Friday, October 9, 2009


Hmmm. Yesterday I posted from the River Styx. In this poem I am up a tree, arguably trying to piss up a rope, a little green man to boot. This is of course the very next poem, written just a half hour later than the poem calling for someone to kill me now. So I guess I was in an odd mood in mid February.

I am reading the recent bio of John Lennon, that huge 800 page book. I ran into something wonderful that I never knew before. It changes my history. In Liverpool there is a street called Lime Street. There was a famous prostitute called Maggie May and she worked Lime Street. Uh oh. It turns out that Maggie figured in a popular English folk ballad.

I once fell for a lady named Katy. This was back in 1970. In 1970 I was fresh back from East Pakistan (Bangladesh). I was a student part time at San Jose State, later named Cal State U at San Jose, worked a little and sold dope to stay alive and keep myself in dope. I lived with my dealer, a smuggler and student, in a dope house south of the campus, on South 12th St. The Dooby Brothers lived up the street at the time. Oddly, there were two roommates with us who didn't do much dope, and a lady who lived upstairs in a separate apartment in the house who was clean too. It was just that way in those days, with people mingling and not worried about it.

Katy came into my life looking to buy some pot. She walked into my room, me never having met her before, I was in my underwear, boxers. I didn't care and apparently neither did she. She slayed me just like that. I was hers, if she wanted me. This is all a really complex story and of course it didn't work over the long haul. She was married and trying to leave her husband who was substantially younger than she was. They had intended to be a rock and roll band. That didn't work, and neither did their marriage, but he was really in love with her. I was a year younger than her too, but of course several years older than him. So when Rod Stewart came out with his hit Maggie May, I sang it to her along with the radio. "The sun in your face really shows your age, but that don't matter, to me you're everything." Amen. She got really angry. She did not take jokes like that very well.

Now Maggie May turns into a famous Liverpudlian prostitute. Wow. I had no idea. I guarantee you that Rod Stewart did though. Now I wonder how many people here in the states got that thing at the time. That was a really big song here. If it was as big in England, I am sure it was big in a different way because of the folk song.

This thing with Katy was a big thing for me, and in a curious way anchored the part where I was going to move to Oregon if I could. That's a whole other story. Maggie May is a big song for me because of Katy.


I'm trapped here again,
hornswoggled little green man,
hung by the hemp rope
treed and upended.
You claim I'm upright looking
at it with God's eyes
but blood rushing down
reddens my admitted bad eyes
and I still feel down.

February 15, 2009 11:36 AM


  1. how nicely the anchoring of memory seems to me to be a shadow/mirror... sorry, can't decide... of the image of "you" hanging in the tree.. who knows, upside down or not?
    this was a nice combo of story and song and image.

  2. Change one letter of Maggie May and you've got my mom's name. Hmmmm, Perhaps the reason I am illegitimate?

    Love a man in boxers. Love me in boxers. I am annoyed that my experiences are so small, so local. Pretty soon everything I write will be fiction. Guess it's time to step out...

  3. Harlequin, interesting that you think these worked together. I thought so too, and I don't really know why. I didn't make up the Maggie May thing, it had really just happened yesterday, and of course I don't plan my poems, just take them more or less in order as I wrote them. I had not seen Hornswoggled since February.

    Katy was a definite character. Her sisters thought she was crazy. When I was done, given up on trying any more I had a discussion with one of her sisters who said she was stuck. I saw her one more time, three years later, when we met for drinks in a bar called The Veritable Quandary. Indeed, you can't make that up. She was stuck, with another man but the same distress and apparently no further in her life.

    I will never write off love, however, as a waste in any way. It opens me and changes me. Katy was the woman who awakened feelings I might call paternal, "I really want to take CARE of you". Before that love was about being with you.

    W&W, isn't illegitimate a wierd word to tag with child? I have never thought that adjective made any sense. All but one of my loves have not been marriages. Any child from them would have been as legitimately here as any other.

    There is even an "illegitimate" child in the world with me as namesake, even though it was not mine. I treated this woman so kindly apparently that she named the child she was already carrying after me. This connection was in my life only a few days. I never understood that. My name is Christopher Hileman. She named her boy Chrisman.

  4. Need a hand? I'll help you get back upright.

  5. I admire your courage for sharing such personal and fascinating stories, and showing how they inform your work. When you speak about that house, and people mingling regardless of their habits, that was my life for four years of college as well, and I miss the camaraderie. This kind of tale is just one kind that can come out of such an experience, and I love that you turn it into a succinct piece of beauty.

  6. Yeah!

    I love Maggie May, history and all. I remember my mum singing it when I was a little kid and me getting the words all mixed up......that still happens :)

    Love you


  7. Rachel, how would you do that? Many have tried. No one has succeeded. Just ask my boss.

    Joseph, the years I loved Katy were remarkable years and they crashed hard when they ended. What came next bore no resemblance to them, and then I moved to Oregon with the woman who became my wife.

    Michelle, I am guessing you meant the Rod Stewart song. For some reason though, the fact you are Australian just came through loud and clear for me. Wow. Usually I just notice you put things in special ways, cute and delightful. This time I felt a whole culture in what you said. I like that.

  8. You are a very, very complicated man. But then you didn't need me to tell you that, did you.

  9. :) It's amazing I have survived.
    Love you, Erin


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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