poet
Filbert Street altar for Richard Brautigan

To Richard Brautigan, an iPoem altar

My new millennium camellia for you Richard Brautigan who gives kisses after death. At least a poem's promise of, which might be even better for us here now. Thank you for naming my first Earth Quake. I forgive you for losing my kitten. It was somewhere near these Filbert Street walks in North Beach in San Francisco, California in 1957. Here'a a Google map of the approximate location. I remember you best as the poet reading at The Place. I hope you find the key. Here are the life poems I have from you.

1957 - SF, CA

In North Beach, I would come home walking east up Filbert St toward Coit Tower. At a tiny store I'd get wine and a long loaf of crusty fresh French bread and then continue east downhill on the stairs towards Fisherman's Wharf. Down a tiny lane to the left (north), I lived in two tiny rooms all made of doors. Upstairs, my neighbors were Richard Brautigan, a poet, and Ginger, who went to work each day. There I also met Lenore Yanoff, Ginger's friend, who soon moved back to Los Angeles. Their place was a vast railroad of rooms all with many windows overlooking the bay.

One day while painting I was abruptly shaken out of doors. I reeled around with no words for what was happening. I looked upstairs to Richard Brautigan, holding onto the railing. He said "earth quake".

They told me about the Beat poets whose books I got from City Lights bookstore and read. I went to The Place, a bar up over the hill to the west and listened to Richard Brautigan and other poets reading poems. I painted an oil of The Place which I later traded to John Hawkins in Minnesota. A black and white photo of the colored painting is at the top of this page. By the signature, C.Lind '57, the title is "Which Poet?"* The figure standing in the middle with blond Beatle-cut hair is Richard Brautigan. Other poets are in the audience.

Brautigan exuded poetry like a time warp; everything that happened around him seemed like poetry. All my memories of him are poetic. Like, we said like all the time. Like he liked the painting, so he picked it up and carried it to The Place. He hung it on the wall so it was in back of him when he read poems at The Place. Crackerjack box visions of infinite regressions of poets at the places.

One day I came home with a tiny black kitten. It made me feel less lost. Ginger named him Al. While I took a trip to Venice Beach in LA, Richard Brautigan was home taking care of my Al. When I got back, there was no kitten. No explanation, Al was just gone. After that the fierce night cat yowls made me wonder if Al was part of it or really gone.

There was also king crab from the Fisherman's Wharf at the bottom of the Filbert St.stairs. To afford these delights and pay the rent I got a job as a bus girl in some restaurant. Soon I decided to go back to Minnesota, realizing I was not Van Gogh in that I needed some support like I could get at the UofM.

1958 - NY, NY

In the winter I quit school again and moved to NY, but soon returned to school in Minneapolis. I had learned bohemian ways from the beats and was reading Kerouac's Dharma Bums. I lived with a friend and we called our apartment/gallery The Place. From Ginger and Richard in SF came a slim red booklet of Brautigan's poems (The Galilee Hitch-Hiker) and one with hand prints on the cover (Four New Poets), with notes. I don't know when they and all my Beat library got lost. I lost touch with Brautigan.

1967 - return to SF, CA

When did I get the job penning in cartoons? Where I got fired for sneaking out early with a fellow worker when we took a train to Palo Alto to see the church with huge windows of glass. One lunchtime I went home with a fellow worker. I met Janis Joplin beside the refrigerator covered with pictures. A large woman, stunning me, since I had danced so many times ecstatically to her songs, which were mine all mine and I thrilled to completely.

The last memory of Richard Brautigan was at a rock concert. So poetic, call it "Where's the Key?" - an interactive, animated diorama in a virtual wax museum. I'm at the Fillmore Auditorium and Big Brother and The Holding Company is playing. I'm looking for a rest room, going through empty halls, doors, and corridors. Around a corner by the entry, wandering, looking around the floor, is Richard Brautigan. I remind him who I am and of our friendship on Fillbert St. from 10 years ago. I ask about Ginger, who left him. Richard is looking for a key that he has lost. I join the search around the floor edges of doors and halls. Then I danced on, never knowing if he found it or if the key was found.

1983 - return to the Bay area

And when was it that I heard of his death in Bolinas? In my journal on 3 March 1996 is a mention of it. Also a connection to Bill Graham Presents, an outdoor concert hall near where I worked in Mountain View. Bill Graham was also gone. For the Brautigan Bibliography (that is far more than that) site, see www.brautigan.net/.

See the Hippie Museum Remote page. Back to Minnesota Art, UofM, or Minnesota Art - NOT page.

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