The counterculture is dwindling.
Tamed by marijuana,
Stabilized by half-baked if full-hearted efforts towards destabilization,
Bored by endless smoking of cheap cigarettes,
Dispirited by valiantly inept efforts to become free spirits,
The would-be dissidents
Are content now to express a vague and wilted discontent,
To conform to some commercial style of non-conformity,
To repeat the cast-off catch phrases of the original generation.
Back east the future leaders of America study too much,
And take themselves too seriously.
What potential for originality and rebellion they might’ve had
Has been forgotten over lost years of passive compliance.
Maybe they believe it is technology that’ll save us
While out here the post-hippies still think it’s narcotics,
But have lost the generation-defining defiance
And act like untroubled beatniks who haven’t read On The Road,
Or who have read the SparkNotes
And decided the book gives them some good reasons to get stoned.
Getting high is no longer about breaking ground,
No longer about getting lost and finding out.
It’s starting to look
Less like the freedom of timelessness
And more like the slavish mindlessness
Of Huxley’s soma.
No longer using to help heighten powers of imagination and creativity,
Today’s user serves helplessly in the mechanical routine, held in captivity.
My place is certainly not amongst the future leaders of the east,
But neither is it amongst the post-hippies wherever they may be.
No purpose in either place for me, in the long run
My purpose will be to take the long way home,
To find home as I go along,
Risking road-weariness and deliriousness,
Tearing myself asunder in order to understand division,
Not thinking abstractly about hunger and cold and loneliness and derision,
But suffering them all in order to discover again how to recover with pen,
Like a return man who glides deftly through the opposition towards the
Returning to where there can be no returning from,
Like a river that reaches a goal without pursuit of a goal.
No light from above guides the wanderer wintering in the Far North,
But the wanderer finds home as he goes on,
The light within grows steadily all along.