Butterfly lollipops, stained-glass tree tops.

Looking-glass waterfall, street corner Barbie-doll.

Mother of pearl, down the hatch.

Sweat soaked sheets, light another match.


Frightening thoughts appearing in spurts,

Beer spills and grain stains all over my shirts.

Wind swept knoll in a summertime haze.

I live through the nights and sleep in a daze.


What does it mean? What does it matter?

Most of this world is just a lot of chatter.


(Charlottesville, Va., Spring 1987)


valiums percodans here in my hand
white yellow blue which one for you?
tuinal seconal do what you can
dalmane and darvocet I love you too

demerol nembutal
compazine codeine
next to the band aids
behind the after shave
wash it down with a beer
then a grin ear to ear

I see twisting and falling
through slitty red eyes
At the bar there is mumbling
“Can you believe those guys?”

(Charlottesville, Va., Spring 1987)

two ladies in furs
windowshopping for diamonds
blind man sells pencils

(Manhattan, 1989)

Gilligan’s risen and started anew,
But where can he go and stay out of the news?
He’s hounded and mauled in paying his dues,
He’s touring the country in phosphorous shoes.
Packing them in and taking his cues,
Drowning in cornfields of radiant hues.

Heavens to Betsy she’s gone to the sea,
Thrashing and flailing and sipping her tea,
Hearing the ocean praise Robert E. Lee,
Searching for solace among the debris.

My apple has turned and started a-glow,
The trees have all melted and turned into snow,
Everyone’s age is starting to show,
Please just don’t ask me I don’t really know.

What will they go?
Where will they do?
Crowding the scene
In fashions of you.

(Oklahoma City, July 1991)

On December 31, 1990, I spent the afternoon with my girlfriend and a friend of hers from Grad school.  I came back to the apartment in the Haight around 5pm, to find my roommate Bud (Mitch Caplan had moved out by this time) and four other guys lying in the living room watching football, drinking beer and taking hits off of a 5 foot tall tank of nitrous oxide.

The root of this situation came from a man known as Delbert Dumbutt, I don’t even remember his real name anymore.

George Pappalardi (aka Lo Mein) was living in Richmond in the East Bay and used to come by our apartment sometimes with Jim Maddox.

One night in the fall he came by with another guy and Jim wasn’t with them.  It was this other guy (aka Delbert Dumbutt) who had shown up at the apartment on the afternoon of Dec. 31, 1990 with three friends and a tank of nitrous.

He rang the buzzer, Bud let him in, and, when I got home, it didn’t look like they were going anywhere soon.

I quickly inquired as to their plans for the immediate future…

Delbert D. said that they were waiting for a ride over to the Oakland Coliseum to see the Dead, but that they had been unable to get in touch with their ride…

I very helpfully offered to give them all a ride over to Oakland (with the tank) if they were ready in twenty minutes.

They didn’t really have any place to go over there.  Apparently their ride was also their place to stay and their money, etc, but, since it was pretty much clear to everyone that they couldn’t stay at the apartment much longer, they somewhat grudgingly took me up on the offer.

So, I pulled the car in front, and we loaded the tank into the trunk and took off for Oakland, about an hour and a half round trip.

Crossing the Bay Bridge, one of the guys showed a little of the tension that I knew was flying around any scene that involved bulk amounts of drugs – he said something about the guy that was supposed to have been their ride and hit the door handle with his fist.

Other than that the trip was uneventful.

We got over to Oakland and found a hotel right near the Coliseum, and the hotel had basically been taken over by Deadheads for the night.

There were so many people wandering around the parking lot of the hotel, with various cars coming and going, that nobody noticed me dropping off four more people and a large tank of nitrous oxide.

Since this crew had neither money nor a room, they made a fast friend in the parking lot and were stashing the tank in the bushes as I drove away.

I still breath a sigh of relief just thinking about it.