My pad was on the ground floor; well, sort of in the basement really. Light filtered in from outside through some netted windows.
Jack got into a habit of coming to call in the middle of the night. He’d rap on the back windows and chortle at me like a fucking maniac. He’d always have some wine, bottles of beer, a handful of uppers or a couple of jays that needed sharing.
He’d come in burn a jay and recite his latest poem at me. He’d bring his guitar and thrash through a few new songs. He’d stare into my eyes and his eyes would flare as he ran me through a crazy idea for a book. It was always rushing. Then off. He was gone.
He gushed with vitality. There were times when his tongue moved so fast yet couldn’t keep up with the thoughts chasing each other through his head. He tried to capture them in his poems and crazy music. Without them you got the feeling that he just might explode.
If Allie was staying over she’d groan and turn over and try to blot it out. We only had one room and it had to serve all functions. Allie would sometimes get up to join in but the intensity of it would get to her. More often than not she’d try to fade into the background and let Jack gush out his craziness.
“There’s a fuckin’ revolution going on, man.”
Allie would look quizzically at him.
“I don’t mean guns an’ shit,” Jack explained wildly. “Although it could come to that.” He looked a bit thoughtful for a minute. “No, there’s political elements to it, I guess. But it’s more of a revolution inside people’s heads. This whole straight way of life is a crock of shit. Who wants to work their arse off to buy shit they don’t need? Who wants to own stuff? The whole fucking planet’s free. We don’t need it. All we need are books and music!”
“I guess you have to eat,” Allie ventured practically.
“No, I don’t mean that,” Jack sighed in exasperation. “Yeah, man. We have to work some to eat. It’s just that there’s too much to do, to find out, too experience. There’s so much to see, people to meet, stuff to read and understand. You could fill your life a million times over just doing that. Then there’s stuff needs doing: Poems to write; Songs; Books. There’s stuff hasn’t been invented yet!”
“Nirvana or bust,” I proffered. It had become something of a catch-phrase with me at the time.
“Yeah, you gotta understand what life is all about,” Jack tried to explain, vainly searching around for some words that could capture the electric storm racing around in his head. “It’s hard to fucking put your finger on it, man. There’s a universe out there. There’s a few thousand years of this morbid society fucking it up. There’s this whole other way of living that fulfilling, creative, fun. That’s what we should be doing, man. This society is fucked up. It’s got it all wrong. There’s a better way. I wanna get out there doing it – living, man – connected into that dynamo in the sky. I want that energy fix, man. I know what I want and it’s not about fucking working at something you hate doing, accruing useless garbage, tying yourself down with a mortgage and filling up the gaps with trivial pap.”
“And where do kids figure in all this?” Allie asked, a little unsettled by the force of Jack’s raging.
“They fit in,” Jack explained in a conciliatory tone. “Having kids is magic. The need loads of love and attention. What they don’t need is parents that are stressed out and out at work all day.”
He passed the jay to Allie who took a big toke.
“There has to be a way of doing it,” I agreed with Jack. “There has to be something more meaningful and fulfilling than the way this crazy society is heading. We have to get back to a more laid back way of life – with room for fun and harmony.” I was watching Allie with that jay out of the corner of my eye, trying not to seem too overeager.
“That’s what I mean,” Jack said excitedly again. “There’s a revolution in the head, man. People are looking for different ways of doing stuff. Life should be less stressful and time consuming, more helping each other, more unity; more fucking harmony, man. That’s what we need. Appreciating each other. Taking care of stuff. Looking after each other. Getting on with the whole planet, man. Forget all this heavy shit!”
Allie passed me the jay.
“People are dropping out and setting up their own little things, man,” I said thoughtfully. “They are looking for some more meaningful thing. But how’s that gonna change straight society? They’re still gonna spend all that shit-load of money on fucking bombs and shit.”
“Evolution, man.” Jack explained taking the jay back off me. “Society sucks and you’ve got to undermine it all from within. We’ve just got to give it a nudge in the right direction. It’ll change. We gotta start thinking globally and look at what we’re doing to the planet, our mother planet.”
“There’s gotta be a bit more to a revolution than just smoking a lot of dope,” Allie observed cynically.
“It’s a spark,” Jack enthused, not focussing on the cynicism. “Once it catches it’ll burn through. Ideas are sparks. Love removes the need for bombs. It’ll catch on, you mark my words. We’re on the edge of a new world.”
“Yeah, we’ve got the communication systems to develop globally.” I offered helpfully.
“We’ve got the technology to take away the drudge!” Jack said forcefully, rolling it along.
“We got the music!” I exclaimed eagerly.
“We’ve got the global info, the culture, and the wisdom to break down barriers.” Jack announced gleefully.
Allie kept her peace.
Sunlight was beginning to filter into the room as straight society prepared for a new work day.
“This is the dawn of a new age, man. History will prove us right!” Jack asserted.
“We know,” I replied, picking up on the Jerry Rubin quote, or was it Abbie Hoffman? Still, what did it matter who it was? “Because we will be writing that history!”