San Francisco and Ripple Wine, 1968
Lincoln, Nebraska. 1966. When 18-year-old Randy Rhody hosted a party for Allen Ginsberg, the famous beatnik said to him, “You shake hands with a cloud.”
Three years later Doubleday anthologized Rhody’s antiwar poem alongside Ginsberg and a cornucopia of venerated writers in “The Writing on the Wall.”
"How does it feel? To be on your own
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?"
- Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone
(A work in progress)
Mixing history, homage, and memoir of those years, Rhody recounts his 20,000-mile journey as a homeless teenage hitchhiker, driven by the specter of the Vietnam war draft while seeking his own revelation as ineffable as Ginsberg's cloud.
Along the way he meets Cleveland’s mimeo-revolution publisher d. a. levy, rides overnight freight trains from Denver to Chicago, and helps the Diggers set up their free store in Haight-Ashbury. He celebrates Easter at the Central Park Be-In, works at a Lower East Side head shop, and warns Abbie Hoffman not to go to the Democratic convention.
Rhody’s insider look at the outsiders’ world preserves a glimpse of Americana and the legendary anti-Establishment Sixties not seen through the eyes of journalists, celebrities, or historians.