Revolution on CC-TV

Late Spring 1974 Bunker Grass and I drove a station wagon from Boston to San Francisco. He flew to San Diego to meet a dancer friend in LA. Male. I said nothing and hitchhiked down PCH 1. The trip took five days. I crashed in Monterrey with gay fisherman. Big Sur with two horny dykes. A tripping surfer in Santa Cruz and alone in a orange grove north of LA. Another night to San Diego. Bunker was hanging in Encinitas. A beach community north of La Jolla. His dancer friend brought us to a gay disco. Bunker brought home a fag hag and I smoked reefer with his friend until dawn. Nothing happened between us.

Two days later Bunker ran into a long-hair prophet from Iowa. Colonel Rockford had survived a cancer attack. Complete remission. The son of a corn farmer dressed like a disciple of a forgotten messiah.

“I’m on the good path now.” Rockford professed shucking his good Christian morals after staring death in the face and seeing no white light in the tunnel. His belief of contemporary life demanded a regime of non-possession. “And all I need is one bag. One bag of everything I love. My flute and favorite jacket.”

Rockford had two followers. Female. Nona and Carol. Nona was Filipino/Italian. Carol was all blonde. They lived with a professor of medicine. His studies were on psychedelic drugs. The professor gave us LSD. We tripped for the benefit of his noteboo. Carol adn I bonded after speaking to the wall while listening to Jefferson Airplane. Rockford was cool about my attraction.

“If you want her. Take her. She doesn’t belong to anyone.”

Carol was hurt by this statement. She was jealous of Nona. Any women would be jealous of Nona. She was Asia personified in a nymphette’s body. 19 she looked 12. I never went out with them. Rockford was already in his 30s. Lolita with Clare Quilty. The police were after weird couples. It should have been safe for me and Carol. She was the quintessential hip California blonde. We should have been in paradise, except Carol resembled the fugitive from justice.

Patty Hearst.

White heiress kidnap victim turned revolutionary icon. The SLA were a black liberation group. They had one brother as a member. Donald DeFreeze was the leader. Patty Hearst had robbed a bank. Two civilians were wounded in the exchange of bullets. The take was $10,000. The price of three Cadillacs.

It wasn’t easy being with Carol

Sit at a diner.

Ten minutes later six squad cars would pull into the parking lot and the CHP officers would sleathfully slinked behind their cruisers with shotguns pointed at our table. the third time it happened I was used to the drill. I signaled the waitress with a raised hand


‘I’m not finished eating my pancakes.” Carol was sitting in the sunlight. A halo shivered over her head. The police must have seen the same. They hadn’t shot us yet.

“They don’t look happy.” My eyes twitched outside. Turning my head would have been an admission of guilt and I had a joint in the pocket of my Levi jacket.

“Not happy?” She poured maple syrup on the pancakes. Her body craved the sweetness. No one would ever call her fat. “Everyone of those cops are dying to be a hero. They think that I’m Patty. We’ve already been stopped in two places. You’d think they knew about that, but every time they hear ‘Patty Hearst’ their eyes widened with the hopes of becoming a hero. Capturing a ‘most wanted’. An arrest like that would make their career and I know, because my father was a cop. Out in Bakersfield.”

It was the start of a confession.

The entrance of a young cop cut it short. He was nervous. Hand on his pistol. It was still in his holster.

“Yes.” Carol stuck a fork in the fried batter and swallowed a mouthful of pancakes.

“I was sent in here to ask for your IDs.” He was expecting us to shot him dead. The waitress disappeared into the kitchen. It was us three.

“Why you? Low man on the totem pole?” Carol lifted her tea cup.

“No, I’m the only young guy. They thought I would be able to tell if you were actually Patty Hearst or not.” He was also resisting any urge to glance out the window. California cops were almost as trigger happy as Detroit or New York.

“My name’s Carol.” She sipped at her tea. “I think you’re cute. You ever smoke weed?”

“Only a little.” He stammered this admission. His hand lifted off his holster to wave at his fellow officers. “It’s alright now. I can see you’re not Patty. You’re prettier.”

“Thank you.” Carol knew when to play nice. She gave him a telephone number.

“I’ll call you later. I get off at 8.”

“Cool.” And she really meant it. We went home and dropped acid on Moonlight Beach. We stripped off our bathing suits and spoke to seals. Their language was so simple that Bunker and I reduced the dictionary to ten words. Arf Arf was fish. Nona and Rockford surfed on waves revving like motorcycles. The professor wrote down our every word. Even those of the seal. He was high too. We called Carol ‘Patty’ and playacted the kidnapping. Carol could outrun us. We were no SLA.

That evening the cop showed up at the bungalow. We were wearing silk robes and kimonos. The wind caressed the wind chimes. The night jasmine fused with the sea-salt mist off the bluffs. Carol liked the CHP officer’s gun. He emptied the cylinder. The bullets clattered on the floor. She put them in his pocket. ‘Patty’ had given herself to the cops. I was no SLA.

