Hippie Easter Egg Matanza

Chris, Pilar, Michelle, and Amos 1974–ish (the 60s are ending)

This came to me, a gesture from someone at the event, a rare photo of my son age two and a half. He was so stylin in his little Peruvian bowler and fringie leather jacket.  He managed not to lose that hat for years–until? I don’t know. I don’t know what happened to it. Amos knows how to watch out for his stuff. Notice the sharp eye he’s laying on the dog who is sniffing around his basket. There may have been a candy or two; hippies weren’t big on wasting precious food money on empty calories. Those eggs he’s holding will go into that basket and be enjoyed, every one of them.  The weather was good and we can’t see it here, but there was a pig or goat roasting in the ground beside the house. It may have been roasting all night, and I don’t remember eating it, but I do remember the guys tending it, especially so no kids would come near and fall into the pit. An old-fashioned matanza, I would come to learn the Hispanic tradition of the huge party, the roasting animal, the boards on saw horses with a feast pot-lucked by all for all.

The teenagers are sitting on a low, unfinished wall that marks the shape of a front yard where a few years later, when Amos is turning five, Lucia and her son Miguel,  and Amos and I will take a turn at being the renters of the house.  It was a nice place. A real house owned by the neighbor Fermin who ran his cows and sheep every where but that little yard. Out back were a couple of acres of cow-heavenly green and a pond with a raft that every kid who lived there was forbidden to play on, but most likely every one of them did. I used to go back there and watch Amos pole himself around the pond. He’d learned to swim but there were murky things, old wire and fence parts and it was dangerous. He was careful. He watched out, and a bit like me, his mother, I think he believed that no harm would come to him.

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This boy, 1967.

This boy, 1967.

This boy, this man, was in France and Germany doing everything he could to stay alive serving his country and very luckily, did not get sent to Nam. He asked; he received. Is that why I finally married him? All he had to do was ask, really, which took him a while. When he finally did, it was on the phone from Hawaii to Alamogordo. But his separated-from-him wife didn’t file for divorce until the day he showed up at my door in New Mexico.  However, the story I want to tell right now is about high school.

We went to the same high school for one year. I saw him on the last day of school and my friend brought him to an off-to-college end of summer goodbye party. For us, it was a hot hello. He was a dreamboat incarnate and an oddball to boot. But while he had two years of high school left, I was off to college 100 miles away, close enough to stay in touch, a hot touch. But that’s not the story either. The story is jumping off the MacKenzie River Bridge, just north of Eugene, Oregon, where the park is now gentrified into an RV money maker for the county.

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PH Phactor Jug Band 1966

PH Phactor 1966

Paul Bassett, Steve Mork, John Hendricks, John Browne Jr.

The friendly and curious, Patrick Murphy, curator of the Summer of Love exhibit currently at the MMFA in Boston seemed surprised when I told him Steve and I had had a wall full of Avalon and Fillmore posters–all Steve’s doing as I was a bit impervious to the hugeness of what was happening in the music scene. The posters were pretty and made great wall art, free for the taking at most concerts or on telephone poles or taped inside windows along Haight Street.  And yes, I’d been to the Avalon uncountable times, always a guest given my girlfriend status with Steve. Fewer times to the Filmore, where the Airplane reigned and for some reason there wasn’t an affinity between us and Ms. Slick.

One afternoon Steve and I went over to the Fillmore to see if we could meet  Frank Zappa, whose music I liked for his  iconoclastic lyrics, including the off the wall band name, the Mothers of Invention . And there we were shaking Zappa’s hand ( Steve was; women/girls didn’t shake hands in those days) after helping him haul some of his equipment from the truck parked at the front door, across the long, wooden-floored hall, and up onto the stage. He was happy to meet Steve who was never hesitant to offer his farm-boy strength to a worthy cause. I carried lighter things and figured we probably wouldn’t make it back to the concert even though Zappa had electric good looks.  Zappa assured us we’d be welcomed as guests at the door. I don’t know why we didn’t return. Maybe it was just time to kick back–I have no recollection.

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THE Photo in Sunday Boston Globe Sunday Arts July 9, 2017 the Ensuing Letter in the “Ideas” Section July 16, 2017

This photo stirred up a fun ruckus between me and the MMFA in the last couple of weeks.  The Globe writer, Mark Feeney, reported a metaphoric judgement about us being  hippie drug dealers.  Now when in god’s creation would a drug dealer pose like a gargoyle, grin like an imp, and fan a wad of bills (one’s undoubtedly) in his belt in front of his own house? Why Herbie Green (The Haight Street Photographer) was there on the street is not clear, but I’m guessing he had ambled up the hill with John Hendricks just to see what he could see. Hendricks, I believe, was divvying up the previous night’s tips from the Matrix (still a famous jazz club). I attended that gig several times, maybe for the peanuts and beer which was their pay along with tips, maybe for something to do, maybe to listen to amazing music–a daily event for me for years. Anyway, we probs left the Matrix on our borrowed Honda Super Hawk 405 (thank you Mr. Jug aka Larry Hanover (RIP).  I’m guessing we were in bed from the looks of my attire, and John asked us to come down and talk to Herbie Green. What I do know for sure was that I got a dollar of the take to buy food, and we were not sitting out there dealing drugs in the wee hours of the morning.  Nor did any of us deal drugs period. The PH Phactor Jug Band smoked like all good folks did in our circle. John had even changed the lyrics from a well-known Christmas figgy pudding song to “We want some maryjuana, we want some maryjuana, so bring it right here.” And people did!  The song always embarrassed me a bit, making us seem like beggars, but John was serious.

