Sheriff knows where his bread is buttered--
So does every Supervisor.
Not a word about it's uttered
Leaving no one no less wiser.
Legal Tender calls each shot.
Money made from growing pot
Was tolerated, long as those
Who grew it never made too much--
Maybe buy some winter clothes
Or better cars the cops can't touch;
Expensive powders for their nose,
To even out bad breaks and such.
But now that growers make some money,
Enough to buy a little power,
Legal Tender starts its funny
Moves on those who raise the flower.
The game of cops and robbers booms
When the Flower Power blooms.
Legal Tender tends to frown;
Flower Power stops and thinks
More than wrinkles going down:
Legal Tender, their shit stinks
As much as any gangster's who
Profits off of growing boo.
Used to be you called the growers
Hippy Mom and Pop.
Gangsters from the city lowers
The boom on anybody caught
Just surviving growing pot.
Trails leading to the crops
Are hidden for the simple reason:
Thief by night, first light it's cops--
Not to mention hunting season.
Keep it small to keep it all,
Says the writing on the wall.
Working up a little steam,
Legal Tender eagles scream.
Supervisors at their service,
County Sheriff is getting nervous--
Supervisor's say he's lame.
Sheriff is taking all the blame
For the marijuana grown
In the rural county.
Issue getting overblown;
Someone wants a bounty
Put on every grower's head;
Vigilantes seeing red.
Sheriff is getting super pissed,
Over-budget as it stands.
So the sheriff tries to enlist
Super charged adrenal glands:
Deputies have a new relation
Through the Sheriff's Association.
Sheriff got every good old boy
Who'd like to kick some ass;
Sheriff now needs another ploy--
The good old boy's a gas
Except his strategy is poor:
All for starting civil war.
Supervisors: bobbing heads;
Legal Tender says revamp;
Supervisors call on Feds,
Government then sends in CAMP:
Campaign doing more than ranting
At the marijuana planting.
Afghani cush in perfect soil
Hauled to places where there's none--
Under pygmy pines that foil
Reconnaissance the times it's done
From the air: and from the air,
It looks like small pines growing there.
Pygmy forest path zig-zags
To a place that can't be found;
Pot grows out of plastic bags--
It's trimmed and dried; stashed underground
In airtight fifty gallon cans--
Finest buds and also-rans.
Rumbling, screaming through the amp,
Going up around the bend,
Listen to the guitar tramp
Coming on the rising wind--
Riding with the turbulence,
Shaking loose the violence.
No more idle talk, no fight;
Now he wants to hear a song.
The company he has tonight
Is just enough to get along
Alone, O.K., with Creedance to
Lift a downer point of view.
Between the law laid down by straight
Folks in ties and slacks or skirts,
And people getting kicks from hate,
They've wound him up so tight it hurts;
Lost all reason for a truce--
Watch out! Mad dog on the loose.
You never see a mad dog stray;
Mad dogs simply bolt;
And if a mad dog bolts your way
It catches you in its revolt;
Mad Dog's crazy, running scared,
Judgement probably impaired.
When people come to settle down
The Sheriff believes he's duty bound
To know each one who comes to town
Should one decide to stick around.
The Feds have offered him a hand--
They understand he's undermanned.
Sheriff takes help that he can get.
He's refused nobody yet.
Now to help out law and order
Are these eager hands that border
On servility, hands up for
Doing all he wants and more.
The Sheriff asked Feds about Mad Dog--
His attributes send up flags.
Imagine. In the coastal fog
Some computer bags
One mad dog the Feds had lost.
Sheriff will wrap things up--no cost.
Gullible cannot describe
The way good hearted folks
Can trust a rumor and imbibe
In someone's clever hoax;
This mad dog is going to die,
Assassinated by a lie.
Mad Dog wasn't always mad;
He'd grown up a golden boy;
California sun a tad
Too much for Mad Dog to enjoy
When the streets were ruled by class--
One trying to kick another's ass.
Before he quit the Dog worked for
The Feds, he worked deciphering
Events they measured by the score:
The score was the deciding thing
That's when he found true scores were kept
A secret with an intercept.