Never on TV. At least not in the USA.

Thai police.

International cyber-criminal.


Arrested. Fingerprinted. Photographed. Put on TV.

Can you see me now, Carol?

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Going Up Country – Thai Style

Back in the 60s Canned Heat had a small hit GOING UP COUNTRY.

“Going up country, baby, do you want to come along?”


After Altamont longhairs abandoned the rip-offs, bummers, and downers of the big cities to establish Aquarian communes in the hinterland offering free love, organic food, and reefer to establish a democracy on the foundations of the new age agrarian revolution, unfortunately few of these utopias lasted past the past the winter of the Moral Majority after the Summer of Love.

Why was well-portrayed in T. C. Boyle’s novel DROP CITY about the collapse of a Northern Californian commune and the surviving members’ exodus to Alaska, but that didn’t keep hippies from coming together for another try.

Like Alan Lage in Encinitas. 1974.

The Iowan had survived cancer as a teen and was living with an LSD professor on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I dropped acid with him and his blonde girlfriend on Black’s Beach. Leslie looked like Pattie Hearst, the kidnapped heiress turned bank robber. The cops raided us as SLA revolutionaries. The acid was on paper. They touched it. Within twenty minutes the officers were getting a rush. We left town that night not wanting to witness the cops’ wrath in the morning. I said good-bye to Alan and his girl on the PCH.

“We’re going to Marin live off the country.”

I almost joined them, but knew the cops up north would be after Pattie Hurst too.

A year later he showed up in Woodstock New York. Leslie had been replaced by Nona, half-New Jersey/half-Filipino. Skinny as Olive Oyl and smelling of cinnamon. They had a commune of two in a chicken farm. Grass, organic food, and John Lennon. Nona danced to Alan’s guitar. Her sinuous body weaved a trance invading my dreams. She was Alan’s chick and while I might covet my friend’s chick I wasn’t going to steal her, because I only break one commandment at a time and this night I went home with a fat girl I met at the Joyous Lake Bar. Babs had big breasts. We had sex in her bathtub next to a babbling creek. Later in her bed we committed sodomy. I should have stayed, but had the ambition to become a writer in ?New York.

And I thought writers need to live in the city.

Not the country.

Almost 35 years in Boston, New York, LA, Paris, Hamburg, Bangkok, Pattaya.

My first Thai wife doesn’t like Pattaya.

She preferred living in Ban Nam Phu west of Chai-nat.

2 hours by bus to Morchit. Another 3 hours to Chai-nat, then a 50 kilometer car ride.

Over our years together she has bought 20 rai of land and ten cows. The land was being prepared for a teakwood forest, so we can sell carbon rights to polluting factories and harvest the timber in 15 years. I went up once a month to visit my wife and daughter.

Crossing the river at Wat Sing we entered a land without farangs.

Rice paddies, egrets, buffalos, butterflies, pigs, trees, mountains, dirt roads, and early evenings drinking beer with rice farmers under a billion stars in the sky.

“Going up-country, baby, do you want to come along?”

Sometimes I think it’d be nice.

Smoke a little weed, drink a lot of beer, but what would I do for work?

Grow rice?

Only to brew lao-khao whiskey.

Teach English.

The headmaster of my daughter’s school would like that.

10,000 baht/month.

Nature. Quiet. Wife. Daughter. Farm. Beer. Reefer.

But then I ask myself what would happen if civilization collapsed under the weight of global warming. No electricity. No cars. No airplanes. No way to get back to the West.

The sea would flood Pattaya and Bangkok. People would flee inland. I would head up to my wife’s farm. It was on higher ground. 110 feet above sea level. My daughter would be happy to see me. My wife would view me as another mouth to feed.

“What can he do?”

Back in 1996 I was in Tibet with my friend Tim Challon. The road to Nepal had been smothered by a mudslide. We were sort of stranded in Lhasa. He asked, “If the world fell apart, what would be do to live here?”

The choices were simple in Tibet.

Become a monk or a clown.

A clown like Sean Connery and Michael Caine in A MAN WHO WOULD BE KING.

Tim liked the idea and this weekend I had everyone laughing at a family dinner telling them about getting a penis transplant from a horse and charging everyone 10 baht to see the farang with the ham ma yoow or long horse cock.

20 baht to touch it.

A hippie freak show clown.

That would be my calling after the Armageddon.

“Going up-country, baby, you want to come along?”


Wilbur Harrison had a hit with KANSAS CITY. My schoolmate, Joe Fielder, traveled to the Paris of the Plains in 1965. The police caught him in St. Louis. He escaped through the bathroom window and my 14 year-old friend reached KC the next day, where he ordered a steak and then rode a Greyhound back to Boston. His parents were relieved by his return and asked why he had runaway to Kansas City.

