Three Lives and Some Hippie Truths
For Jack McCloskey, Ron Thelin and Ambrose Hollingsworth
Sometimes I get the feeling
that I'm disappearing behind
the glaring spotlight of media-
the political circus, TV,
and Sports, and Movie heroes
In this world of 6 inch and 20 foot tall
images who do nothing for humanity
except sell sneakers or make empty speeches,
or appear in the dream world of sex and violence,
and get paid millions of dollars
despite their marginal and illusory existence,
in this world our own lives,
the lives of those whose acts
come within the scope of their talents,
their intelligent daily decisions,
their unrewarded kindness and love.
seem to dissolve in frustration and toil
against the silence of the calculus of history.
But look closely at those lives
with their true heroism of every moment,
fulfilled through the sustenance of friendship,
the love of the children and one another.
For each other they become larger than life,
far larger than movie screens,
in the singing of a song
the reaching out of a hand across the emptiness
the drawing of a picture, the writing of a poem
even in the washing of a dish, the repairing
of a fence or car, the sewing of a loose button.
I am sitting at the memorial for Jack McCloskey,
at the Family Dog Ballroom.
Jack was the Vietnam Veteran counselor
whose life starting in that war
that so defined our era,
was given to reaching out to others.
First to their bodies when as a front line
unarmed medic, he gave aid to the wounded.
He would overcome the fear of witnessing
death's witless massacres each time
he hurled himself into the line of fire.
After the war, he learned
the necessity of healing the mind
that survived the broken bodies,
and then the souls that were left helpless
before the void of meaningless pain.
In this way he gave his heart away
to the veterans who needed it.
There was no People Magazine for Jack McCloskey
No "Jack McCloskey dies News at Eleven."
Country Joe McDonald is playing Sweet Lorraine.
The light show vibrates the air and his friends dance.
Now, my friend Ron Thelin
also has died at too young an age.
How we were tied together
by those mysterious threads
that pull us from life to life.
Two unheralded, trusting young men
traversed the Godhead, and a spark
ignited in that calculus of history.
Ron started psychedelic central
in the Haight Ashbury,
and a few months later
he gave us the money
to begin the San Francisco Oracle.
Our lights lit a small path for the world.
We learned in that cauldron
the integrity that kept our lives dedicated
to the unfolding of the mysterious heart
and the infinite depth of the moment
and place we live in.
Through the years the glowing diamond
of Ron's life was his wife, Marsha,
and their children, Kira, Jaspar Starfire, and Ace.
This was the longest running marriage
and family of our generation.
Yes, we also shared our lives with our mistakes,
with our excesses and our failures.
But our love, my brothers and sisters,
enters into the small molecules of our genes
and builds souls, and those souls
will create histories, and beings, and worlds,
and unite generation to generation,
and that love is at the beginning and the end.
Then Ambrose Hollingsworth, whose small light
also lit the path of our history, passed on.
Ambrose bound to his wheelchair
a writer, scholar, and occultist taught
the occult philosophies wherever he rolled.
He told me once during the time
he was choosing the astrologically
correct date for the Human-Be-In
what the hidden secret was,
"We are not just the broken body," he said.
"We are one infinite soul
vibrating, expanding, contracting -
one being, one God."
Watch out now we are heading here
for the basic hippie truths - no political analysis:
Like the swirling vibrating colors of the light show
we are rocking with the galactic winds.
Brothers and sisters, we are the galactic winds
and all the burning suns rolling
toward the end of the universe,
which we are also,
or the endlessness of the universe,
which we also are
or the turning mobius strip of the universe
which we are.
And our love,
the inner and the outer love,
that is our true nature, our contribution
to the calculus of history.
Sensual love and the love
that binds us to All of It,
to the oneness, that smiling,
joyful, peaceful love that makes
each step, each motion, each breath
so real, so eternal and so momentary,
the carrying water and chopping wood moment
the marrying through moment,
the merging into your lover moment
the moment when death and life are one.
© Copyright by Allen Cohen. All rights reserved.
Back to S.F.Heart's Allen Cohen Poetry