I can hardly believe it... Today’s my birthday...again! Faster than the flash from a psychedelic strobe-light, the years have swiftly past away. Damn! It seems like yesterday, I was only seventeen. Even though, I honestly don’t feel like it; I’m currently in the autumn of my ephemeral existence... Sixty-three years old! How the hell did my life go by so goddamn fast?
Reminiscent of an emancipated rebel, I recklessly tiptoed across the threadlike lip of a razor-sharp twisted truth. Even today, I’m carelessly creeping on the cutting edge of an obtuse serrated reality. A bona fide connoisseur of imprudent idealism, I’m trying to strum my overpriced guitar in a tepid downpour of romanticism and departed time. But, my costly axe has turned to dust... For it now appears, the voiceless corpses of countless brave young warriors have finished decomposing on the vociferous battlefield of my boyhood memories.
Like a discarded Christmas tree after New Year’s Day, I’ve tossed-off most of my pubescent pipe-dreams! Yet, similar to a punch-drunk boxer thirsting for one last round, I keep right on fighting time... But, at the end of the day, I honestly know; I can’t win!
Over the last sixty-three mind-blowing years of my life a powerful flow of water has past under the bridge of my existence. Seeing I’m a Pisces, I outright worship the water... So, without an even looking where I’m going, I’d leap in! Most of the time, it’s a freefalling nose-dive, blindly plummeting head first! Usually, the water was over my young head.
As the river raced by, I soon discovered a great deal of the powerful torrent was scalding hot. I also found out a large amount of the overflow was bitter cold. At the same time, I realized some of the surge was simply lukewarm. On top of all this, much of the stream was terribly salty... Mixed with a myriad of tears... Mostly mine!
One day, I’d be floating in the sunshine on Ecstasy Lake...
The very next day, I’d be rushing down a raging river in a violent thunderstorm.
Time and again, I would struggle to swim against the passionate, powerful current. Even though, I was once a lifeguard a couple of times, while swimming past what I believed must be the Pillar’s of Hercules... I nearly drowned! Then, soaking wet, I’d be hung out to dry: sometimes in the searing sunlight, other times in the bitter cold rain...
Talk about water torture...
This was it!
. . . .
Well! Since you’re hopefully going to read my madcap manuscript, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Dr. Steven Oliver Shaw Ph.D. As you already know, I turned sixty-three years old today. I’ve been working as an anthropologist for about ten years.
Currently, I’m writing a research paper on the beneficial use of mind altering drugs; and their association with the preventing and curing of certain mental illnesses in tribal societies. I’m preparing to leave for South America to carry out emic research on this extremely significant subject matter. During the next eighteen months, I’ll be living with the Kofan tribe (Los Cofanes). This is a unique community inherent to North East Ecuador. The deep-rooted Kofan have a population of about 1,500 people. Members of the tribe live in small clans; and, similar to western culture, hereditary is traced through both male and female lines. Comparable to western culture: they also practice egzoamamy, marrying outside of their immediate clan or group. More to the point of my principle research, these natives employ shamans. They use the services of spiritualists; and curative healers, to institute diagnoses and treatment.
These shamans often employ an incredibly powerful mind altering mixture of organic substances, called Yage. For countless generations these devout shamans have utilized this mystical mixture in many diverse curative ceremonies, also in the course of various religious rituals. Furthermore, Yage use is the foundation of religious and medical practices in 72 tribal groups still located in South America.
. . . .
I had a terribly late start on my academic career. I didn’t even graduate college until I was well over forty. That’s why I need to finish my principle research without anymore delay! Basically, I don’t have a lot of time left. The reason for the belated start at my chosen profession is extremely simple; I embarked on an extremely short, but also a terribly deviant detour during my reckless youth.
One day, I entered this very tiny, insignificant appearing door. It leads to a momentous, mind-boggling room, filled with amazing allusions and incredible intrigue.
To quote Robert Frost, “I took the trail less traveled by; and that made all the difference…”
Across-the-board, the old-school administration at the foundation, where I am receiving my current research grant, considers me a little off balance. Maybe even a bit mad! You see, I still have notably long gray hair, along with a full white beard. Plus, my dress is extremely unorthodox for a PhD: Especially one my age! On top of all this, as you can probably already tell - I swear like a goddamn drunken pirate!
I have the feeling, a selection of my extremely cynical hardnosed associates believe I’m a genuine screwball, the product of a misspent, stoned-out puberty. But, I totally disagree!
Although the past cast a profound shadow across my future; I have no regrets or apologies for my early life. For unlike the flock of spellbound sheep that make up the majority of Western Society, no matter what happened to me now, I know; I faithfully followed my bliss.