It seems Mad Dog found out too much--
Became unstable, so mistrusted;
Now Feds worry he might touch
Off inquiries like what busted
Tricky Dicks and dirty tricks
And business buying politics.
So the Dog high-tailed it out
For Northern Californian woods.
Living like a monk no doubt,
Watching out for Federal hoods.
But it was true, he couldn't hide,
And now he rows against the tide.
A rumor's circulated by
Some official briefly through;
Started by the FBI--
Agent blew in to review
The situation, leaving some
Rumor hard to overcome.
Two lies isolate the Dog;
Big dealer--addict once.
Another falsehood goes whole hog--
It's heard above the grunts:
Look out women, young and tender--
Mad Dog once a sex offender.
Agent said he'd send the proof
But Sheriff has since quit waiting--
Another bureaucratic goof.
Meanwhile, lies are circulating;
Mad Dog's dangerous, some folks think,
Though no one's seen the proof in ink.
The local yokels took the bait;
They're going for it all the way.
All the Sheriff does now is wait--
Getting ready for the day.
The eagle scout will climb and dive
On the pervert's ugly jive.
Mad Dog lives in pygmy woods--
Profile edging from the trees;
The Sheriff is holding all the goods
On someone no one hardly sees.
Meanwhile vicious rumors buzz
About the things a mad dog does.
If rumors stand up long enough,
Anyone could do him in.
Who can stand that kind of stuff?
Redneck patience wearing thin;
Who's to care if some mad dog
Turns up road-kill in the fog?
Mad Dog's dreams leave him uneasy--
Wakes up scared, or feeling sleazy;
Wakes to ask, what's going on?
After coffee, feeling's gone
To a place those feelings go--
Secret, hidden embryo.
Psychologizing bad as Freud,
Repressing urge to run and hide--
The Dog is nervous. Paranoid
He thinks, sometimes, and lets it slide.
Takes the feeling as a joke
Or numbs it on some rum and coke.
Early morning, zero warning,
Khaki browns and steel blue;
Can't be wondering where to hide
The moment cops are busting through
The front and back and standing tall,
Throwing you against the wall.
In his shorts, pulled out of bed,
Thinking, Run, or you'll be dead;
Off the wall and on his toes;
Out the back door Mad Dog goes--
Through the huckleberry brush.
Mad Dog, Mad Dog, what a rush.
They had nothing on the man
That they could prove in court.
So nothing could be finer than
The Mad Dog being such a sport:
Past his ear, meant for his head,
The hummingbird was tumbling lead.
Suspicion caused the law to shoot
But what made Mad Dog run?
His crime must have been a beaut--
The law is having too much fun.
There he goes, no shoes, no clothes--
To live or die for what he knows.
Down the pygmy forest trails--
The Dog is burning off cold sweat;
Way behind him, posse flails
Through short cuts that only get
Thicker, thorny, then dead end
At branches they can't break or bend.
Down the slopes past virgin growth
Reduced to hollow stumps;
Once were tall and massive, both.
Into one the mad dog jumps
To the bottom yards below--
A goose-pen Mad Dog seems to know.
Mad Dog pulls a plastic bag
From under goose pen roots;
From it, pulls a light wool shag
Rug, clothes, and hiking boots.
And with a wallet, he would find
Spare glasses--otherwise he's blind.
He puts them on, starts getting dressed;
Gazing up out at the sky.
The Dog is going to stay and rest,
Keeping himself warm and dry:
A burned-out redwood stump around
This crater six feet in the ground.
With a butane lighter, starts
A pinch of incense--letting smoke
Follow pantlegs past the parts
That would normally provoke
The running dogs--he takes the chance
He'll smell of decomposing plants.
Where the plastic bag was hid
Is where the Mad Dog crawls;
Something you did as a kid
Beyond sidewalks and walls.
He wraps the rug around him and
Stays well hidden like he planned.
Soon he heard the bloodhounds bay--
A chopper, then reports;
You could hear the Mad Dog say,
"O.K. eat my shorts"--
In wet mosquito brush somewhere
Dogs howl at dirty underwear.
