I kept dreaming I was trying to get back to New York to find Bill Heine again …. driving and driving across the countryside down miles of narrow highway, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, flat plains unfolding into farmland, and finally arrive at the city’s spiked skyline, driven by that odd intense love I always felt for him.
Long ago, returning to San Francisco from New York, I carried a large piece of red satin I brought in some obscure shop of second hand treasures because it reminded me of him. My St. Francis of the streets, Bill Heine, junkie saint, who healed me once. If I were to find Ellen’s daughter today, what would I tell her? The little girl was a casualty of love, of the magicians of the New York streets, how could the girl not hate Bill, who commanded Ellen to leave her child behind, and Ellen took her by her little hand at the age of four and gave her away to state authorities.
In one dream I cross the bridge to New York, heart pounding, and take a room in a large ramshackle old hotel and hit the streets searching for Heine, dreaming this all in the mid nineties, thirty years after I had last seen him.
1964 – New York
Bill and Joplin came into the room together – I was astounded – this was the first time I had seen the legendary master magician, Joplin, Bill’s body language told me and Ellen to sit quietly, not approach, not interrupt. Joplin was an ex-Rabbi, and like Bill, was an amphetamine user. They spoke to each other in soft voices and walked across the room, and as they walked, banging and popping noises came out of the air around them, they had the magical ability to create noises out of thin air.
Running, thru the park…The Green Machine was screaming in my mind, incessant shrieks, whispers, words, I thought it was the minds of the New York Magicians. I found a piece of machinery on the ground in an industrial park, it was painted green, faded, chipped. I knew it, I knew it, it’s the Green Machine. But maybe the Green Machine came from Vietnam, where American soldiers are slogging through a swamp, armaments held high overhead, through green rotting jungles, then there is the scream and whine of bullets, a sudden attack, by something elusive and invisible as spirits.