Jerry Garcia
September 2020

Jerry Garcia spent his childhood fearing The Bomb, during the cold war, was a teenager during the fabled Summer of Love, and studied Communication Arts at Loyola Marymount University during Richard Nixon’s Watergate Era.  He is too old to have been named after the Grateful Dead guitar hero, but likes to think he can rock and roll just the same.  These are the circumstances that inform his writing with references to pop culture and mid-20th Century history.

 

He has been a producer and editor of television commercials, documentaries and motion picture previews. His poetry has been published in various journals and anthologies including:  Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and BeyondThe Coiled Serpent Anthology from Tia Chucha's Press, Voices from Leimert Park Redux, The Chiron Review, Askew Magazine, and The San Pedro River Review. His first full-length collection of poetry, On Summer Solstice Road is available at Amazon or through his website www.gratefulnotdead.com.  He lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife Becky and their poetic dog Japhy Ryder.

RADIANCE

 

In the non-insulated garage of my mind,

a lone mechanic cranks his vise,

pressuring the cranium until stars

spill through my ears.

He bangs, clangs and pings

with a magic, sheet-metal hammer,

then he awls little holes,

bright shards fall onto my bed, 

illuminating the darkened room

before floating freeform

into the galaxy.

 

It’s a ride to be seen,

a Studebaker Golden Hawk

dodging the flotsam and jetsam of space.

When that manic car superimposes the sun,

it looks radiant for a moment, flames out,

and returns to my globe

as a scorched hunk of steel.

Earth no longer needs

her exquisite beauty.

 

When daylight rises

I devote myself to finding

pieces of my once-magnificent car

and the gray matter that built it.

Chasing that daring cypher of thought,

 

I will scratch letters on paper 

or tap, tap, tap the keyboard

with continued shades and color,

flashing radiance in the quiet

morning air.

JOURNEYS

  

        The Impatient Explorer invents a box

        in which all journeys may be kept.

 

        - Kenneth Patchen

 

Never seen so many stars,

except in the desert night,

where winds rattle sage

and coyotes roam freely.

 

Earth’s waxing satellite hovers.

Her yellow hue breaks through wires

and branches to command my road trip

on balding tires over crusty roads.

 

I am hunger on the run.

Loved ones worry that my insouciance 

will leave me cold

as I continue my wanderlust.

The next county is a pipe dream.        

The trip back a trudge.

Tenuous tires and loose exhaust pipes 

bump along an unbroken road.

 

I would rather be hanging out

on my favorite city block

under amber lamplights and highrise ledges,

at home with the nighthawks 

who absorb my body

and leave a restless mind.

 

The journey is fading

like an unknown alley

like a shadowed crater

like a dark country road.

 

Tossing about my furrowed bed

alongside the grace of a woman

who could be my redemption.

Reaching to the distressed sky

sleep becomes another 

failure in the night.

 

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