In 1971 Rolf asked me to drive him to the Greyhound depot in Sacramento so he could turn himself in to the police. He’d killed a heroin dealer in a shootout protecting his former wife and child. He didn’t want to return to Santa Fe as a prisoner. I made a medicine bundle to renew his mojo and wrote this poem.
Take down these things from the Shaman’s tree –
three hairs from a brave white dog
a thorny seed curved round in spiral form
from a place where the earth was soft as breast
two pieces of jerkey from the deer D. J. shot on his first acid trip
a bracken mushroom like a gray furry rainbow.
Go through the bag of rocks from La Playa de Buriana.
Find one that looks like the whole earth.
Lick it to be sure.
Look through the tiny shells from a beach near Algeciras.
Choose the perfect one, though all are perfect.
Take a piece of abalone shell from Schooner gulch
out of your shirt pocket
one with silver waves sweeping a silver shore.
Search in Grace’s drawer for the flowery handkerchief
she bought in Granada.
Gather everything up and tie the bundle
with the leather thong that holds your hair
a limpet shell on one end, a holey rock on the other.
Drive your friend to Sacramento to catch a Greyhound
so he can go home without handcuffs.
Listen once more to the story of the battle,
the bullets through the ear and right arm
of this flamenco guitarist and blues man.
Tell him how he taught you to see your strength
by just saying, “Man, you’re so hip!”
when you felt so seriously square.
Tell him the story of this bundle of charms.
Be silent now.
Rolf performing in 1963