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Steve Mork, vocals, jug, bass, in the PH PHactor Jug Band. Photo taken by Herb Greene at the wall in Herb’s studio. This photo is part of the band’s archive.

Girl magnet, musician, farm boy, literature major, veteran of the US Army, vagabond, taxi driver, gregarious, well-loved, divorced, re-married twice, at least three kids and many g-kids. My friend, lover, playmate, housemate, funny, easy-going, hard-working. I was lucky to have reunited with him via email the last four years of his life, twenty-five years after our parting words that hadn’t been unfriendly. I simply had to slip out from under his shadow to find myself.

Our youngest daughters are the same age—we traded parenting tips. We learned about each other’s families, lives, and what was right and what went wrong with our together time which lasted four years 1964-68. Though we couldn’t be a family, Steve went on after me to find religion (Yogananda) and love. He was his same old self at the end, but secure in his faith, happily reunited with children and family.

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For Lois Who Read Me The Li-Young Lee Poem

photo by Merimee

by Merimee Moffitt

That bright day toronjas not lemonade

fifty cents each, large and lumpy

picked from a Grandpa’s yard in Arizona

bursting with sweetness out of this world.

Remember the Hood River peaches hanging over the fence?

We rollicked in juice and hungry luck that day.

Ran across the fifty-years-ago highway and jumped into the Columbia

bobbing like fruit in a wash barrel.

And the day you parked your truck under the Bings

in that old filling station lot on the back road to Eugene?

I climbed atop the cab filling the looseness of my blouse

or was it my full skirt, with cherries so ripe,

so imperially rich, you sat fidgeting, beautiful you,

your chambray sleeves rolled up

afraid it wasn’t fair to get so much so easily,

you who grew up on a farm, knowing the cops hated

your hair and face and perfect body, hated my attitude

that we could take what we wanted as if the fruit gave permission.

The cherries were all we’d eat that day, living entirely outside the law.

 

And fifty years later, it’s grapefruits from Arizona

sold by darling girls, their brothers standing with toy swords

to protect them should la Migra happen by.

We can barely believe our good luck at these

golden globes of champagne-colored fruit, sold by

the children who believe in and practice protecting

their rights.

“For Lois . . .” was recently published in the Summer  2017 issue of Persimmon Tree, an online mag for, by, and about women 60 and older, in the Short Takes section.

 

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Barefoot John Hendricks in Bearskin Coat

John Hendricks, for some reason, met us on the stoop that morning. Maybe he hadn’t yet moved into the little efficiency on the second floor. John Browne’s pad, also on the second floor, was spacious. The attic even more so, as it happened to have an almost complete hardwood floor, making it possible for two other members of the PH PHactor Jug Band to room just above us, all part of the same rent.  Steve and I had the second bedroom, and gratefully, the pad had one an extra water closet off the entry hall. The place was plain jane fare, but it had a good kitchen and living room and it was home. Eventually, little Greggory Stockert would knock on our door, and we voted him in on the spot as chief kitchen boy, which he suggested, in order to apprentice  to the masters Nick Ogilvie and John Browne.

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Ben Klein’s book creates a link between the then and the now.

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David Hoffman is the first photo in Ben Klein’s beautiful book Irwin Klein and the New Settlers, photos taken by Ben’s uncle Irwin Klein. The negatives were rescued by Irwin’s brother Alan Klein and recently published in a photo documentary of Counter Culture types tucked away in the hills and valleys of Northern New Mexico circa 1970.

David took a nostalgia tour a few weeks ago with his daughter Iris, and as we’ve been in contact since Ben’s book was released, I invited him to visit on his way back to the airport. We spent a delightful evening and morning comparing notes of our mutual friends and acquaintances, many of them pictured in the Kleins’ photo book. I hadn’t seen David for fifty years! The conversation revealed truths I’d never known about because hippies most often didn’t delve into the past. We were about being in the Now. The tao of hippie-ism was living life fully in the moment.

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Zero Degrees of Certainty

empty swing syndrome

I try to put a lid

on happiness. Someone

said Don’t bank on this

period of sobriety.

Yesterday, you put a good

tire on your daughter’s car

for her to get to

work three hours away.

You notice three

missing lug nuts, and she

follows you to Auto Zone.

The groceries I’d bought

on ice in the trunk. We shopped

so she’d have food because

I could and you

take her

shoe shopping

for work shoes

as a way to be with her.

At goodbyes in the 103 degree

parking lot, you waved to me

two fingers to your lips

a sharp look in your eye

a thank you, and I love you, and

for all this I  knock on wood.

Might as well be building a porch

around the structure of our

family, where we all  hang

out, me with a cane for tap, tap, tapping,

the babies in swimsuits, and hope

tunneling through the whole mess

like an army of angels.

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No Job, No Pay, No Way

photo for La Palabra.a book of poems and photos about our bodies

photo for La Palabra.a book of poems and photos about our bodies

No job, no pay, no way

In spite of

he can’t read in spite of

Roe v Wade

in spite and spit

on his feet,

in spite of feel retreat or kill

in spite of Gloria’s smile

gone south

in spite of we’ve been had

again, the ceiling low enough

to knock in spite of dancing

in high heels

it’s how we’ve been sad

again in spite of her no smile’s

the work’s begun

again and Susan B.

re fracking fucking and getting

bashed, again, in spite of spit

or shit this president

this fakeyumpalous, pretentious man

is not my pres

I choose decline

in spite of elves’ unholy

Never mine. Not now. Not ever.

Not mine.

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