The Sixties

Painting by Andy Munz -- Fall 1972 ---- Andy was (still is) one of my 60s friends from back home in Upland, California ---- this painting has hung in the living room of every house I have ever lived in since he painted it ---- photo by Kai Radius ( I needed a color photo of this and I was on telephone with trumpeter Hugh Schick and when I saw Kai out the window across the street, where he lives, I told Hugh I'll call him back I need to ask Kai if he'll do a photo for me)

Painting by Andy Munz — Fall 1972 —- Andy was (still is) one of my 60s friends from back home in Upland, California —- this painting has hung in the living room of every house I have ever lived since he painted it —- photo by Kai Radius ( I needed a color photo of this and I was on telephone with trumpeter Hugh Schick and when I saw Kai out the window across the street, where he lives, I told Hugh I’ll call him back I need to ask Kai if he’ll do a photo for me)

THE SIXTIES

for Scott MacNicholl, who was there, and for all of us
……………………..who survived or didn’t survive those times

We’re still wondering what
……………………………that was?
How did it happen?
Whatever it was, it was a long while ago and far away . . . .

We all fell down a rabbit hole —–
My Dad said, “I thought we’d lost your generation”

Am I really breathing through my belly button?

An explosion of curiosity & possibilities,
consciousness expansion: a tidal wave of spiritual questing

My mind’s eye is squeezing the wah-wah pedal on my brain

Ardha chandrasana starfish cartwheeling pose

—-confusion —-(then & now)——–

Why does my voice sound so far away?
It is me, right?
only my voice is way over there, and kind of faint . . .

It is our sacred duty in this life to rise above, to
…………………………….prepare for transcendence

Knowing our impermanence . . . .

I expected more fantastic visions, instead of this glowing,
everything is glowing —-

where are the caricatures floating out of the fog?
the spiraling mandalas?

(I’ve had better visions on heroin, but . . .
heroin is the dark side)

As the ever-changing wheel of impermanence informs us . . . .

I was on a sagebrush alluvial savannah the night men first walked on the moon
myself and my fellow voyagers tripping on LSD and that moon
was full and round and staring back at us, huddled together
in an arroyo with our bongos, flutes, and guitars, under
a pepper tree, silhouette of Mount Baldy, Ontario Peak
and Cucamonga Peak glowing

Cross-eye yoga stethoscope throbbing

Hokatandi ong trengel montanla
triangulate
ah-kalokana wooposamtli fosh woohanow

From what to what?
What to where?
Who to how?

Try hitch-hiking on acid — you can’t remember where you’re
going or why it seems like hours ago you got into this car
when you were only going ten blocks up to the mountains . . . .

One time Kenny Barreras & I had dropped some acid and were
suppose to meet some friends in the mountains that night but
wow, we were so confused, couldn’t remember
what was what and if we weren’t late because
it seemed like hours we had been traveling —- (Kenny was
interested in alchemy and magic and kept a dried toad he called
DaDum in a pouch that hung from his belt)(that always freaked
out the cops who were intent on keeping America
one-dimensional by hassling us longhairs)
Kenny was always fragrantly drenched in patchouli oil,
his tarnished Ankh and sacred beads —
I was wearing my teal blue marching band frock coat with the red piping
and brass buttons
and a coonskin cap with my pharaoh’s goatee
and biker’s boots —-

That was the norm back then, dress like that now
and they’ll reassign you to the Laughing Academy

One thing about LSD is you can see in the dark
plain as day

When we finally got to Cucamonga Canyon
and found our friends, Jamie Berg the Provocateur, made us
strip bald and ordered us to dance while she lashed us
with a long leather whip (where did this whip come from?)
exhorting us to do The Naked Snake Dance —- we were
so confused! —- (for years we were taunted about “The Naked
Snake Dance” until it became legend) —-

Cosmic ether!
We were so disorganized!
We were so brave!
We were fugitives!
Ah-kalokana hakotanday pan-equalis por vortexico in eternai

26&27july14

Scott MacNicholl, KUNM Operations Manager in his office (are those 'shrooms in the window sill, or microphone pop filters?) ---- A force for the good (Scott, and the shrooms too for that matter) ---- Host of the Saturday evening Psychedelic Radio Head Shoppe ---- February 8, 2o13 -- photo by Mark Weber