Similar to a four-flushing, twofaced monster, I played a large part in the gangbang of the social order. I held the long lean legs of civilization, as my generation raped the long-established square-asshole of organized society. What's more, I often paid the price for my action-packed activities with my blood, also my tears.
I won’t now make any atonement or voice penance for my assorted indulgences and other various indiscretions. For much like an idealistic memorial to artistic madness, I feel it was merely my youth, the rousing radical times, a yearning to French kiss the psychedelic firmament and the true desirer to make this fucked-up planet a better place to live!
Goddamn! My life was like a way-out, off-the-wall pipe-dream swirling around in and out of a world-shattering riotous reality. I took a spellbinding leap through the Doors of Perception where I embraced the inner soul of outer reality.
During my mind-blowing trip, I brawled with Hell’s Angels, participated in love orgies, and partied with Janis Joplin... I even bumped into one of the Beatles!
To top it all off, I opened in concert for the “GRATEFUL DEAD!”
What's more, I did all this, before I turned twenty years old...
Most of the time stoned out of my head - on some dynamite LSD!
For I was a peaceful rebel: who was sure he had a noble cause. I went hunting for the sacred eagle. But, not to kill it...Instead, too set it free! You see, when I was an adolescent, I lived with one of the most earth-shattering, forward-thinking, untamed cultures on planet earth.
Like Gildermesh searching for the basis of eternal life, my generation went hunting for the fountain of youth inside the gates of paradise... We were the authentic, “Wild Bunch”... Jam-packed with life, chock-full of energy and teeming with love... But, I’m sorry to say, we were also the genuine “Lost Generation”...
A Band of rebellious, amped-up Gypsies... What’s now left of the Beat Generation! A confused generation beaten-down by civilization... Brow-beaten by traditions... Disoriented! Drifting...
Incredibly often, pounding an oversized out of tune bass drum...
We had gone astray! Very far off the beaten track...
Too a place, where “Sergeant Pepper”, taught us how to play...
. . . .
Back in 1966...I feel life is wonderful! I also believe anything is possible. So, like a gullible lackadaisical lamb, I’m extremely easy to fleece! I’m convinced my free-handed generation can single-handedly change the current cotton-candy social order. And, it will absolutely be for the better! I feel we can cut the chains of conformity, become emancipated from the judgment and senseless mind-set of a subjugated Western Culture. But, I soon find out, even freedom has its rules and regulations.
You see, at this time, I was like enlightened upbeat young savage, struggling to exist in two different eras and in two diverse cultures. Like a wheel rolling out of its own center, my credulous generation was endeavoring to change the existing worldview of Western Society from the inside out!
We were like an uncompromising tribe of slipshod saviors trying to turn-on and rescue the misguided western world. One handed jugglers, striving to keep a thousand balls in the air at once. A band of radical free spirited seekers, searching for salvation, along with something to truly believe in... We were imprudent hunters, pursuing the explanation of our own existence... And, we were doing all this, while rushing through an intense purple haze!
Resembling a pure white canvas, we were young, unmarked, and very gullible, determined to find ourselves. In the vein of Michelangelo striving to sculpt the image of a human soul, we endeavored to unearth the all-inclusive undercurrent of the American Dream.
In fact, we actually did determine, what was categorically wrong with modern society. But, how could a bunch of stoned-out juveniles actually change all the meanness, malevolence and malice in this depraved and corrupt civilization?
Regrettably, our overly idealistic tribal troupe of uncompromising adolescents managed to exist for only three very short years. Then, faster than a bolt of smokestack-lighting, the peaceful song ended... The merrymaking and daydreaming were all over!
Like a band of impulsive blind men, who can now see the light for the very first time, we tried to turn-on and tune-out western culture. But, in the bitter end, civilization ended-up turning us off! So, now that I’m older, it’s time to cleanout my head... And, cleanup the massive mess we made during all of our craziness and revelry!
From time to time, I sit back and wonder exactly what went wrong... I know, I know, it was hard drugs, self-delusion, lack of commitment, mixed-up youth, along with fanatical, over-enthusiastic castle in the sky thinking... Plus, a million other half-assed reasons! I’ve heard all the speculation and existing theories. But, when you come right down to the real nitty-gritty you must realize the entire “Flower Power” fantasy was doomed from the start.
It was all show with little get-up and go... For its true heart and soul were as volatile as a dove’s feather blowing free in a violent chaotic wind. For we were simply a straightforward, forward-thinking society of naive children with love in our hearts: Plus, an awfully large level of LSD flowing through our still developing juvenile brains.
Although the outlandish movement lasted a short time, for one brief shinning moment some of us maverick kids definitely did find ‘Camelot’. Like some kind of sociological Voodoo Doll, we pierced the soul of the American Dream. By doing so, we discovered the indisputable importance of “LOVE”.
