore beaming from the past into the future conscious center of weary traveler homy Om of my friends the contact between me and Ginsberg Kerouac Ferlingetti Corso Roxroth Cassidy Burroughs McClure the friends dearest to me whom I've never met know their lives well could tell them who their mother was and where she lives deep breaths in City Lights to be Home in the fog of memories downstairs hearing ghost voice of Kerouac filling the room with enthusiasm next door used books been there a while seen a few things being next to Lights I'd camp out if they'd allow it but you know how it is in the midst of billy-clubs stumble down to the Wharf and scarf Clam Chowder reading Children of God Moses David another evening in the bus crashing in San Francisco end of line the sights of far north hypnotize us penultimately off we go to Oregon San Rafeal Bay side love land with John Muir woods at the end of town winding out to ancient and wind-swept coast Mountain range dips to the sea's edge the ocean violently beats the tide pools making fine sand of solid rock such is water's virtue Hiway 1 it is travelled by the fleeing flower children years ago om-ing their way to the seclusive Oregonian beauties Bolinas/Point Reyes/Tomales/Bodega/the Sonoma coast all this country and they scream we're running out of land Stewarts Point/Sea Ranch/Anchor Bay/Point Arena and Fort Bragg outside Rockport 1 becomes 101 away from the coast for a while into Redwood enchantment we stop for visit with commune buddies living in tipis with pot growing all around it Tibetan prayer flags guide you there down dirt road named Shit Fuck Piss at the end is the Naked Lady Saloon a bunch of freaks live in the bar partying rootin' and tootin' cowboys they own the property lots of homegrown Neo-American Bookstore with ALL the books on psychedelics a guy named steve runs it up and out the VW making bacon easy on gas at 60 cents a gallon only three times as much as last time pass thru Humboldt County fine place of green sea pastures old wood barns on the coast breaking down from the years of tears all the redwood groves being eaten away by the hungry loggers so as we can enjoy redwood lined saunas Fortuna and of course Eureka with places such as Blue Lake/Bayside and Freshwater pass through Crescent City last city in California on the Coast Hiway from Crescent City in our high state we push the bus on on astral ascension into Del Norte County Heights Upper State rivers winding around the road Six Rivers Country memories of my first run thru these hills 199 all the way to Grants Pass Oregon where they were shooting hippies a few years back all pick-ups have easy-rider rifle racks in the window life is just as I left it hill billys in pie stand getting down on a home cooked meal talk about trout and how Crater Lake is polluted got stagnant this year snowed in sewer lines backup-up shit fouled the drink water no body at this time can enter Siskiyou Mountains with a million trails and not a soul on them miles and miles and miles and miles of forest trees and rivers Gold Hill vortical vortex of the western hemisphere straight thru the arth is the pinnacle of the Great Pyramid of Giza Super Energies of Earth Magnetic swirls of surround belts keeps everything together the trees next to the vortex itself bend inward Medford's the big city of the Rogue Valley worked there in Pear factory a perfect 26 degrees in the cooler I was in liftin' 50 pound boxes of green pears ship off to Argentina in freighters Maltese Cross Sun-Sugared Pears/Harry and David Orchards heading south now back down into the barren depths Interstate 5 South stop at Ashland home of the Shakespearean Festival Lithia Park with bubbly Lithia water big black cat pan-handling for Heroin in front of police station Marc says he works for the Man I review Ashland my home long ago drive back on Grandview road high above Pristine Ashland see Gertrude my mountain mother goat/rabbit raiser smoking Velvet pipe tobacco in hand rolled cigarette drinking goat milk and eating rabbit meat Marc got powerful telescope checks out Oregonian Sky flute/guitar hate to leave but losing the clothes in laundry helped us along up and over Majestic Shasta protruding solitarily snow capped home of Tibetan Refugees Mother Thedras receiving station for Direct Message cross the great ranges of Klamath National Forest back in California we take 89 to Historic Site of Mt. Lassen Volcanic Park McCloud/Bartle/Pondosa/Hat Creek/Old Station red orange purple mountains devoid of trees steam rising from Mother Earth's bowels sulphur bubble pots oozing of springs rainbow colored mud spilling hot and cold streams billows of smoke/steam primordial scene of the beginning pterodactyls breath contained in the sight of this remembering Brontosaurus meal at dawn in the cloud obscured sun of preCambrian times no stop here drive further Chico/Orland/Interstate 5 picks us up again casting us back back to mid-way perfect point San Francisco we been thinking about her all this time fair lady ocean three sides if looking at map you can see how all roads and streams converge towards her pulling it together in *Sacrament*-O funnel to GREAT BAY sun sets in review mirror setting on the Oregon we just left I drive late all the way to The City from Lassen wanting bad to get there take advantage of John's folk's credit card we cross Valleyho bridge scuttling thru Berkeley in the dark dream light of streaming cars cytoplasmic over the double-decker miracle Oakland Bay Bridge didn't have anything smaller than a fifty (all I had) the guy had to radio for permission to cash we scared him being long-haired woodsy critters he did it finally and off off away across the bay into the heart of our beloved San Francisco looking for Hotel to check in to Fisherman's Wharf Holiday Inn Said sorry you'll have to make reservations two weeks in advance slept on beach tired and very spaced arose to look for showering tower went to Berkeley side got room at Holiday Inn 10 floors up primo deluxe fresh shower filled with renewed power Shambala Bookstore Telegraph Road everybody selling their trip on the sidewalk to see it still happening shopped it all even pinball Orange Julius consciousness made it to Co-Op and back o Hotel Room 1014 color optics and grand view of the freeway clear light sugar cube for a relaxed evening into a dream clean sheets check out sign 32.00 bill headin' for home Oakland smokestacks line the shore waiting to smoke away 17 to 101 South-Bound our thoughts in a haze returning to the dry image of LA Basin where you can cut slices of the atmosphere and eat it openness of the back side Coastal Range superfluent Oaks the oldest being around two hundred no thought of expectation just going home like we know it so well San Jose/Gilroy/Watsonville/Salinas/King City/ Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo touch the sea Pismo Beach drivin' man straight thru piss out the window Santa Maria/Santa Barbara/Ventura/Oxnard these places require the best of poets minds digging deep for the images we up and over the last time to behold the City of Angels all we get is rumbling of the stomach wondering why it happened here dry dry dry like a nickel novel bought in used book shop read it and not thinking twice dust collectors item inner neural circuits leading pulling to Huntington the rare jewel in this steel concrete wilderness campground the familiar smell of those Oilers flairs my nostrils once again a little more moving than nostalgia I can smell the incense from here the driveway the way we always find/leave it ever the same after seeing the utterness of everything we come back to the fabled scene of Huntington Nirvana resting eternally on the shores of the Peaceful Pacific calling us home once again.... Om Point in the world at 515 7th Street wondering when I'll really return.... Summer 1975

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