CANTO 6 September 13, 2011
This would be the pattern, three times in all.
It would take me forty one years to learn the truth.
So, when I returned to Cleveland after school was closed early
For the summer of 1970 and my Mother had found me a job
Her friend, Frank Stan, worked at the Dennis Hotel in Atlantic City
I had worked for my mother at the Statler Hilton in Cleveland
The summer before. There was a troupe of college students
From around the world, working at the scut jobs out of sight.
Did I mention that I had been born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
My father regretted that he hadn’t used the GI Bill after the war
And ended up in the steel mills that closed and forced us to
Make the move to Cleveland, Ohio.
And to be perfectly frank, I forget how I got to Atlantic City in 1970
I must have flown to Philadelphia. I know I wasn’t driven.
And from Philadelphia to Atlantic city, pre gambling, there was no air.
Somehow I got there and went up into the vast neo-french classic towers
Of the ancient Dennis, pre-gambling. And I was assigned a dorm room
I think of 4 women one in each corner, with giggling “normal” college girls.
I know they were “normal” because they laughed at me behind my back.
There was a bevy of strapping, bonnie Scottish Boys
And one Miss Irene DiNola of Rome, Italy, who looked at me and said,
“You! You are interesting! I am Irene DiNola, of Rome, Italy! Let’s go
have fun!” And we left the “normal” girls behind and scoured the bars
of The Boardwalk. Understand, we were allowed to drink at 18 back
In those days. I smoked my first marijuana and as it was laced with
PCP and nearly caused me to happily jump off one of the amusement piers,
I never smoked marijuana (much) again.
The hotel was huge and horseshoe shaped with a bar outdoors in the center
I think we bussed the tables. I do remember eating in the kitchen of the hotel
And learning things about hotel kitchens that no client should ever know.
As the summer neared it’s end, I heard that there was a hippie coffee house
With readings done by poets and it was there I went one night and
Changed my life for 8 more years in the City by the Sea.