Closed shoes are so not a good idea. If you walk more than 50 steps in them they cause blisters. Agonizing ones. Your toes scream in agony as you put one step in front of another.

But I do. All the way to the antiquarian bookfair at Pacific Place where I step into a stall and am magnetically drawn to a first edition of Howl which I open, flip past the first page on which Ginsberg has schizophrenically doodled flowers and signed his name, and read with a soppy smile on my face:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix…

And then a kindly slightly mad looking man in a beard and a coyboy hat passes me a folder of letters, written by Ginsberg himself to presumably his wife… snippets of poems, anechdotes about what the other Beats – Burroughs, Kerouc et al – were up to and a plan of the Academy Aawards with inexplicably Ginsberg’s signature behind it just where my finger is and I am soaked up in another time, a time of protest and marijuana and idealism and a time thirty or so years after that when I sat at a desk in a grimy-ish classroom in a historic stone building sipping coffee and ecstatically discovering that other time thirty years ago…

And then my phone rings, I hand the folder back and drag my bruised feet three floors down to the high-end grocery downstairs where we buy half a roast chicken and lamb curry for dinner.

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