It could take the cops all day
To figure that one out.
Mad Dog's set and he would stay
Until he had no doubt
The Sheriff's quit looking for him here.
Then he'll head for some place near.
Driftwood beach and gold sun-glade
To abalone pearl skies;
Clouds turn peach and lemonade
As river wisps materialize,
Buoyant like a floating log,
Waiting for incoming fog.
Up the river, Parrish blue
Skies backdrop an evening star--
More stars, one by one, tattoo
Constellations: fish to jar
That's pouring out a brand new age,
Cooling off the latest rage...
Unless the god-damn pump won't start.
Nothing's cooling Bonnie then--
Till she breaks down and buys the part
That she had planned on buying when
The plants she had had all matured--
Brought inside and manicured.
Fog horn groans and full moon lights
Up the misty redwood nights;
Starry skies and cloudy days,
Fog as thick as mayonnaise--
Mother Nature struts her stuff--
Part the ferns and sniff the buff.
It's the only way to go--
Folks don't know she's even there.
Who's to say they'll ever know?
Tourists stick to paved roads where
They can view it from their car
Should they venture out so far.
North Coast winter coming on--
Weather swinging hot and cold;
Daylight saving time is gone;
Autumn storms are growing bold;
Cabin shrinking week by week;
Thank god, so far, there's no leak.
Fixing everything herself;
Bonnie needs another tool.
Prices on the hardware shelf
Are enough to blow her cool.
Hate to borrow, can't buy new,
Half-assed job will have to do.
The things that she can buy no more--
It gets to be a stupid joke.
I wouldn't say for sure she's poor,
But it's true she's usually broke.
Investing every cent she'll get
In keeping dry when it gets wet.
Friday night I had too much;
Hardly anything I say
Pass the nerves I have to touch--
Turning Bonnie's touch away.
The smoke and drink to feel good
Has made me feel less than I should.
Natural brush is left uncleared;
A path that's straight is not her style;
Lately I've made sure I've steered
Clear of her path for a while;
Not as friendly as she looks,
I left her holed up reading books.
Cabin fever, tempers up,
She was needing privacy,
Or time with someone for a cup
Of coffee and a dream that she
Can share and hoping it will come
To be, before the quarrelsome
World we live in falls apart:
Before we break each other's heart.
Cup of coffee, sit and talk;
Go outside and take a walk;
Cabin fever's nothing more
Than pressure building, building poor.
Plywood siding, redwood studs;
One-byes panel north-side wall.
Outside, rot is on the buds
From an early autumn squall;
If CAMP don't get them, bud-rot will:
Both come with the autumn chill.
She still has windows left to go;
Sheetrock's cheap but has to wait
For wiring still; the cold drafts blow
Through the cracks, she'll compensate
With plastic over window space;
Wool sweater and a warm embrace.
Lamps are lit but it's a fact
Electric lines run down the road.
Music, when she gets her act
Together coming up to code.
She has the rain to listen to
Whenever clouds come marching through.
Brown patina, amber light;
Orange glow on the burning stove;
Outside, fairy tale night.
Down south, sand and turquoise cove
Ten miles south of Mulege;
Perfect for late winter day.
Te quiero. Spanish I.
Class tonight. She left a note.
It's Spanish for the Baja sun;
Mexico, where pesos float.
She wants to be there February--
Will have earned it January.
Soft talk led her into deep
Woods--a shadow's all you see;
A game more real than the steep
Bets she made to guarantee
Enough someday for Mexico,
Off of what she's trying to grow.
Now it's silhouettes and fog;
Pygmy forest ridges link
Land-poor and the barking dog--
Likewise, eight foot plants that stink
So good, oh whoa, they're everywhere;
Patches pepper autumn air.
Mornings crisp the evergreens;
Dew slicks up the stairs;
Flannel shirt and faded jeans
Show more class than millionaires:
Stairs run down the outside wall,
Two story cabin very small.
Mad Dog's knocking on the door;
Moss brown eyes--he's sort of cute;
She'd met the man one time before--
Too preoccupied to suit
The woman who's now face to face
To the one the lawmen chase.