“Because they got some crazy little women there and I’m going to get me some.” Joe quoted from the song. His parents grounded him for the summer. Later at school Joe told me that KC had no crazy little women, but he couldn’t think of anything else to tell his mother and father.

“They were no pretty women.”

“It was all a lie.” Joe shrugged like he knew all the answers to every question about girls.

Three years ago I drove through Kansas City with Brock Dundee. The Scot was filming a movie about a sculptor close to death. We drove through the Power and Light District at dusk.

“I don’t see any pretty women.” Brock was a fan of the song KANSAS CITY.

“Some things don’t change.” The song was as much a lie in 2009 as in 1965.

Most of the cities of the Midwest are hollow shells, but not so Iowa City. This small town on the Iowa River hosted the campus of Iowa U. My old friend James Rockford lived on a farm twenty miles to the west, on which he grew marijuana instead of corn. Brock Dundee and I rendezvoused with the elder statesman of the hippie era at the Deadwood Tavern, which was the city’s premiere dive. We drank beer, rum, smoked a joint, talked with coeds, and at the 2am closing James suggested that we go to Riverside.

“Riverside?” My Scottish friend thought it was another bar. He liked his drink.

“It’s not a bar. It’s the future birthplace of James T Kirk.” Rockford broke out a vial of 1978 Bolivian cocaine. He was a true gourmand.

“You’re shitting me.” I’ve been a devout Trekkie since episode one and poured a pile of powder on my hand. No one at the Deadwood noticed my huffing the mound.

“Nope, it’s waiting for his birth.” James smiled with the knowledge that nothing could stop me from where no one I knew had gone before. We bought two six-packs of Tecate and flagged down a taxi.

“No sense in getting DWI’ed on a mission of such importance.” James wasn’t called ‘the colonel’ for nothing. The taxi driver thought that we were crazy, but said it wasn’t the first time drunks had given Riverside Iowa as a late night destination.

“Nobody in the world would know about Riverside if it wasn’t for James T Kirk. The town holds less than thousand souls. They don’t even celebrate March 22. I’m a Trekkie too.” The driver lifted his hand in the Vulcan greeting. I

The taxi traced the English River to the small town park. The greeting plaque welcomed us to the future home of James T Kirk. The driver stopped by a statue. Another marker proclaimed his future birth. I breathed in the night air thinking this town made James T Kirk, the captain of the USS Enterprise, was he was. I was that drunk.

“How you feel?” James asked, as my Scottish friend drank a beer with Rockford.

“Like I went to Jerusalem.” In fact this was even more holy than Jerusalem. Jesus was a myth and James t Kirk was a myth in the making.

“I thought you would, now how about going back to your hotel for some serious drinking.”

“You got it.” James lived out here most of the year. He didn’t speak to outsiders much. His wife would hate him tomorrow, but none of that mattered because he had brought a Trekkie to the Holy Grail.

Live long and prosper.

Joyous Lake 1975

The Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace; Music on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm near the hamlet of White Lake in the town of Bethel, New York has impacted American music culture for over fifty years. Richie Havens opened the festival and Jimi Hendrix closed the concert with a fiery psychedelic finesse. A half million freaks, heads, and hippies attended the outdoor show. Millions more have said that they were there in spirit.

I was one of them, becuase that August weekend I was washing dishes and walloping pots in the kitchen of the Tara Hotel in Braintree, Mass. 17 years old and trapped in a meaningless job listening to the newscasts of Woodstock over a radio. I thought that I must have done something horribly bad in a previous lifetime to have been punished so severely in the present.

Few of us knew that the summer of love was history. Teens grew their hair longer. We smoked more pot. I dropped LSD. The anti-war movement expanded into the middle-class. Woodstock was our two-syllable nirvana. Everyone wanted a piece.

In the Spring of 1975 AK was studying keyboards at Berkeley School of Music and I was teaching at South Boston High School. AK received a phone call from Rockford, whom we had met the previous summer north of San Diego. The three of us had shared an acid trip on Moonlight Beach. The Pacific roared with motorcycle waves and a seal had spoken to us in a trance. There was a girl with blonde hair. She had big breasts. It was a nude beach. None of us wore a thing. After we came down Alan announced that he was heading north to San Francisco. I would have joined him, if AK hadn’t talked me into returning to Boston.

“We have no money.”

Rockford had hit the road with $10, the blonde, and a guitar.

He stayed a year.

During the phone conversation Rockford explained that the Haight was overrun by junkies, speed freaks, and scammers.

“A very uncool place, but Nona said that Woodstock was cool.”

AK said we should go there and the next weekend AK and I drove west from Boston in his Firebird.

4 hours to Woodstock.

