i asked the guy handing out the socialist newsletter
who is the alchemist of love?
he looked at me as if i ought to have known better
and said “don’t ask me! i’ll call a cop!”
so i lit out running down east empire st, ‘till i
got so puffed i had to stop.
seen a coyote picking through a garbage can i said
“who is the alchemist of love”
he said “why are you even asking me, man?
i’m just trying to do my job” and he growled at me
so i kept on walking
(kind of strange that coyote talking. had a sort of arkansas accent)
so i headed down 10th st, by the abandoned factory
and it kept coming back to me
‘bout where the secret to love had gone’
i walked past the corner of washington.
i was looking for a old school hobo, because they are kind an wise
maybe he had seen the alchemist, with his hoboing eyes.
but there were none to be found, some one
cleaned up this town. sent ‘em all to sacramento. it occurred to me
maybe i needed a new mission or a hobby
– i bought a newspaper at the rotten robbie.
but i ditched it in the trashcan it by the eucalyptus tree
(i can’t believe i paid for a mercury. they let dope fiends and sex maniacs write that paper)
so i got to the corner of 10th and st james and this guy
in a red dodge ram starts calling me names i said
have mercy on a cripple boy, i’m wrestling with a mystery –
i don’t monkey with you city ducks, don’t come monkeying with me.
but this guy, he won’t calm down. it’s like he’s hollering for his life,
now he’s got me pegged in the blue house on st john’s st and
i’m doing something with his wife. which made me think a little, but i
was sure it was not me – i said, no sir, you accusation is made most
wrongfully, for i am just a pilgrim down 10th st
i seek to know love’s alchemy. he said “i believe you’re speaking true
for my wife’s lover was an handsome man, so that surely is not you.
(and he let me through, but the more i think about it – well, it might still have been me!)
i walked past the funeral parlor, the barber and the 7-11 store, my
mind was mightily vexed and my feet were mightily sore.
i felt my spirit sinking low and my hopes were slowly sagging as i
walked past kappa delta girls loading a green volvo wagon. a sign
said “we buy houses” and another “eat at ken’s” but i realized these weren’t even
the slightest evidence. i was feeling uninspired, tired, ragged and depressed
i was almost run down by the spartan express.
the alchemy of love? did it exist? i wandered on, consumed by doubt
i need more than pen and poetry to work this problem out.
i decided i was not cut out to be a visionary seer. plus,
i figured i was hungry and i went into a taqueria.
(super taqueria, s 10th just before william. best tacos in santa clara county. lotsa bigshots eat there)
i was doodling on a napkin as i waited for my order. i was feeling philosophical,
well – maybe, kinda, sorta. my waitress she had big brown eyes
and soft, inviting hips. the kind of face that makes a man begin to lose his grip.
i imagined hearing wedding bells and smelling orange blossoms, ‘til the
pragmatist in me said “buddy, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em”
‘twas then i threw my pen down! i felt the breaking of the curse –
i had the alchemist of love in simple, plain wrought verse….
“one man said that highest love
was born of soft caress
one man said that to truly love
was to grovel and confess
otis said you gotta gotta gotta
gotta gotta gotta
try a little tenderness”