Scott MacNicholl, KUNM Operations Manager in his office (are those ‘shrooms in the window sill, or microphone pop filters?) —- A force for the good (Scott, and the shrooms too for that matter) —- Host of the Saturday evening Psychedelic Radio Head Shoppe —- February 8, 2o13 — photo by Mark Weber

My wife Janet Simon, she always wanted to be a hippie, but instead she became a doctor ---- this her dressed for the office Halloween party --- There's a lot about her that's like a hippie: she likes camping & hiking & sitting on the beach, yoga, vegetarian food, music, fun, probably why I love her ---- photo by her husband --- October 31, 1997 Albuquerque

My wife Janet Simon, she always wanted to be a hippie, but instead she became a doctor —- this is her dressed for the office Halloween party — There’s a lot about her that’s like a hippie: she likes camping & hiking & sitting on the beach, yoga, vegetarian food, music, fun, probably why I love her —- photo by her husband — October 31, 1997 Albuquerque

My bedroom during high school years ---- 1971 --- my Roberts reel-to-reel, my metal clarinet, my Realistic stereo receiver/amp, another Andy Munz painting, and my girlfriend Sharon Barreras ---- photo by Mark Weber

My bedroom during high school years —- 1971 — my Roberts reel-to-reel, my metal clarinet, my Realistic stereo receiver/amp, another Andy Munz painting, and my girlfriend Sharon Barreras —- photo by Mark Weber

Me in the little house I used to live in --------  400 1/2 Laurel Avenue, Upland, California -- I bought that knit cap in San Francisco and wore it night & day for a couple years ---- Note the Hardy boots! I wish they still made these, they zipped up the side and were suede ---- November 1976

Me in the little house I used to live in ——– 400 1/2 Laurel Avenue, Upland, California — I bought that knit cap in San Francisco and wore it night & day for a couple years —- Note the Hardy boots! I wish they still made these, they zipped up the side and were suede —- November 1976

25 Comments

  1. …and in the photo of my 1971 bedroom on the shelf sitting on the reel-to-reel boxes is a photo from my series “Still Life with Still” (ie. distillery apparatus from Andy’s operation)

  2. My mind’s eye is squeezing the wah-wah pedal on my brain
    …..indeed

  3. Cuzzin' Patsy aka Lillie White

    July 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Ahh Dear, Dear Cuz’-

    I think the Naked Snake Dance must have been a universal rite of something or other..It sounds vaguely familiar -I am sure you and Kenny were magnificent. However, I would like to know more about the whip thing..

  4. Love you Mark – thank you!

  5. another moment from another time,
    and all the moments turn out to be the same one…………..

  6. Alas, my sisters and I were wee little kids during the sixties, so we remember everything! Which disqualifies us according to Robin Williams …

    Great poetry and photos as always, Mark. I also loved the line “My mind’s eye is squeezing the wah-wah pedal on my brain”.

  7. Regarding the Naked Snake Dance ——– this was an invented thing of Jamie’s doing, me & Kenny were merely the unwitting victims of her whims, albeit stoned out of our gills, there were no snakes, we were naked, and if hopping up & down trying not to fall off the rocks & boulders while avoiding this whip is dancing then sign us up for Twyla Tharp — the canyons of the San Gabriels are boulder-strewn — we were camping at an old abandoned silver mine. After Jamie had her way with us, I presume we put our clothes back on and went and found the jug of wine. Both me & Kenny loved our wine. I’ll have to tell you more about Kenny some day, he was an artist, jewelry maker, poet, modest musician, and in his later days looked like Omar Shariff. He was gay, I was straight. During these days, of this poem, we all had long hair.

    It grieves me to talk too much about Kenny, he was one of my closest friends. He died of an AIDs-related heart attack on January 30, 1997 — age 44 — it just came up on him sudden. I was in the midst of alcohol recovery therapy at the time and had just talked to him on the telephone just a few days before. Alas, I had to stick very close to home until I had that ridiculous disease under control so I hope he understands why I couldn’t make his funeral.