She's never where the gossip's at
So ignored the rumors that
Had said the Dog was rabid mad.
She didn't think the guy's so bad.
She even liked his silly grin.
Bonnie let her neighbor in.
She had figured this man wrong:
He would scare her half to death.
He would talk the whole day long
And hardly stop to take a breath;
Crazy. If not, there's no hope.
And just when she thought she could cope.
And scared to death.
My life's destroyed
With every breath
I take I've trouble getting past
The feeling it'll be my last.
No more trust,
Truth wear's a mask.
Who's out to bust?
First thing I ask
Of steady, heady revelations.
Say goodbye to good vibrations.
They both raise--
From what's underneath a rock:
The stinger whips up serious shock.
A war of nerves
Waged by the state
Of things that serves
My life--becoming sore to touch:
It gets to be too goddamn much.
A trap, you smell
It miles away.
They almost spell
It out and say
They've got you on computer lists
With gangsters, creeps and communists.
They get their lists
The easy way:
Think it's O.K.
To sign petitions they assume
Will do some good to ward off doom.
The things I know
About them all
Will go to show
They've got to fry me to a crisp,
Sent to lay to rest the lies
That claim the embassy has spies.
Iran, they say,
Has turned out bad.
Though, might have had
Us all, because the man we see
Who was the cover fantasy
We saw as Times's
Man of the Year:
Teach us to fear
Komeni's and club wielding goons
Walt Disney worked up as cartoons.
They got it right:
Got rid of those
Who dance at night,
Wear Western clothes.
And communists, of course, are dead:
Mystics mute the color red.
I took some looks
Read his Green Books
The CIA tells us he's crazy--
Green Books show he's kind of lazy.
But there's no way
That he can fuck
With super-powers when his leg
To stand on is a powder keg.
They turned Jim Jones
Into a dupe.
Reduced to bones
In one fell swoop
A thousand folks without a fight?
Klan victorious--Klan's White Night.
Someone they've identified
As cadre on the other side.
What a thriller:
Got to first
By those putting him to use:
Locate victim, cut him loose.
John Lennon shot
For what he sang:
Because he thought
They ought to hang
Up free enterprise and give
Peace a chance, fat chance he'll live.
They plan to start
World war tomorrow;
It's in their art--
The art of sorrow;
A war to get them through depression,
A war to make their business freshen.
The gun smoke hangs.
Once said the war
Was caused by gangs
Of known extremists they'd arrest
As soon as aid came from the West.
They now invoke,
From long ago,
For status quo:
The Monroe Doctrine stops the East,
Armageddon and the Beast.
Their hills are filled
With guns they ran.
Reactionaries on a roll,
Cities all Reds could control.
Took Idi Amin--
Made him the fool;
The TV screen
Showed us a ghoul.
They lost Angola, fled northeast;
Got Uganda back at least.
They have a cause:
Whip honkees up;
With some applause
Ship Yankees up
And over, to keep Zaire
And cobalt that they commandeer.
Got off a wink
For AIDS laid on
The ones they think
Die gay, die injecting drugs;
The virus loose, commander shrugs.
I know things:
They're pulling strings
To tan my hide
By stretching it across a door--
I've seen their work around before.
A big mistake:
For heaven's sake.
No wonder folks are paranoid--
Militias filling in the void.
A thousand tricks,
A thousand ways
To cast a haze
Over what is going on:
Truth is going, going, gone.
I can't get past
The smell of death.
How long's it last?
Can't catch my breath.
They've covered, shredded, burned, decoyed,
But they can't fool this paranoid."
The Mad Dog's down and Bonnie's up;
"Troubles, wow," and asked him if
He'd like to drown them in a cup
Of wine or would he like a stiff
Shot of brandy--Bonnie might
Have some left from Friday night.
But he declined;
"Hope you don't mind,"
She pulled some off the shelf.
"I could use
One, so excuse
Me--I'll indulge myself."
His brown eyes were stoney bright
Back of Buddy Holly glasses;
There would be no sleep tonight
Unless the creepy feeling passes
That is making Bonnie tense--
Mad Dog almost making sense.