I think the main problem was: This gentle gathering of the hula-hoop generation had no history or any type of strategic plan; no one who actually could govern the insubordinate sub-culture. Like a flock of nightingales flying with a mob of vultures... The extremist, uncompromising movement clumsily struggled in vain to push forward. But, there was no true direction or any real rules of the road. And since this far-reaching assemblage was merely a hardnosed, dogmatic confederacy of rebellious young hipsters: It simply couldn’t endure!
Looking back, I realize the “Peace & Love” movement was a high-speed revolutionary fuse impulsively blazing at both ends, while recklessly racing toward the center of a highly flammable reality. Like an Olympic torch, located much too close to a pool of gasoline, the flames that once lit our pathway soon scorched the souls of our bare feet. So, for lack of maturity, along with a true understanding of human nature; our self-effacing, cutting-edge society almost immediately burnt itself out - lock, stock, and hookah pipe!
We may have helped change the world: And, very often, it truly was for the better. But, when all's said and done: Like a posse of psychos, on a bum trip: terribly often, it was also for the worst! As a matter of fact, for many of us original flower kids, all that was left after the rise and fall of Flower Power, was an arm-full of old scars, alongside a handful of genetically altered pot seeds.
In reality, I really hate to admit it! But, I now grasp the truth, the “Love Movement” was scarcely a flickering pink sparkler thrown at a blazing red sun. When you come right down to the nitty-gritty, the whole thing was just an unpretentious, down-to-earth “Lord of the Flies” social order; where the activist choirboys were all tripping on acid, while singing “Beatle” songs to “Little Bo Peep”... who will end up in bed getting eaten by a hot-blooded “Big Bad Wolf”...Together with, fucked by the forceful Three Little Pigs.
Because of all the screwball shit that happened to me, I’ve learned an incredibly important lesson. Even though you might sleep with someone, you inevitably must dream alone. And, despite the fact your dreams may remain young. In the end, everyone has to grow old. Sooner or later, we all gaze into the cold black eyes of the Grim Reaper!
Be that as it may, when all is said and done, I’ve found existence comes down to three incredibly important things... ‘Right is right’...‘Wrong is wrong’. Plus, “LOVE” is the most essential thing in life.
My basic philosophy is pretty much the same as it was in the sixties. Nowadays, I just see things much clearer. Because of my deep-seated life experience and advanced education, I understand the actual means and multi-layered motivations of our twofaced multifaceted society. I comprehend the congenital disease that infects this intrinsic culture.
Moving across the chessboard of life, I realize it takes a lot of pawns to protect one’s King... And, I’m sick and tired of being a pawn in someone else’s game!
That’s why I spend so much of my time working in the boondocks with enlightened high-spirited cultures. On a few occasions, I’ve even found myself beginning to go native...
What's more, I was thoroughly, digging the shit out of it!
. . . .
Living the last sixty years in this cubicle culture, I’ve become institutionalized. Like an elderly mutt licking a wound that’s already heeled, I now comprehend the painful fact; I can’t actually breakout of my own circumscribed dividing wall. There’s little choice; I have to reside in this psychotic society. Anyway, there’s hardly a chance of my escaping this harsh reality.
So today, I’m a full-fledged American citizen along with a full-blown US tax payer. All the same, I’m still not an all-out, enthusiastic, flag-waver. Yet, I’ve grasped the tedious truth: “At times, I do have to wear a goddamn conventional suit and tie for important meetings.” Nevertheless, in opposition to submission and mind-numbing conformity, I always leave my tie loose and my shirt un-tucked.
Even though, I’ve matured, mellowed-out, and put on about thirty or so pounds. I feel and act young! In spite of everything that’s happened in my outrageous life; I remain a free spirit, and still possess the innocent heart of a child. I’ve never really grown up! Most likely, I’m suffering from what use to be called the Peter Pan syndrome.
Being nostalgic for my youth, I remember with vivid clarity, this remarkable time... And, as I grow older, I find myself reflecting back to my teenage years and my former self. At that time, the moral conviction of the country is as erratic as a psychotic primate playing a deranged guitar solo stoned on bad speed...
Yet, over the last few nonsensical decades, I’ve realized, the sobering reality: the ‘mid ‘60’s’ was undeniably, one of the most outrageous and passionate periods in the jarring history of planet earth. This was an unsurpassed moment in time to live and grow up in. For it was a powerful, offbeat era, and the launching pad for an incredible metamorphosis in attitude.
It’s this haphazard transmutation that changed the storybook civilization of the late ‘50’s’ and early ‘60’s’, into the multi-sided anomalous society of today. During that turbulent moment in history a true makeover of values and ideas is blowing wild in the wind... Raging rampant in a psychedelic cyclone!
Declared by Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changing…”
And a changing they were...
Sometimes, for the better - other times, for the worse…
. . . .