    We were music heads together. Saw a lot of concerts together with our gang, driving around in my turquoise VW microbus. We even wrote a song together in high school. He had a nice record collection and turned me onto the Paul Horn In India album, which I still have. And I remember the day he wanted me to hear this mysterious band from Louisiana called the Balfa Brothers that was his current favorite — it was like nothing I’d ever heard before, very strange sense of intonation, like bi-tonal ensemble playing(?) We were both devotees of J.R.R. Tolkien and I wish he would have lived to see the Peter Jackson movies, he would have been nuts about them, as I am now.

  8. Thanks for the words and the photos and the flash from the past.

    Daisy

  9. Brave and free baby . . . dig! Nice!

  10. PS: really beautiful photo of Janet

  11. ah, my generation: from acid to antacid… or prozac! The 60’s promised so much… growing awareness, a vital peace movement, affordable education…well, they nipped all that in the bud, thanks to corporate reactions like the Powell Memo and the selling out of the Dem Party in the 70’s (“we want the same $ as the Rep Party”)… Film historian Steven Jay Rubin, recalled an interview he had with North when he asked the question, “What is the direct translation of Klaatu barada nikto, and Edmund North said to me ‘There’s hope for earth, if the scientists can be reached.'”[39]… i wonder if that’s still true…music is water, I am a fish…wonderful words and images as always…

  12. Richard Tabnik

    July 30, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    edmund north quote cited
    and referenced on wikipedia
    page for the movie “day the
    earth stood still” (1951)

  13. Same time, same age, different space. I never did acid, stopped drinking after 6 months at 17 while still in High School. Did have the idealism, still do, but I’m a pessimistic idealist. Still listen to the Doctor when I’m home. Still listening to you when I’m home. Still listening.

  14. beautiful poem, mark, and love that picture of janet…

  15. Scott MacNicholl

    July 31, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    “My mind’s eye is squeezing the wah-wah pedal on my brain …” Evokes the vision of Jimi Hendrix “the alien” looking at life on Earth, “Up From The Skies,” On Axis: Bold As Love. Listen to the crushing/heavy wah-wah Hendrix employs, he gets ‘it’, the acid trip, and suddenly he is playing the blues from the rings of Saturn, … oh yeah, we’re all doin’ time in the universal mind!

  16. I’ve always tripped out on the name Scott MacNicholl —– it’s like a tautology (ie. repeating something saying it twice) ——– his patronymic (ancestry through paternal side) is Scottish . . . .

  17. So, Mark, rumor has it you-all are going to reenact the snake dance and post it on Youtube. I think that’s very brave. If it goes viral and you appear on Jimmy Fallon give me a shout out.

  18. WHAT CAN I SAY …. YOU’VE SAID IT ALL … YOUR A FANTASTIC ARTIST AND A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING AND I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE IN MY LIFE, MARK. LOVE AND JOY ALWAYS…..SHEILA JORDAN

  19. My favorite book on the 60s is FLASHING ON THE SIXTIES by the photographer Lisa Law. For years Janet’s sisters in NYC have kept a copy of this book around because on every summer visit I reread it, and it has my favorite photograph of Dylan, and he isn’t even in the photo! (picture of his desk & typewriter). I finally bought my own copy, the 4th edition.

    Other good books are ORANGE SUNSHINE by Nicholas Schou that documents the surfer cannabis smugglers of those times, as well a good run-down on the 1970 pop festival in Laguna Canyon in the last week of December that was broke up by the jackboot police in riot squad mode with their truncheons & bullhorns — I was one of the last to run from them, wanting to stay behind and watch the carnage as they slammed the sleeping hippies (it was sunrise) — I was in high school then and had no worries that I couldnt out-run these pigs — I was already on the writer’s path and following Kerouac’s injunction that you need to experience everything and see as much as you can. (More on that later.)

    I also like SCRAPBOOK OF A TAOS HIPPIE by Iris Keltz, and Joe Boyd’s memoir WHITE BICYCLES. Also, a little further back is Allen Ginsberg’s poems at the end of his KADDISH collection (1958 poems published in 1961) especially the poem “Lysergic Acid,” an ecstatic poem if ever there was one.

  20. DELICIOUS. FRANK MORGAN BEGAN ON A METAL CLARINET………………

  21. Far out poem, Mark. And Janet looks so groovy!

  22. Bobby Bradford

    August 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    MW,
    Not a bad POME fer an Upland boy. That Janet is a real fox, ain’t she?

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