The Dell House


The large shade tree that darkened the front yard
offered cool solace to restless youths
who straggled down the sidewalks and alleyways
and opened the creaking gate
at the bulls eye center of the counterculture,
where restless Midwest runaways, pauper musicians,
bikers, authors, old Jewish pensioners
and wizened beat poets basked
in the summer sunlight, sandy beaches
and run down bungalows.

We were bleeding internally.
David could feel the blood filling his head
from the rat-a-tat of weapons
on the nightly evening news, his only relief
fast walks, head down,
through long painful nights,
then back to his job at the aerospace plant,

and Michael couldn’t stop his knee
from jumping as he sat, up and down,
the jungle always in his mind,
the night he and a single black pajama guy
scared the shit out of each other as they
locked eyes for an instant and slowly
backed their way out, 
and now his knee kept jumping and his long
blond hair flowed in heavy waves over his shoulders
and he lived with all these other folks even though
he really didn’t like hippies and
he talked of Canada all the time.

One roof       kitchen rules,
criticism meetings stolen from Mao
that didn’t go over too well with Michael,
but he sat there and took shit
and dished it back to all those who left their
breakfast bowls in the sink, and all this resulted
in a schedule for cooking dinners and a
kitchen devoid of dirty dishes
and floors that got swept up now and then.

One roof where the passing parade
drifted in and out and we didn’t
have to leave the house because the world
came to us with political perspective and
mystic meditation and sex and friendship
and love and alliances and plans for

People’s parks and food co-ops
and lay-out work for the local paper,
where the world came to us
with distractions and temptations,
Brown Sugar blasting in the large back room,
bodies                shadows in the dim light
up and down to the driving beat of a Saturday night.

The tide ebbed and the stragglers slept
on a Sunday morning as we sipped our coffee
and spun our narratives,
every story full of motion,
every path leading here,
this timeless instant in the living room,
David, Michael and the rest of us

catching our breath

                    on the way to somewhere.

4 thoughts on “The Dell House”

  1. I agree Anonymous, The writer must not have been featuring the time of the Bread and Roses collective. I remember Dave, Susie, Frank, Pat, Michael and of course me.
    I will need to go to some of the many pictures I took to see who I am forgetting when we all lived at the Bread and Roses Collective. But the poem certainly didn’t have the sound of that time.
    Maybe it was of the very political group before us.
    My dog, Diyag and I were there at a time filled with excitement, controversy, distinctive personal opinions, interests that were so very different and gosh, opposing life goals. Yep, not from those days living in the house on Dell.

    1. Hi John,
      Socalyankee is in fact me, Frank Kearns. I guess we all see the past through different lenses. David and Michael are of course made – up names.

      Good to hear from you again.

      Be well,

      1. I knew..Ya the comment about the long blond hair and Canada gave it away. I liked the poem and your perspective on events of that time. I remember things a bit different, but you are the poet and interpret to make a point.

        Your poem got me talking to my wife about my memories of you.
        It was my ex, buy the way, that got me to Canada.
        My best to you old pal, John

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