Violent times produce a call
To deal with the craziness;
Get up after every fall
And say goodbye to laziness--
Every minute of your time
Goes to raise another dime.
David acting on the stage
With friends he's known for years.
That's where they put down the rage
And anger earning cheers.
Hit and Run, as they've been called,
Will see our minds are overhauled.
Hit and Run. Hey! Break a leg.
Make us bust a gut;
Put another powder keg
Under someone's butt;
Blast the folks out of their seats:
Through the roof to take the streets.
Loaded up for bear they hit
Town on wheels and go for it.
Break a leg. Hey! Hit and Run,
Hold a gun to someone's head--
Fire laughs off one by one
And knock some people dead.
"David", she said, "meet another
Crazy for a change."
Mad Dog could have been his brother--
His life was just as strange.
Only difference, David had
Grand-kids calling Grandpa, "rad".
David and his frizzy hair;
He'll teach you what you want.
Otherwise he doesn't care;
He'll let your karma haunt
And hound you day and night
Until you get the lesson right.
Makes no difference, get along,
I've never seen him push;
Doesn't judge things right or wrong
Except in terms of cush.
Doesn't matter what it takes:
Learn from him or your mistakes.
Even when mistakes cost more-
Expense he sometimes pays.
They've been keeping David poor.
But he knows, one of these days
Friends and family come of age;
David always was a sage.
Sure, the old man wants to help;
Hates to hear some puppy yelp;
In fact he'll help the Mad Dog, now;
He'd planned a short trip anyhow.
Bonnie too, until she's sure
They hadn't traced Mad Dog to her.
Back to Mad Dog's David goes.
Sheriff, by noon, had got a lead--
Someone called who won't disclose
Who they are but guaranteed
They'd find Mad Dog back at his shack;
Sheriff is up for going back.
House surrounded by the Man,
Pulling up fast as they can.
Neighbors watched the caravan;
Cops and CAMP arm up and fan
Out, then circle: CAMP'S prepared--
No amount of back-up's spared.
Sheriff Deputies block access roads--
Curious neighbors soon retire;
Lots of shooting; house explodes--
Going up, your ball of fire.
Was it something SWAT-teams use?
Or something in the house, folks muse.
Tomorrow they'll sift the ashes good.
But from a goose pen 60 yards
Away from all the smoldering wood,
A shadow slips past laughing guards;
Through the pygmy, David sails--
Easy when you know the trails.
Taped to every inside wall
Had been a dozen blasting caps;
David hid and watched it all--
From the goose pen nearby, zaps
The eager CAMP enthusiasts--
Blew through walls like shotgun blasts.
David did his thing until
The sun went down--one wire still
Left to touch off to conclude
The show with greater magnitude.
David touched the final wire
To the post--your ball of fire.
Read the button as he passes:
It asks, You love Jesus? HONK.
Hunch-back wearing black rimmed glasses
Maybe thinks he's Dave Von Ronk.
Mad Dog, is that you I see?
Limping like an amputee?
People, take a second look;
Hunch-back, long coat, painful walk;
Brown guitar case, voice that shook;
People too polite to gawk:
They all look the other way.
I'll be damned! Oh, happy day!
Two women too, who follow you
Are looking just as strange.
Both of them I thought I knew--
Talk about a change!
David's some dame in a shawl,
Standing nearly six feet tall.
The other woman showing off
What I'd rather see
When fireworks are going off,
And her for company
Without the make-up she has now
That says I'll have to pay, and how.
If you looked their way again,
The three of them would not fool us,
But fool the average citizen
Riding on the Greyhound bus
Doing law abiding duty--
Hoping their reward's a beauty.
When the ashes cooled down,
No one found Mad Dog's remains;
Holy shit! The Sheriff's a clown--
Sheriff feels like he dropped his brains;
Letting one Mad Dog escape
And cross the border in good shape.
So far Mad Dog's not in jail;
Last I heard, he was O.K.
Like the ashes, left a trail
That doesn't have too much to say;
There's Canada or Mexico
When you need a place to go.