In the high-living fall of ‘1966’, I’m rough-edged and unruly. Extremely hot-blooded! Reckless! Along with very hotheaded... Pleasure-seeking and sexually developed... I’m the prodigal son: a wild-ass, seventeen year old boy... At the age when the capacity for true love first touches a young man’s heart. Much like the Devil trying to quench a craving, every so often, I desire a little overindulgence and getting into a bit of trouble.
I worship life!
My girlfriend nicknames me, ‘Baby-Blue’. She says this pet name comes from the Bob Dylan song, along with the fact my baby blue eyes are practically the same color as a summer sky on a clear day. If I do say so myself; I’m very good-looking. Over six feet tall, I have long blond hair and the body of a swimmer. For three years, I was on the swim team at the YMCA summer camp. In the summer of ‘66’, I worked as a lifeguard on ‘Good Harbor Beach’ in East Gloucester Massachusetts. I love being a lifeguard. Saving people, and getting paid to hang around the seashore... What could be better?
Seeing as I love helping folks; I considered my job incredibly important... I felt like some sort of a stalwart superhero.
Getting paid to check out chicks in bikini bathing suits is also pretty goddamn cool...
. . . .
Impressive looking hair is crucial back in the mid-sixties. If you want to be stylish and cool, it’s essential to have long hip looking hair. ‘Crew-cuts’, ‘Duck-Tails’, and grease are absolutely out! ‘Brill Cream’, about to go the way of the dinosaur. The Flat-Top’s totally square, stone cold dead... Except if you’re Gary Moore or, maybe work at NASA.
Resembling a founding member of the British Invasion, my hair’s quite long for the time: It falls about two inches over my ears. Back then, the majority of girls love free spirited guys - with very long hair! And, mine’s the longest at the straight-ass prep school that I occasionally grace with my up-to-the-minute, trendy attendance.
Everyday, I wear a stylish paisley print shirt, faded flared blue jeans, and tan suede cowboy boots. Alas, none of my fashionable wardrobe is compliant with the school’s incredibly uptight dress code. So, I was always getting sent home to change my wardrobe...
I remember feeling the entire school thing was completely insipid, dense, and a bona fide fucken bummer. With the exception of my English class with Mr. Haggerty, for he spent a lot of time in class talking about and interpreting some really far-out and stimulating literature.
I’d just finished reading the poignant coming of age novel, “Catcher in the Rye”. As a result, I’m feeling much like an undisciplined 1960’s Holden Caulfield. Even though Mr. Haggerty's mandated by the school to teach us traditional American Literature; we occasionally read some far-out avant-garde poetry and prose.
I even start writing in this hip ultramodern style... Using a lot of ellipses... Hyphens... Colons... Exclamation points! Plus! Leaving out nouns and verbs: It’s a type of prose poetry with no rules and a hell of lot of poetic license. I still feel it’s a very hip way of writing... On occasion, when I’m not doing academic writing, I use this hip technique. As a result, much of this manuscript will be written in this prose poetry approach.
Since I feel compelled to write this unusual book, I need to remember one thing... Less is sometimes more. You see, from time to time, I get a carried away - go way overboard, and overdo things a bit...
. . . .
The mid-nineteen-sixties is an era filled with coffee houses and bigheaded, long-winded beatniks giving free readings of free verse... Ginsburg and Kerouac are now being read by a younger and much more defiant generation of hipsters striving to scratch their cutting-edge standpoints on some subway wall. They want to make a meaningful mark on this unfettered free-thinking scene.
But, there’s also a heartfelt difference between the beatnik and the hipsters. The beatnik basically desires to write poetry and be left alone too brood. In contrast, the hipster wants to do it in the road, make a lot of noise, and change the misguided traditionalist world with rock ‘n’ roll.
Mr. Haggerty’s class alters my future... For this is where I meet the incorrigible Mortimer Morse. His nickname is Morrie; and, he’s the first true friend I made at the expensive prep school. Morrie is a lighthearted and quick-witted. Like me, he’s a songwriter and poet. Morrie’s two years my senior. Not yet scared by the ruthless winds of time...At nineteen he was not quite a man; but, then again, no longer a boy. Plus, he self published a book of his own insightful poetry. Since I also write poetry, I believe publishing a book is incredibly cool! But, what I really like about Morrie is, he isn’t a fucking snob about it!
During our prolific time in English class, Morrie and I become fast friends. Since it’s my last year of high school, I’ve talked my big hearted, well-to-do mother into letting me live in my own pad. To commute to Boston from my home is a two hour trip... So having a pad in the city saves me a lot of time. For about a month now, I’ve rented an undersized pad’s at 99 West Cedar Street, Beacon Hill in Boston Massachusetts. The place is an awfully small studio on the second floor. It’s really just an undersized L shaped room, with a tiny kitchen.
