Billy the Kid
Twenty years driving through the devil grin moonlight, made me aware of the magic of darkness. I swerved to avoid a turquoise raccoon ambling across the road. Listening to Bob Dylan’s The Ballad of Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, Zimmie honking hard on his harp. Mexican guitars and tambourines filled the air. Thoughts of my cat, Paloma that had recently died made my bifocals misty with tears. I lit a roach of Columbo and a seed popped and burnt my nuts causing me to crash into a tree. I woke up in jail. I’d been there before. I recalled a story about John Dillinger and his side kick, Homer Van Meter. Homer had taught himself how to rope flies with thread, while inside. I started unraveling my shirt, much to the amazement of my cell mate.
Watching the Sun Die
The lemon yellow sun dribbled daylight juice onto the elephant colored rails. Taking out my last cigar, I watched the sun die. Reaching into my pocket I felt two quarters squirming, my guts were growling like a wolf man eating a vampire. I entered the hobo camp smelling food beckoning my quivering taste buds. I saw men with brown bags, holding strong fortified vino. Laying my money and stogie next to the campfire, a man dished me up a plate. Saluting him and smiling my thanks, I knew I’d have to find work, but for now one thing was certain, someone sure could cook. After meeting up with my Pueblo amigo, Puma and building a fireplace in Espanola, New Mexico, I felt restless. I suggested a trip to New Orleans. Puma had never seen the Mississippi and I wanted to consult with a voodoo woman, I’d heard about.
Walking down Bourbon Street, listening to Dixieland jazz and blues, once in awhile we would start dancing. Musicians and tourists gawked and grinned. Puma borrowed a guitar and I sang some songs in Spanish and recited a few poems. An old man jumped off his porch and played congas, flute, and harmonica. Several coins and bills were deposited into the gent’s sombrero. He fed us hot gumbo and crawdads and we drank chicory coffee laced with hooch. The house of the voodoo woman was in an alley near the river. Puma recognized most of the herbs hanging from her ceiling beams. There were jars of chicken and goat feet and eyeballs of all sizes and pungent repugnant odors. I asked for a cure for baldness, she mixed several ingredients and took it behind a curtain for a minute. When she returned, she instructed me to stir it well before drinking. Once you return home, she said use your own warmed urine. Puma was trying to keep a straight face.
When we got back to the mountains, I decided I wasn’t cooking any piss and I damn sure wasn’t drinking it. Puma and I drank the datura tea, near the Painted Desert. Flocks of ravens perched on azure rocks pecking slowly at purple lizards. Stag horn cholla, agave stars, and barrel cacti leaned west toward the sun and Pacific. A turtle dove nestled in the paloverde. Puma pointed at a red rattler swallowing a kangaroo mouse. Clouds exploded in crimson, green, yellow, orange, intaglio; surrealistic bleeding hallucinations. Overpowered and frightened, we drank mezcal until oblivion accepted us.
The next day we boarded a freight train south for Oaxaca and the pyramids. Near the zocalo in Mexico City, I went to buy blue agave tequila. An old woman called to me, I reached for a few pesos. As I put the coins in her hand, she held onto mine and rubbed it with red powder. Her voice took on an unearthly quality. I felt dizzy and my legs were watery. The day became dark; the sun was swallowed by evil thunderheads.
She spoke in what sounded like German. “You will live a few more years, and then die like a dog.” She wanted more money, I staggered away, feeling a terrible need to be scratched behind my ears.