A Long Walk Into Year 66

Last year Chef Dave from 169 cooked a Memorial Day BBQ on his roof deck in Bushwick.

I brought a bottle of Chardonnay.

I ate hamburgers, hot dogs, and drank wine, Jagermeister, and tequila.

Someone gave me a magic mushroom.

It had a red cap.

Another handed me a marijuana gummie.

I did them all and left the soiree at 1pm.

It was the first hour of my 66th birthday.

I saw in my 64th birthday at the Little Neck along the Gowanus.

Paige and Steve were with me.

Fried clams and ‘gansetts.

They’re in Uganda now.

I do miss them, but Africa was 7000 miles from Bushwick.


I caught a bus up Gates Avenue and got off thinking I was close to Clinton Hill.

I discovered my error on the street.

I was nowhere near Clinton Hill.

I shouted for the bus to stop.

It disappeared into the darkness.

Bushwick burned during the 1977 Blackout.

Crack and a 9mm were royalty in the 1980s.

Then the shit stopped and life returned to Bushwick.

But not tonight.

No one was on the streets.

No cars.

No taxis.

I didn’t have enough money in my account for an Uber and calculated that my crash pad was an hour’s walk away.

I hadn’t included getting off on the mushrooms in my thought process and slammed against a chainlink fence. A dog barked from a nearby yard. I wished the pit bull could have walked me home. I was in need of help.

The streetlights were bright.

Too bright.

Only the trees offered protection from their glare and I stumbled along the sidewalk.

Not knowing where was the where I was was.

I listened to Sly and the Family Stone.

Getting ever higher.

A ghost bike haunted a corner.

Someone had died here.

I prayed for their soul and the phantom remained asleep.

I was so jealous.

My feet went left.

My feet went right.

I had lost control again.

The darkness was all powerful this late at night.

Another chainlink fence saved me from collapsing like the World Trade Towers.

My fingers clung to it.

Concrete consciousness was poured into my spine. My legs regained movement and I resumed my trek.

I checked the bus schedule.

They ran once an hour.

I was fucked and only my feet could unfuck me from sleeping on the street.

Even as much as I wanted to crawl into the bushes.


There was too much light.

I sang along to Blue Cheer and tried to dance.

I swirl into a twirling tornado.

My body faceplanted horizontally into a bush sprouting the leaves of summer.

I was getting off again.

Lights shifting colors. Music orbiting celestial.

“Where am I.”

I wished I lived here.

I didn’t and continued west without any familiar landmark in sight.

Bushes whispered my name.


“No.” I didn’t dare look at the time on my cellphone.

It was playing CHELSEA by the Stiffs INC

I pogoed and almost tumbled into the vegetation for the hundredth time.

My arms stretched out like a highwire artist and I regained my balance.

The Great 66.

My birthday and Route 66.

I had hitchhiked the Mother Road in 1972.

At night it was darker than here.

On a nameless street I took off my glasses.

I didn’t need them to see shadows reaching for my soul.

I leaned against a fence.

More leaves touched my face.

I thought they were the same from before.

I was wrong.

But right too.

A flower called my name.

A rose.

A fragrance.

I walked again.


The ebony outline of a church tower.

The world bleeding into a blur.

Then again the rose.

More powerful than before and I sang the Jaynettes SALLY DANCES AROUND THE ROSES.

I knew where I was.

Not far from my bed.

Same as the flowers of a Bushwick night.

Resting in peace.

Like the living asleep for my 66th birthday.

I smiled recollecting my 40th in Bangkok.

With cousin Ty Spaulding.

I had made a fool of myself at a comedy club.

Ty said, “Everyone laughed at your escaping the hook.”

I was a million laughs back in the last century.

I turned the key in the lock.

The door opened and I was back in 1992.

It was easy to travel time on mushrooms.

46 years from a hop skip and a jump from now.

And then I tripped on a shadow.

I hit the bed like a vampire reaching the grave just before the dawn.


Only I was not home.

Just at the 169 and Chef Dave shook his head.

“Old people.”

Just like vampires old people hear voices in their sleep and I heard Chef Dave.

I would show him how old I was tomorrow, because then I would be 66 and one day.

I was much younger than that yesterday.

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