St. Paul’s Day

Bright ol’ Milky Way.
Fires already burn down south.
Fair weather or drought?


July 4, 1971

I made some “Time Machine” this week.  As in “That smell transports me, instantly, to that Hotel on the Herengracht, where Guilders went for 27 cents….that’s what they got for an AMSTERdam Heinekin, and their (wonderfully progressive) juke box played, something like, 7 songs for the same guilder.  The place was narrow, like a dozen feet wide, but it went back a long way, I’d estimate near 100 feet, and was 5 stories tall.  It had an old fireplace in the front room with smoking pipes on the mantle, along with a couple token beer steins.  I remember being so gloriously ripped for my immediate, post check-in nap (after properly sampling the “fireball,”) that I was laughing as I gripped the sides of the bed-frame to hold on.

As I had walked into town from the train station, that July 4th, it was 8 am on Sunday morning and I’d been up for 2 hrs here, 7 on the plane, and (since the flight had left @ 4:30,) probably, at least, 8 n a half before that.  What’s that, 17 n a half. Reasonable, but I needed to kill the time until 2 pm check-in.

As I walked down what I now reckon, (by reference to current satellite photos and memory of where I’d walked,) 2b Spuistraat; a smashed-bottle- detritus-strewn street of what had recently been a hearty party, I marveled @ the feeling of disorientation….and the street’s brightly lit by the sun, but totally deserted!

After hiking another block or 2 I c a person walking the other way, (towards the RR Stn.,) who stops me with eye-contact and a smile as we pass. “Just get here?” he asks, confident that we were that which we appeared 2B; American brats, like him, and would understand English.

“Here,” he laughed, “…Welcome to Amsterdam. I’m going back and can’t take this with me.”  He then held out his hand, fingers curled and palm down.  I, reflexively, extended my hand, palm up, to accept whatever his offering might have been….on the faith in the good will evidenced by his smiling eyes.  That was proof sufficient to my trust.

A lump of rubbery, aromatic, Nepalese-looking Hashish lay in my hand.  It was the size of an Atomic Fireball and my mouth hung open in astonished appreciation as he smiled over his shoulder at my gape-mouthed wonder, while he strode away toward the train.

Earth Day

Those assholes in the capitol suck
don’t care a bit if we all starve
we caught fish
we trapped beavers
we mined ore
we cut trees
we dammed rivers
worked damned hard, sir,
now they say that if we keep on
that there won’t be any left
that some eco-system’s trying
to come back from the cliff
well I quit school in the sixth grade
like my good ol’ daddy did
started working in the mill
and bought a pick-up with a lid
drank beers with my money Fridays
with the other working joes,
married Sandy, dug Boss Cougar
on the juke box singing those
songs about us real guys
not the commie college crowd
Now they say to save what’s left
we’ve gotta turn our ways around,
fuck that, its people that amount
to more than any porpoise, owl
or tree, Hey America,
fuck the earth
I’ve got kids’ mouths to feed
Copyright: J. Risdon 2012

Physics makes me feel like part of something beyond belief…

The Necessary Ingredient






Maniad 1996



August 24, October 5, November 8
These festivals were held to placate the Manes. It was believed that on these days the Mundus, the passageway to the underworld, was open and the spirits of the dead were free to roam the earth.”