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Poetry offering from

Red Slider

In Memorium, Magna Cum Laude

          For which we must certainly pay
            a moment's tribute, á tempo now,
            to Captain Sullivan, on whose watch
            through the slitted windows at Park Station,
            under the pavillioned shadow of Kezar,
            our lady Stonehenge, as he packed us in,
            SRO, east of the sun, west of Larabareu,
            and not long after the old Haight theater,
            but well before the Straight,
            before the Psychedelic Shop,
            before the Free Clinic,
            before Bill Graham and the Fillmore,
            somewhat west of Sodom and Gomorrah,
            before the church with the upside letters
            on the cracked marquee

            standing there tall in his best bars and blues
            looking every bit the beatific inspiration,
            as Moses might, being just delivered
            of the tablets, and before the fatted calf,
            consigns to all humanity an amazing thought
            which he and god obviously worked and reworked
            in many drafts until it could actually ignite
            stone paper,

            a message delivered with such fervent conviction
            that we were all immediately compelled
            to reconsider the whole affair in a new light,
            then and there, in a moment's bright hush,
            blushed rose thundering to its breaking point,
            the stone shattering, temple crumbling news
            that it was, in his tremblin' words, just a lot of
            (#unspecified) 'Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll.'
            which at first stunned and then exploded
            entirely our befuddled, pure Sandoz'd
            notion that we were just out for a little
            weekend relief,

            would shuffle off to La Honda
            from our beach-front hospices and bunkers
            of Richmond whites and Sunset Spanish comfort,
            negotiating right, not left (Bayshore) turns
            to a Sunday of liquid pines and melted s'mores,
            unstoned until unpacked, walked backwards
            at Playland

            (hence removed to The HogFarm
            and the last remnants of the Gaskin regiment)

            that the mounted park patrol might mistake
            our sojourns into temporal insubstantiality
            as little more than a bit of goofy horse-play
            come to rest in the 23rd century, loitering
            by the Laughing Lady at the Funhouse,
            a few too many corndogs under our belts,

            that in the drown of that standing ovation,
            on a bleak drizzling Saturday , as the Captain fell,
            mortally wounded in a hail of ecstatic confusion,
            we realized the world would never be the same,
            was shook to the foundations, to be sure,
            and the whim that would become a roar
            now rose and stood as one thundering applause
            that would later be sliced, sorted and bagged

            in small reusable parcels to David Smith's
            Free Clinic, to the loft at the Psychedelic Shop
            and its nightly previews of 'Reefer Madness'
            - played as a loop until the film shredded -
            to Emmett's Diggers, to Rochford playing
            Raymond Chandler, To Janis playing the Straight,
            and piroshki's going up from 35-cents-a-pop
            while Nureyev played Icarus on the rooftops,

            that it would take us to the inevitable
            chapter at the end of the world,
            along with its good Captain,
            who finally succumbed beyond
            his wildest ambitions, who retired,
            went mad and finally left our earthly
            paradise, somewhat west of the moon,
            by his own hand rumor had it,

            The Chosen One, fallen angel,
            Prophet of the Gulls to propel us
            on our way to the Promised Land.

            To you, then, Captain Sullivan,
            our blessings and Kaddish prayers
            from the children of the cradle
            that goeth before the fall,
            our thanks and eternal regard
            for what we're on.

           © 1999 red slider. All rights reserved.

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