Tuesday, October 27, 2009

eighteen years old just out of high school

december 1966 pittsburgh

finished up my last shift
at horne's warehouse
caught a notice about sharing a ride
to california
called m in l.a.
asked her how she might feel

about having company

said it was o.k.
would see her in a few days
where was echo park?
i'd find it

a new sedan needed drive-a-way
to the coast
the guy taking it
wanted another driver
i was it

it wasn't about scenery
just go
non-stop 80 mph
'cept for gas & stop lights
3 a.m. thru east saint louis rain
railroad tracks & bridges
by morning there were smokestacks
petering out on the horizon
then out to the endless prairies

oklahoma then texas
finally a whole day's rest
in warm amarillo
felt like a cow-poke town
of neon and broken down hotels

blew across new mexico
white sands blasting the windshield
arizona high desert heat
'cept for flagstaff
pines clearing the highway dust

finally california and the long descent

no phone call just showed up
at m's doorstep in echo park
lucky to catch someone home
co-op type cottage
warm kisses
a few sunny rooms
a couple of deep breaths

beneath the covers
between judy collins thirsty boots
and a trip to delano
picket lines at safeway
no california wine
for the union makes us strong

went to cal state
antiwar rally
m on the stage
a cry for help
in our voices
for those not speaking

griffith park was like
a grand prix
m's little mg
top down
inside on the curves
watts tower
venice beach
was all about a dream

--- e b bortz

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