Rockford’s house was a renovated chicken coop by Tannery Brook. Nona was exotic with long black hair and a Balinese legong dancer’s body. She spoke with a New Jersey nasal grate trumped by her beauty. We smoked hash and then walked down the wooded side street to the Joyous Lake. Joe Cocker was playing at the small bar crowded with hippie die-hards and free spirited women.

Cocker had just emerged from a de-tox clinic. His friends refused him the right to drink, while they guzzled beer. The Sheffield singer’s voice retained its gritty tone and the audience hit the floor. I dance a full-breasted brunette from the town. Her dress revealed her tits down the nipples.

“You want to come to my place?” She grinded hips against my cock.

“Love to.” Hippie girl, pot, sex. It might have been six years after Woodstock, but this was my Aquarius moment, because the Season of Lust was in full swing winter, spring, summer, and fall.

I had sex with Dora three times that night.

The following morning she shook me awake.

“You gotta go.”

Her body was a little bigger than I remembered. And she was a little older. I didn’t care. I wanted more.

“Why?” I was ready to move into her small apartment overlooking Main Street.

“Because my old man is coming back tonight.” She threw my jeans and tee-shirt on the bed. “He’s a biker.”

“I’m going.” Bikers were trouble and angry bikers even more trouble. I dressed as fast as Clark Kent turning into Superman.

Ten minutes later I was back at Rockford’s place. AK and he were playing African thumb piano. Nona was swaying to the rhythmic plinking. They laughed at my story. I didn’t think that it was that funny and later I saw Dora on the back of a Harley.

Her old man was a tattooed bear.

I visited Woodstock a couple more times over that summer.

Dora was always with her old man.

AK and I dropped acid in July. We rocked out in the chicken shack. I played kazoo, Rockford strummed his guitar, and AK plunked out notes on his kalimba. Nona our muse was the dancing tambourine girl.

We wanted her, as did every man in Woodstock. Nona was Rockford’s for the moment. AK and I hated him for that possession. Neither of us were proud of that envy.

That autumn Rockford and Nona moved back to the coast. Neither AK nor I returned to Woodstock in the following years.

I ran into Nona in Bali in 1993. Rockford was living in Iowa. I saw him in 2009. AK taught school in Jupiter Beach, Fla. We meet each other at least once a year. The three of us remained good friends.

This past Labor Weekend I passed through Woodstock on the way to the deep Catskills. The Joyous Lake was now the Not Fade Away. The hippies were in their 60s. I walked over to Dora’s old apartment and knocked on the door. No one answered and I went downstairs to the Garden Cafe.

“Does a Dora live upstairs?”

“No.” The long-hair chubby teenager answered, while smearing organic butter on a bagel. It was morning. “But a lot of guys ask the same question. She must have been something.”

“She was.”

And so were the rest of us from that Woodstock generation and the Age of Aquarius keeps on shining with the Earth pointing at that constellation for the next 2000 years.

Rock on, Dora.

The name means golden and my memory of that night glows like stolen treasure.


“Why don’t we do this tomorrow?” I was happy in my SRO room on West 11th Street.


Last January my good friend Alan Lage passed into eternity after a long life on planet Earth.

I was listening to the Youngbloods’ GET TOGETHER and thought back to meeting ‘Jim Rockford’ on Moonlight Beach in the summer of 1974. We remained friends all that time and beyond and I had the luck to see the old hippie weed-grower in his native state back in 2009. My travel companion, Brock Dundee, loved meeting “Jim’ and his son.

“He is a real American.”

And so much more.

One of his last request was that we don’t eat meat.

Today is for you and hopefully tomorrow.

Rockford, wherever you are my thoughts are with you.

To hear The Youngbloods’ GET TOGETHER please go to the following url: I’m not spending another night in this dump.” My hillbilly girlfriend hated the warped linoleum floors and sweating wallpaper. The twenty-one year-old had just graduated from an art college in Ohio. This was the actress’ first summer in New York. It was my second.

“It’s not that bad.” A slight breeze was crawling through the single window.

“Only because you’re near-sighted.” Alice threw a bag on my chest. Her eyes were two different colors; green with tints of red. The latter was the color of fire. “Start packing.”

“Okay, okay.” I crawled off the soggy mattress and we loaded my books, clothing, stereo, and a black-and-white TV into five boxes. The clerk at the desk gave back my security.

“I get us a taxi.”

The driver of the Checker was reluctant to head into the East Village.

“I’ll give you a good tip.” I loaded the boxes into the trunk.

“I’m not going into Alphabet City.”

“No one said that you needed to go there.” I signaled for Yanne to get in the Checker before the driver changed his mind. He looped around the block to 12th Street to turn down 5th before heading east on 10th Street.

“Easy.” I kissed her.

“Happy to be out of there.”

“Happy to be with you.”

Happiness doesn’t last long in New York.

The driver