As I have said before, I am an old dope dealer, 69-71. How that ended, what I call hitting bottom for the second time, is directly related to this poem. The Dylan in the title is not Bob Dylan. It’s the other Dylan, Mr. Thomas, the Welshman (correction by YogaforCynics after checking) who wrote these lines
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Like Dylan, What He Said
And right here I want
to rebel against it all,
rebel against you
who created me,
you who will take me so soon
that even now I
feel the coming dark
in the pains of joints, dimming
sight, the loss of love,
I want to stand up straight, shake
my fist in your face.
I'll stand my ground, force
the fire to consume me right
in front of you here.
March 9, 2009 3:54 PM
I followed his advice. My second bottom involved betrayal of friendship, lying, a sting operation, a set trap that somehow didn’t spring, a girlfriend who couldn’t measure up, who I had to leave, the destruction, but carefully of my entire life, leaving town, going from California to Arizona for a couple weeks, coming back to town and after that living a completely different life.
How that worked, when I realized I was in deep shit, my body took over, moved my conscious mind aside, said in effect I had neither the experience nor the intelligence to do what had to be done next. It was a weird ride. I was not in charge, not at all, just sitting back and watching all of it unfold. The things that happened next were like a play, perfectly staged. First I completely evaded the trap, several hours of nighttime driving over roads I did not know, had never been on in order to get back home, totally freaked out, knowing I had to do this perfect at both the buy end and my arrival home. Over several days I cleaned up, demonstrated the uselessness of trying to leverage me for the crime that I actually did not commit (though they had me on others that I did commit, but it wasn’t me they were after), and then carefully leaving town, leaving false trails as I did. I found out that my will to live was only partially in my control. For lack of a better way to say it, my body took over, was determined to neither go to jail nor die without a goddamn good fight. What terrified me, I was not built right for the pressure the narcs could exert. I feared they would make me snitch and then I would simply have to kill myself. I am still convinced I would have killed myself in that condition.
That didn’t happen. I was never even picked up, never charged, nor was the guy I was protecting. The last I heard of him he had made his nut, bought a boat and retired to the South Seas, all from skills and philosophy he built fighting the NVA in Viet Nam. He was a decent man, just thoroughly counter culture and pissed off about the war. He was doing his subversive bit, ripping the system off directly and helping others to do the same. That's how we saw things in those days. He was one of the main suppliers of weed for Hot Tuna. Hot Tuna was a spin off band from the Jefferson Airplane. When they split, that's when the Airplane became the Starship. His smuggling partner had been my roommate in San Jose before my roommate moved to Oregon, bought property and built his house. I loved that man, my roommate, fiercely. I loved my life in those days too. When I had to tear down my life to save myself, it nearly killed me losing so much. My body made that happen, a completely different kind of consciousness. I could not have done it. There is no question I was raging against the dying of the light.
Instead I met my future wife, moved to Oregon with her in a year, and got a career three months after that. I found a continuing education course, signed up and was hooked up with a mentor and best friend who changed my life over the next six years to boot.