Out of my front window, I watch a diverse assortment of people getting on and off the trains pulling in and out of the Charles Street Subway Station. This is the station that takes you to Harvard Square, where the famous Ivy League university is located.
Sometimes, late at night, or very early in the morning, I gaze out my window and dissect the subway patrons standing on the lengthy platform. Wondering where they’re coming from, and where they might be going at that early hour of the morning. I speculate on the shady deals going on? Runaways looking for a place to crash...Bums loaded on booze! Kids stoned on drugs! Husbands cheating on their spouse! The homeless with nowhere else to go... So many diverse people... So many different questions to pore over...
My pad’s located in a part of the city that never slows or quiets down: So, it’s often hard to chill out and get a good night’s sleep at my crib. You see, I live across the street from Boston Hospital. All night long, I can hear the ear-piercing sound of ambulance sirens bringing suffering folks to the emergency room. Car accidents, work injuries, fights, and stabbings, maybe, a gun shot victim or two... They all come to Boston Hospital, in the middle of the night, bleeding half to death. So, the earsplitting distress signal is usually blaring at full blast!
. . . .
At this time in my life, I feel like I have the whole world by the fucking balls! Overflowing with adolescent aspirations and teenage hormones, I have vivid dreams of rock stardom. I honestly feel my destiny will be overflowing with good fortune, and my walls will be covered in gold and platinum records.
As a kid, I had six years of piano lessons... Started playing scales a five! Therefore, I’ve learned all about music theory. Growing up playing classical music, I really love Mozart! He’s my favorite classical composer. I also have a fondness for red hot jazz. But, I hated the piano teacher! So, I’d hardly ever practiced...
One day, I heard rock ‘n’ roll! It was like a miracle of melody, and I instantly fell in love with the riotous music. So, at twelve years old, I taught myself how to play guitar. Every night, hour after hour, I practice my ass off. Even thought, I’m never going to become a talented lead guitarist; I do play rhythm guitar incredibly well. But, even more important, by the time I turned sixteen, I’ve already figured out how to compose an out-and-out first-rate rock song...
Back then, I really believe; I’m so super-duper cool-ass! Single handedly, I can make all my fanciful farfetched dreams come true. Just like Bob Dylan, I’ll be a huge high-flying, freewheeling rock ‘n’ roll sensation.
There’s absolutely no question about it... Being an important Rock Star is my bona fide fate, and my out-and-out destiny!
On top of that, I have a really sexy girlfriend; along with a totally authentic looking fake ID to buy liquor. Since, I started smoking cigarettes at twelve and was drinking booze by age fourteen; I think that, I’m an incredibly hip young dude.
But, I’m in for an enormous shock.
Because, in reality, I have no idea what being hip really is...
Until, I take my first LSD trip…
. . . .
Lately, I’ve been experiencing these protracted and extremely bizarre ‘psychedelic flashbacks’. What you might call the ‘Acid Afterglow’. These flashbacks are mostly meditative, introspective illusions, overflowing with phantoms from my outlandish past. Similar to playing with a dusty box of broken toys hidden away in my attic, the majority of the time these weird, wacky and often wonderful flashbacks are totally cool. Far-out! Out ‘a’ sight! And, for the most part, I can keep them in check.
But, much like a tiny thorn, buried deep within my tender young flesh, every so often, they become somewhat irksome and irritating. What's more, I can definitely point my finger to the origin of these intriguing cerebral images. They stem from my life during the mid 1960’s; along with the huge hodgepodge of mind altering drugs I devoured during that indulgent stage of my reckless youth.
This was a point in time, when my adolescent brain is still developing and sensitive to external stimulus. I have undergraduate degrees in sociology and biological psychology, together with a Ph.D. in anthropology. Therefore, I understand these current flashbacks are simply a form of encoding and retrieval. I also realize this retrieval is reawakening past memories stored in the cerebral cortex of my brain. This reawaking involves the prefrontal cortex; along with the amygdala and hippocampus; which are located in the most primitive part of brain, the limbic system.
Most of the time, these unusual flashbacks are triggered by certain retrieval cues I might be experiencing at a particular moment. Similar to a long forgotten conversation, brought back by hearing a record from the past.
So, seeing I’m having these absurd apparitions from the defiant days of my rebellious youth... I’ve decided to document some of them in this extremely unusual and somewhat radical manuscript.
One thing I promise you... Cross my heart and hope to die! I will not allow this book to become a tedious form of mind-numbing self-masturbation. More important, I will make every effort to record my bizarre psychedelic flashbacks exactly the way they occurred. “For truth is much stranger than fiction… What's more, truth is to a great extent, much more compelling than any writer’s fantasy could ever hope to be...”
