the last jungle


the last jungle
bang is the meaning of a gun”
                         — ee cummings

some fires never die.

there were 2 old ’boes & me
left that yr, in the spring of ’68
up near redding ca
in the last jungle
on the american river,

boxcar Jimmy
adam ydobon
“that’s ‘nobody’ spelt backwards”
both veteran riders
from the rail wars of ’35

& me
the wilted refugee
following the fall
of the summer of love.

not much to be said.
it was easy
the 3 of us;

martin luther king was dead
the cities had finished their burning
robt kennedy was not yet dead.

they ate salmon from the river
i ate miners’ cabbage & lentils.

life was good.

one evening before sleep
jimmy told me his story;
i went to sleep dreaming
of steam engines racing
thru the mountains
filled with laughing mermaids
& merry hooligans.

later that night
a gang of drunken cowboys
ran a herd of cattle
right over the top of us —

the last thing i remember
was looking over my shoulder
& seeing the flames from our camp,
the last jungle

reaching up & into

the early spring sky.