LuRain Penny, Fair to Middlin’ – encapsulated life history – 2


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 A perfect evening to sit inside and continue the dictation of my life story.

My thumbs are non-operational.

Have been for many, many years.

The lady I live with types for me.  Any mistakes are hers.

 I am always telling her to stop fiddling with my words.

Cleaning up the synaps and such. Tell it like I saying it.

Very important that you hear me, even if you aren’t within the sound of my voice.


Where was I?

After the second Big War, I found myself in Florida.

Pretty much a mess by that time.

Skirting society, life on the hem.

It was easier to be so in those days. Not as much radar. Tracking your every breath.

I was singing then, in small dives and taverns.

Places where they weren’t too choosy. Almost never paid attention.

I was losing my voice already – though drugs and likker sustained me.

Singing was the only way I could make enough money to get high for free.

Weary and wrung out too soon.

Many roads to travel yet until my epiphany.


The 1950’s was a very odd decade.

Very blue. Very conformist.

Any deviation was not tolerated –  not allowed, not accepted, not discussed, didn’t exist.

Homosexuality was underground, and illegal.

Mixed race marriages were shocking. Not only were they shunned, they was often murdered.

Nobody dared to admit they weren’t Christian. Jews were dis-invited to the country clubs.

All Indians was named Joe. They wandered the streets of occupier cities inebriated. Mothers brought their children in.

Blacks were called negroes or worse.

If a family of them moved into your neighborhood, ignore them. Put your house up for sale.


How ironic, that we fought with the rest of the world to defend it against genocide and bigotry, yet preserve them as rights in our own country.

Change of heart cannot be legislated. Cannot be fought.

It only comes from a change of mind –

an enlightenment – We are all of the human race.

Let me not digress.


I was a vagabond in the true sense of the word.

 Never owned nothing worth having.

Belonged to no community. Had no close associations or ties.

A pinball in the game of life, whacked and socked from one end of the table to the other.

Destined eventually, to wind up down a hole without scoring.


People went kind of nuts with all societal restrictions.

The 60’s were like pulling the shade down fast then letting it fly up to whip around the rod.

The reaction was immediate and in the opposite direction.

Do your own thing. Let it all hang out.

Drugs came out of the lab. Out of the backroom. Out of the gutter. Onto the dining room table.

Folks was doing cocaine from bowls the size of watermelons. Dope flew in from all over the world: thai sticks, hashish; opium, peyote, and then LSD.

That was a time of money, everybody had it, even those of us never worked a day in our lives.

We were swimming in money, and in blood.

Viet Nam on T.V. nightly.

That’s where we acquired our taste for looking into the bleeding guts of others.

 We have not lost it.

I made my way across country. In San Francisco, I met folks that were ready to accept me for what I was because it was trippy.

 I am getting on in age by that time. Not exactly sure how old.

 In the beginning, I added on. In the middle, I started subtracting. I confused myself.

By the 60’s, I was pushing half a century of wasted existence.

Unclear as to how I survived. Convinced myself I was a real person.

Hanging out in the Haight, with kids half my age.

Bragging big stories of footloose living.

If only they knew.


One night, in a dirty room, overlooking a busy street, I took the largest assortment of chemicals, known to man, on the planet.

The world dropped away.

Up through the ceiling, past the roof, above the noise and lights.

Everything went dark. Still. Except me.

I moved with purpose. Out of gravity’s pull. The Earth below. Smaller and smaller. I sped on.

(The Moon is not made of cheese.  Just a big rock.)

The whole of Everything was twinkling, buzzing, vibrational.

 I headed straight toward a triangle of stars.

Faster, faster, faster.

Through the center of them.

Then a tearing noise.

Like I had busted cellophane, held taut by unseen hands.

I got sucked into a blinding light.

Immersed. Enveloped. Gone.

I had a religious experience that lasted 20 years.


When I come to, I was in a bar. A glass of beer before me.

Never liked beer. Nasty stuff.

Life began again.

I couldn’t recall my name. Everyone just called me ‘Drunk’  for the longest time.

On a drizzly evening in Vancouver BC, I remembered myself.

On my front porch. Granma Penny calling me, “LuRain!”

 I knew who I was.

From then on things moved quickly.

On solid road again.

It took me to NYC and to fame.

A  comeback from nowhere.

Got to start someplace.



artwork by codifyer


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