Like a thunderous blast from the past, just thinking about that first electrifying acid trip has fired-up the neurons in my elderly brain. You see, I’m now hallucinating like a mother fucker... And, at this very instant, I’m experiencing one massive and highly intense LSD flashback...
It’s taking me through a dense purple haze...
Way back in the cradle of time, to the moment of my rebirth...It was the last day of summer; September 27, 1966, the night of my first, mind-boggling, acid trip…
A period in my life, when I was still called, Baby-Blue...
And, it’s all over now Baby Blue!
. . . .
It’s finally Friday... This morning in English class, Morrie and I make plans to party tonight. We’re going to get down...and get high!
As we leave class, I brag, “I have a phony ID, man... So, I can buy us some beer...”
Holy shit! Morrie just laughs at me...
Then, with this ultra-cool, almost guru like grin on his mischievous young face, he declares, “I know something a great deal hipper than liquor to get high on, man... It’s something called “LSD”...
This was a point in time before drugs are used by kids outside the city. So, I’ve never heard of LSD... Don’t have a clue to what it is, or what it does. In truth, I’m wet behind the ears. Incredibly naïve! Still in high school, I just moved out of my mom’s house and have only been living in the city for three short weeks. Therefore, when it comes to drugs, I’m as green as an Irishman on Saint Patty’s day... I’m so green; I’ve never even seen pot before.
Holy crap! Am I ever in for one massive fucking surprise...
Later that chilly Friday afternoon, we procure the amazing acid. We purchase the sacred substance from this long haired, bearded bohemian dude. The guy looks a lot like a character that just staggered out of some discolored page in the Old Testament.
The LSD comes in the form of whitish powder, packed tightly into a small red and black capsule. After we buy the uncanny substance, Morrie tells me you shouldn’t pay for your first acid trip, or have to think anything about money while you’re tripping.
He declares, “Since LSD is a religious experience, it should be free.”
But, I do have to pay for it! The acid costs me a whopping six bucks. At the time, the same price as a case of beer - or better yet, a ticket to a Beatles’ concert.
During early fall in New England, it gets dark around five o’clock. It’s now the weekend; right around this time of day there’s an unruffled calm serenity in the typically noisy city streets. It’s an empty sort of somber hush, which embraces the foul urban air. Most young people are laid back, waiting for the darkness of night, accompanied by the cocktail hour. Their excuse to get it on…Get fucking drunk! And, if they’re lucky, they just might get laid.
Right after sundown, when most of the neighborhood’s making their opening highball of the weekend - I drop the amazing acid... Similar to a couple of stranded sailors waiting for a cool summer breeze, Morrie and I patiently sit in my pad anticipating the affects.
At first, I don’t think the stuff is working... Given it takes over an hour to come on, I begin thinking, I’d been totally ripped-off for my six bucks! Be that as it may, an hour later, I’m just about to “break-on through-to- the-other-side” of reality...
Penetrate the bloated belly of the powerful psychedelic beast…
. . . .
Like a gentle gust of warm wind, I feel the potent acid slowly but surely coming on. Suddenly, similar to a skyrocket on the forth of July, I’m soaring across the threshold of reality, swiftly stepping through the Byzantine doors of perception. Complex... Convoluted... Confused! Spellbound, my mind is jam-packed with an assortment of diverse twists and turns... Eyes wide-open, my befuddled brain’s rushing at full fucking speed! Whoosh! Faster than the fleeting glimmer of a comet’s tail, the apartment walls are breathing...in and out... They’re now animated... Alive!
Without any warning, the whole room begins projecting an array of vibrant visions, wrapped in a prism of living color. Everything that moves creates a long lingering trail, with these animated traces chasing behind...
Intricate kaleidoscope patterns are now dancing all around the small L shaped room. Decorative snowflakes, which seem almost like living things, are slowly spinning in circles on the ceiling.
To my utter amazement, out of a whirlpool of watercolor waves the carpet starts sprouting exotic plant life. Forming on the spiraling rug is a vortex of dense vibrant vegetation... Undergrowth and foliage, swiftly rising from a whirling multihued rug... Spontaneously, in full swing... Shooting-up! Growing!
Just like that, I perceive reality in an entirely different light. Everything is symbolic…Illuminating! Meaningful!
I’m not sure what the hell is happening!
My mind is a jumble of upheaval…Bewilderment! Confusion!
I keep thinking to myself, “What’s going on in my teenage brain?” “Is it the acid?” “If not, have I lost my fucking mind?”
I’m beginning to think - “I might just be going insane!”
Holy shit! Fuck! What’s the hell is happening!?
Everywhere I look, I can see a wide variety of vivid hallucinations, plus, a mixture of all-embracing, enigmatic illusions... And, everything is all wrapped-up in this, all-inclusive, glorious, purple haze!
