“Golden Anniversary Mugging”

by Gerard Sarnat

Horror show at the time
but small and perfect
in fragile retrospect

the closest I ever got to
was summer of ’68

break from Stanford med
living with high school
freaks who scored

1600 on their SATs
plus tabs of LSD
that they shared.

I paid a month’s rent
so we could crash
in East Oakland

just off the 880 freeway
which poisoned poor
babies with car lead

near Montgomery Ward’s
where I bought a set of
weights guys pumped

when not busy lifting from
7-Eleven, doing odd
jobs, acid, fucking.

Came back early one morning
to find iron etc on 23rd St.
landlord had tossed.

Thusly ended first stop
but underage GF & I
hitchhiked north

to her parent’s poultry
farm in Sonoma to
gather literal egg

money before then heading
to Vancouver so this head
could stay ahead of

my LA draft board plus
outa Nam. Chick’s
dad and mommy

supposedly away on vaca
arrived July 4 while we
occupied their bed—

so as to avoid papa’s shotgun
this boy got in shoes/ pants
onto the road pronto.

Surviving on Ding Dongs,
babe and I made it into
Canada ’til she left me

in the dust for better prospects.
Single life there didn’t pan
out like imagined

so when really nice strangers
offered a ride back down to
San Francisco I jumped in.

Past the border after I fell
asleep, she gently slipped
off blue backpack, jacket

holding my wallet as he
opened the door, rolled
me onto the pavement.

Colder than a witch’s teat,
I got lucky picked up by
a rainbow hippy bus

took us to their Mount Shasta
commune, feast night of
drugs, love culminated

in Jamaica knit hats being passed
for cash collected to get moi
south to the Republic of

Berkeley, the place one of you
maybe reading this provided
comfort and some money.