Hitchhiking Tales from Cosmos

In Search of America 1975 – Hitchhiking Tales by Jake Cosmos Aller

When I was young
And foolish
Broke and stubborn

I hitchhiked across the USA
Started in Salt Lake City
Where my greyhound bus pass
Was stolen

The station manager
Could have helped me
But refused to do so

Threaten to call the cops
When I grabbed my bags
Without the stolen tags

I said
Go ahead
But I am so out of here

Wondered about Salt Lake City
Went to a bar

Found I had to buy my booze
Next door

And they would mix it for me
Had to order food too

After a bloody Mary
And a burger
I walked about town

Saw the Mormon Temple

Finally about 3 pm
It was time to hit the road
Did not look back

Ended up in Cody Wyoming
Got a room shower
Steak beer
Using my rapidly depleted cash

Spent 25 dollars
Money really went far
Back in those days

A band of professional
Communist agitators
Gave me a ride

To Des Moines
Lots of weed booze
And politics later
Got off the road

Slept outside
Next day
A beautiful woman

Drove me to near Chicago
In a red mustang

Might have been
The girl in the song

Took it easy
Digging her vibe

She invited home
But was not sure
If her estranged husband
Would welcome me

So I being foolish
And inexperienced with women
Did not go to her place

And always regretted
That I had lost
My chance that day

Then on to Chicago
Several rides later

Visited friends

Hit the road again
A series of uneventful rides
With truckers

And others
And a week later
I ended in New York City

Slept along the way
In cars

In truck stops
In high way rest stops

Always moving
Always going
None stop talking

And lots of free weed
And beer
And conversation

One more memorable ride
Occurred outside Albany
On my return to Chicago

A middle age creepy looking man
Picked me up
In a brand new Cadillac

He was he said a dynamite deliverer
For the Mafia
Went to various places
To blow up shit

He hated a lot of people
Particularly hippies from California
And Jewish people

Looking at me to confirm
That I was both

I told him that I lived in New York
And had never been to California

And although I might looked Jewish
As I what was called back in the day
A “Jewfro”
I was not Jewish

Many years later I discovered
That I am indeed part Jewish
But then I did not know

And I felt a bit of strategic information
Might keep me alive
Then I realized that he was just jiving with me
And we relaxed

And he pulled out some weed
And beer
And we mellowed out

But I believe that he really was with the mob
Perhaps not a dynamite dealer
A real made Italian made mafia member

By Chicago
I had enough
I called my Dad
Told him what had happened

Wanted a ticket home
And he sent me a ticket
And 500 dollars

And I went home
I told him I would tell him
My tales some day
But never did

I learned so much
About my fellow Americans
And the strange vibe
That was 1975

And now it is too late
But I wanted to finally
Tell the world

Of my hitchhiking tales
In search of America 197

Published in Outlaw Poetry April 2018  See “Outlaw Poetry and Neobeatnik” page for additional “outlaw/neobeatnik” poetry