I just may have... entirely... lost my Goddamn mind!!!
Just by chance, about a month before, I had purchased Bob Dylan’s “Bring it Back Home” album. However, I didn’t actually understand his inspired, philosophical lyrics. Then, as if on cue, Morrie instinctively turns on my old hi-fi record player...
Back then, confirmed ‘acid-heads’ think it’s good to have a guide on your first trip. That autumn night, in the vein of a Shaman on a sacred mission, Morrie acts as my dutiful and devoted trip guide. And, I’ll always be enormously grateful…
As he slips the ground-breaking album on my small stereo, Morrie whispers in a very soft, soothing voice, “You need to listen to a little Dylan man.”
Incredibly, resembling the resurrection of Lazarus, out of the old record player, appears, Bob Dylan…and, he’s singing “Mr. Tambourine Man”.
I can not only hear his insightful music...
I can see it! Taste it! Touch it! Feel it!
Looking like weightless paisley prints swimming in a cool undercurrent of overtone, these far-out musical notes and words are now soaring out of the stereo... And, for the very first time, I know what the meaningful, multifaceted, lyrics are actually saying, as he’s singing; “Take me on a trip, on your magic swirling ship, my senses have been stripped, my toes to numb to step….”
Hearing the overwhelming lyrics, I assume Dylan’s speaking directly to me. He’s currently explaining, everything that is now happening in my adolescent brain. Listening to the poignant, multi-layered libretto, I instantly understand... nuance... inference... connotation... The allusion of suggestion hidden in the subterranean language...
Somewhere in the back of my stone-out brain, I catch a glimpse of Mozart; he’s whispering something into Dylan’s ear. Then, in front of my innocent young baby-blue eyes, my ingenuous life is spelled out in enlightening, luminous, calligraphy...
Serenity! Freedom! Abandon!
Dylan’s songs are so attention-grabbing, as well as insightful, his salient turn of a phrase is written in this earth-shaking hip jargon. The poetic lyrics seem to unravel the ambiguity in the question of reality. As I listen to the passionate record, all at once, everything seems totally clear, understandable, like the awakening of some kind of vivid transparency…
Much like a roaring wildfire on a blistering hot day, I’m blazing... Raging rampant, out of control, in a reckless wind; and, I keep getting higher, higher and higher... Surging! Emerging! One continuous flowing movement… My mind keeps speeding up... Faster and faster! Unbridled! Uninhibited! So many intriguing images are now bursting into light, becoming visible for the first time in my young life... Everything seems a form of odd earth-shattering energy, cascading into a deluge of unimpeded awareness...
I’m now downright stoned out of my fucking head...
But, I’m more lucid than I have ever been before in my life!
I’m like a sky pilot flying on the Astral Plane; a teenage traveler, departing on an ambiguous, mind-boggling excursion; searching for the vague, formless life-force, hidden in an obscure shrouded cavern... Childlike...Guiltless... Emancipated! My unconstrained being is now endeavoring to discover its rightful identity in this hung-up, mixed-up, senseless world.
In the vein of some pubescent Hopi brave on a Vision Quest, I’m drifting, unrestrained on a never-ending, nomadic journey. Traveling in an incomprehensible time machine, where I travel back to the first moment of creation... Euphoric! Pursuing the insightful wisdom of my discerning guardian spirit, I’m probing an ancient, almost forgotten prophecy, from some prolific, bygone generation of long-long-ago.
I climb higher and higher, up each rung of Jacob’s lofty ladder... Then, for the next eight hours, I’m swiftly accelerating downward through an ambiguous rabbit hole... Riding on a surrealistic, unrestrained, roller coaster…Endeavoring to embrace the translucent shadow of my transcendental soul.
I am now the ‘Ape-Man’, sauntering on swollen knuckles, while chasing my obscure phantom tail. The beast within, is now outside...running wild, and racing free...Disconnected from society...restlessly, accelerating, way, way, off the beaten path. The creature is now - totally out of control!
In one fell swoop, my shameless ethereal shadow exposes itself in front of some dazzling intense spotlight. Suddenly, without any fear or favor, I’m standing undressed - exposed - bare-naked, alongside the phantom silhouette of my stripped down and shielded insecurity. Barefaced! Unashamed! Hysterical! I’m now waltzing utterly bare-ass in the “Magic Theater...With a young Steppenwolf, as my one and only partner. Then, I unearth my self-esteem, obsessively masturbating in my mind’s eye! At the very same time, lost in the blurred sanctuary of a callow darkness, a very large assortment of diverse Freudian complexes start impulsively jerking-me-off...
