Richard Brautigan

(January 30, 1935 – September 14, 1984 / Tacoma, Washington)

The Galilee Hitch-Hiker - Poem by Richard Brautigan

The Galilee Hitch-Hiker
Part 1

Baudelaire was
driving a Model A
across Galilee.
He picked up a
hitch-hiker named
Jesus who had
been standing among
a school of fish,
feeding them
pieces of bread.
'Where are you
going?' asked
Jesus, getting
into the front
seat.
'Anywhere, anywhere
out of this world!'
shouted
Baudelaire.
'I'll go with you
as far as
Golgotha,'
said Jesus.
'I have a
concession
at the carnival
there, and I
must not be
late.'


The American Hotel
Part 2

Baudelaire was sitting
in a doorway with a wino
on San Fransisco's skid row.
The wino was a million
years old and could remember
dinosaurs.
Baudelaire and the wino
were drinking Petri Muscatel.
'One must always be drunk,'
said Baudelaire.
'I live in the American Hotel,'
said the wino. 'And I can
remember dinosaurs.'
'Be you drunken ceaselessly,'
said Baudelaire.


1939
Part 3

Baudelaire used to come
to our house and watch
me grind coffee.
That was in 1939
and we lived in the slums
of Tacoma.
My mother would put
the coffee beans in the grinder.
I was a child
and would turn the handle,
pretending that it was
a hurdy-gurdy,
and Baudelaire would pretend
that he was a monkey,
hopping up and down
and holding out
a tin cup.


The Flowerburgers
Part 4

Baudelaire opened
up a hamburger stand
in San Fransisco,
but he put flowers
between the buns.
People would come in
and say, 'Give me a
hamburger with plenty
of onions on it.'
Baudelaire would give
them a flowerburger
instead and the people
would say, 'What kind
of a hamburger stand
is this?'


The Hour of Eternity
Part 5

'The Chinese
read the time
in the eyes
of cats,'
said Baudelaire
and went into
a jewelry store
on Market Street.
He came out
a few moments
later carrying
a twenty-one
jewel Siamese
cat that he
wore on the
end of a
golden chain.


Salvador Dali
Part 6

'Are you
or aren't you
going to eat
your soup,
you bloody odd
cloud merchant?'
Jeanne Duval
shouted,
hitting Baudelaire
on the back
as he sat
daydreaming
out the window.
Baudelaire was
startled.
Then he laughed
like hell,
waving his spoon
in the air
like a wand
changing the room
into a painting
by Salvador
Dali, changing
the room
into a painting
by Van Gogh.


A Baseball Game
Part 7

Baudelaire went
to a baseball game
and bought a hot dog
and lit up a pipe
of opium.
The New York Yankees
were playing
the Detroit Tigers.
In the fourth inning
an angel committed
suicide by jumping
off a low cloud.
The angel landed
on second base,
causing the
whole infield
to crack like
a huge mirror.
The game was
called on
account of
fear.


Insane Asylum
Part 8

Baudelaire went
to the insane asylum
disguised as a
psychiatrist.
He stayed there
for two months
and when he left,
the insane asylum
loved him so much
that it followed
him all over
California,
and Baudelaire
laughed when the
insane asylum
rubbed itself
up against his
leg like a
strange cat.


My Insect Funeral
Part 9

When I was a child
I had a graveyard
where I buried insects
and dead birds under
a rose tree.
I would bury the insects
in tin foil and match boxes.
I would bury the birds
in pieces of red cloth.
It was all very sad
and I would cry
as I scooped the dirt
into their small graves
with a spoon.
Baudelaire would come
and join in
my insect funerals,
saying little prayers
the size of
dead birds.


San Fransisco
February 1958


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 5, 2010



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