Friday, February 3, 2012

Allen Ginsberg and Risk in Boulder in 1974

I decided to go out to Boulder in 1974. It seemed like a lot of people were going there and coming back intoxicated by the mountains. I did my best to plan and save and see if anyone would want to travel with me. But when no-one kept to any kind of plan I realized I had to hit the road on my own. I packed oranges and nuts and water in jars and took Highway 80 West.

Back then white lines on the tarmac and white cross in some soda was a truckdriver's way to keep on truckin' so that's what I did too. When the rhythm of the road and the plains lulled me to take some rest I left the highway and pulled into a random gas station and sacked out for awhile. And when the early morning sun awakened me; I hit the road again. Back then you didn't have to have car insurance. All you had to have was enough tread on your tires and gas to get where you wanted to go. It was easier to be a wanderer.

I'll never forget when I drove within view of the rockies. I wrote a poem about it. Here it is:

the trip

on an anything is possible sunny day
wearing my brown derby hat
a pair of humongous dark sun glasses
and a pancho for kicks
i joined ranks
with a stream of lone roamers heading west

i was off
and i was leaving too
popping white cross
drinking cherry soda
keeping pace with the air conditioned chromed boats
and trucks that owned the highways at a hundred and ten
i was cruisin’

mesmerized by the black tarmac
and ribbons of road white streamers
that dissolved into the purple haze
liquid horizon
i scanned the edge of the plains
for the first sight of a mountain range
and then one day it happened

in the distance i saw clouds towering and swirling through
an endless sea of oh wow
snow covered peaks
and i remember thinking
the first people to have seen the rockies
must have been awestruck too

that was the year we met
by a fountain in boulder
we went to see the fireworks in july
on the top of some ridge
raspberry and neon
mushroomed below us

by jenn weinshenker

I had a delightful meeting with some interesting writers and meditators and mediators back then. I was young and didn't know much but I loved learning. And I always felt more comfortable around people that were older than me and people who actually thought about life and the condition of all of it. My young friends asked me why I hung around these older people. I just smiled and probably said something like, they're cool.

The way I met Allen Ginsberg was way too cool too. He made a great first impression. We were introduced my a mutual friend that remained dear to each of us for many years. Allen and I were friendly acquaintances. The story I'm going to share now is the Risk Story.

I was telling Allen about this new game that had come out called, "Risk." It was a board game. It was a laid out flat map of the world and the purpose of the game was to take over the world. The whole idea of this game cracked him up and intrigued him. He expressed an interest in playing it so I invited him to my small apartment.

One day he showed up. He brought a friend with him. A tall, quiet and wickedly funny young man. I don't remember his name. A friend of mine was also there and we talked and laughed and when I got the game out to show Allen what it looked like he said, "Why don't we play and take our clothes off!" So I thought, why not and we all took our clothes off and sat around the Risk board game.

Allen had this idea, "Why don't we play it so nobody takes over the world and nobody looses." What a fucking cool idea I thought. So that's what we did. We played for hours. Talking about how we would help each other to survive and giving eachother whatever we needed to stay in the game; all for free and completely unconditional. It was one of the most amazing, thought provoking nights of my life.

And that's my Allen Ginsberg Risk Story. I left Boulder that year and went to San Francisco. Some times I wonder what would have happened if I would have stayed there. But some wonderful friendships were made that lasted for many years. And the memories, man oh man, they are still just as precious as the moment when they were happening.

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