While trying to understand the bona fide significance of my own impassive personality, I watch closely as my Super Ego passionately devours my Id... In the obscurity of my own image, I encounter my fragile Ego. Resembling an artist’s rendering of the brittle ‘Eggman’, my insecure Ego is sitting on a steep, razor thin, unsteady, wobbly wall; watching the mind-boggling evolution of western society. At the same time, my detached, unstable, essence is situated on the side-line, six feet above the burial chamber of this insecure, psychotic, and overly programmed culture. Its citizens currently assembled in a wavering waiting line looking for an insightful god to rescue their hedonistic souls. But, in reality, they’re all ordained too death, along with - inescapable oblivion!
In the far off glow of my own aura, I stumble down this long shadowy tunnel. Inside, I spot a brilliant white light. Trying to see where the light is coming from, I impetuously enter a curious narrow channel...I follow this conduit to a small opening, leading into another dimension... And, it’s at the end of this pinnacle passageway I catch a glimpse of what I imagine to be the unimaginable face of the true God. What’s more, God looks nothing like me!
Straight off, I comprehend; man’s hereditary, has been camouflaged by a false facade of religious abstraction. In a razor-sharp reawakening, I witness...the emerging... plus, the total rebirth of my embryonic essence. This is the resurrection of my life-force - the rebirth of my chi - a veritable ‘Holy Confirmation’ of my eternal soul; together with embodiment and rekindling of my moral fiber. Infinity... Eternity... A never-ending, uncontrollable energy...
Suddenly, I’m trying to capture, time, space, and illusion, using my opposable thumbs… All at once, I can distinguish the deception and the dishonesty of money hungry Western Society... I now perceive the spot on reality of living on one’s knees, along with the true sin of secular devotion... I glance into a mirror hanging on the wall... Inside I see a parallel world, symbolizing a new way of life, and the realization of society...
No longer baffled by the bullshit of western culture; I’m now hunting for the beast within my own reflection, while trying to unearth the insightful Sentinel in the looking glass.
Still stoned, and extremely baffled, I find myself peeking back out of this two-way mirror: gazing into the glowing abstract eyes of mysticism. To my amazement, I discover the flame of spirituality glaring right back at me...Staring deeply into my trusting baby blue eyes...
Then, without even putting on my ‘Jesus Shoes’…I’m staggering across an undaunted undercurrent in the new ‘Sea of Galilee”… I have penetrated the Lord’s workshop! Like an apostle of knowledge, I’m searching for the honest answer contained within God’s master plan.
Then, while completely lost in a whirlwind of strobe-lights...
I find true enlightenment is within my reach...
. . . .
After that one outrageous night, everything in my life now seems entirely out of the ordinary. For it’s the end of my innocents; I’m ready to join the psychedelic sideshow, become part of an earth-shattering and innovative new life style and culture. Straight away, without hesitation or prudence, I’m reincarnated - As an acid baby! A full-fledged member of the ‘love generation’… The anthem of that brand new mind-blowing social order, ‘Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll’…
And, at this seditious time in history - the drug is LSD…
It’s the beginning of a brand new way of thinking about life... My attitude, world view, and belief system have gone through a massive make over. Emancipated! I’ve unchained myself from the star-spangled slave-shackles of Western Society. I’m no longer a well-trained, follower, waiting in an endless line for some far-fetched, oblige, “American Dream”. For I have now been transformed into a freethinking, impenetrable, revolutionary leader, taking a crucial leap across the boundless threshold of untouched awareness.
I’ve passed the ‘Acid Test’... completed my ‘Rite of Passage’. Liberated from the ideology, and constricted principles of a subservient and repressed western society.
On that feral autumn night, I become the offspring of an era, along with the fanciful poster boy for the free-thinking counterculture. I’m on my way to what I feel is the authentic explanation of truth; for I now understand the spot on meaning of ‘good and evil’; and, that right and wrong has nothing to do with a decree written in some outdated law book.
More important, I now realize that ‘LOVE’ is the most important thing on earth. And, by embracing love humanity can swiftly move forward, take a giant step into a new period of growth, development, and human evolution...
No matter what happens to me now, it doesn’t make any difference. For I’ve smelled the wild flowers, tasted the icing on the cake, plus, eyeballed, and ridden the almighty White Buffalo. Similar to a mutineer sailing a ghost ship, I’m about to be converted into an outcast from the straight laced civilization that raised and nurtured me from my birth.
As a result of that one insane night, I will now have to survive as a subversive in a traditionalist homeland, a nation that will immediately brand me an extremist and unhygienic hippie radical. Within the next nine months, I’m to become a renegade fugitive living outside the law, and wanted by the U.S. Government!
On that chilly autumn evening in 1966, I took a trip that alters my life and beliefs forever. I swallowed the first sip of self-determination, from what I think might be the “Holy Grail”… And, I found it satisfying and nourishing.
My life truly changed that outrageous fall day...
The wind softly whispered Mary...
Nothing has been the same since…