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(A Tale Told By A Dictionary)


 Beneath the streets of San Francisco

 In a dark subway siding

 He cowers after his act


 Dodging BART trains

 Picking his way past electric third rails

 He pants in the dusty concrete warren

 Hoping he left a trail


 Feeling safe now

 In an unused corner of this technolabyrinth

 Though he can still feel the air disturbed

 by the pressure of passing trains;

 He reflects: "It's not my fault I steal . . ."

 He whines to no one

 "Can I help it if I'm


 "I just got started wrong . . ."

 He explains to himself for the ten thousandth time.

 He was sure all his problems came from his parents

 Engaging in sex


 To his mind, both drug twisted and


 His justifications sounded not the least


 The drugs his stealing had bought,

 And were then stealing through his system

 Even as he stole through the BART system,

 Were taken in noble cause,

 For their intent was that some of the problems of life

 They should


 As the dark subway tunnels gave way to the power of the drug

 Our young explorer knew,

 Or at least hoped,

 He soon would be as the Buddha:


 So he sank with a smile into


 Before him all he saw became flat and two dimensional

 Like a water color


 He saw himself as the painter,

 Both rich and


 With the swift passage of unnoticed time,

    The wiggling corkscrew tunnels breathed and faded,

    Replaced by visions of Hell Wells and dungeons;

    The sounds in the tunnels were eerie and terrifying;

    His reeling mind seethed with pictures of dark and fearsome


    He wandered from his hiding place

    Amid rail equipment

    That had become beasts


    Into concrete insect tunnels,

    Curved round as a womb,

    Long as last week's infinity . . .

    Filled with ultra sonic screams made vivid by his hallucinating


    Sounds and sights came to him,

    Each with a message of importance,

               Trying to involve him,

    To warn him,

    To tell him--

    But what these messages meant he could not


    Reduced to the competency of an


    Completely out of contact with his environment,

    Yet with a drugged sensation of euphoria spreading through him,

    He thought that this was the stuff of life

    Meant for Man to


    And then the LSD had his beingness fully


    A-spin with mystic thoughts

    Zen truths,


    Holy silence to sought to


    He slipped unknowing from his body,

    Feeling a sudden sense of the


    His viewpoint shifted into the dark, dubbed-in realm

    Of the


    A sudden understanding of how far away he was

    From true enlightenment

    Blushed his cheek with a feeling of


    Drifting in drug hazed awareness

    He perceived himself at the edge of something,

    Of some knowingness, or some beingness


    Yet from his body he was getting signals of something more


    Unraveling before him came pictures from times


    Of temporal distances


    Into the time track of all history he was ready to


    But his body was screaming something unintelligible to him,

    It wanted him to move, to


    An all too familiar horn sounds

    In the too near distance.

    He feels his hair blown back by the approaching train.

    Dimly he realizes an event of magnitude is


    Dropping back into his body he finds it standing

    In the center of the track


    A pair of headlights are rushing his way at speeds


    In a final gesture,

    He drops his pants in an act


    Is this to be the rewards

    Of a life


    And then with a squeal of brakes the awful instant arrives.

    The body is swept away,

    Leaving him with the haunting realization

    That drugs in no way improve

    On the state



                                  21 May 78


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