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 Beyond, The 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.
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
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.