The Teenage Poems and what I’ve learned since: Volume 2
In June 1970, the smog in Riverside was so bad it was impossible to see to the end of the block. My younger sister and I had been kicked out of auditing classes at the university when our ages were discovered. We were sleeping on our mother’s living room floor. And so, with our mother’s blessing, we left Riverside hitch-hiking, looking for a better place to be.
In Colorado we climbed Storm King Mountain, and then a ride we got took us to a music festival in the lee of the Rockies. And there our destinies diverged for a time… I was seized joyfully by a charismatic Belgian professor and invited to go with the Medicine Ball Caravan as a dancing extra for a documentary about hippies and psychedelics and musical events. My sister went to the Hog Farm Commune, where our mother collected her and they hitched to New York.
The Caravan went to Europe, and there I stayed two years, travelling, suffering inwardly and outwardly quite a lot, having relationships, and writing. Then I went back to California and persuaded my mother to move to San Francisco. My sister, a feisty little heroine, went on to hitch-hike across Asia to India… where she met the mystic Osho, and summoned my mother and me to come. The book ends with that life-changing flight to Bombay.
As in Volume 1, the story unfolds through the poems and their commentaries; but in Volume 2 we also have a few letters and diary entries. And, as in Volume 1, there are many photos and drawings. There are many intertwining themes: eating disorders, sexual folly and sexual health, what is a woman really; travel and its benefits, writing and what it does for the writer; how Will both benefits a person and can make her crazy; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and how meditation lifts up daily life and transforms it.