Ken Kesey’s bronze statue cozied up to me
On that bench in Eugene. I knew Further,
That painted Urge to trip across country,
Thumb out, backpack on.
I jumped a 6-foot fence in Minnesota,
State trooper’s light flashing,
Left a swag of denim on the wire there.
Outside Santa Barbara, a crazy guy
Asked me what planet I was from
So I bailed at the light.
A bench on Highway 1
Midway from LA to Frisco
Had a mailbox with papers and matches.
I took yarn from my pack
When a trucker asked too many questions,
Long needles flashing as I knit
Nothing useful, bad as
The preacher who took me to my block
But made me pray for redemption.
New snow in Colorado meant
The switchbacks were slippery.
The driver careened down the mountains;
I gripped the backseat and prayed for real.
So, Ken Kesey, you came back
To farm and family – I understand
This urge, too, to root down and raise up a generation,
To leave it all on the field of play
Then stretch the thumb out
For that last trip outta this world.