beats the rhythm of native drums
into rock-and-roll. Its root
pushes through a crack, through soil
on Lolo Peak overlooking Missoula, Montana.
It’s the seed of a supernova, an idea
that knows it’s here, matter spinning,
whirling into itself, feeling its way
past the need for a crucifixion,
past the need to proclaim a big bang.
peace in the night janitor’s bare feet
secretly stepping out on the cold
marble floor in the main lobby
of the Newport Hotel. This voodoo
child, spray bottle of ammonia in one hand
and quart jug of bleach in the other,
punches the play button on his portable
cassette/radio, begins spinning
into Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland.
Arms extended, the centrifugal force
of spray bottle and jug, a dynamic counter
balance that urges him on and on
in an effortless dance of inertia-like
perpetual motion, this broom jockey spins
himself into his own swirling Sufi trance,
a dance beyond the marble columns
and leather chairs, beyond the time clock
or the graveyard shift, even beyond his blurring
dervish spiral—beyond intention.
There is something,
a joy through our feet pattering the Earth,
something that exists at the core of all things
and particularly in the heart
of a hippie custodian probably high
on more than momentum and peace.
It is in the music and the marble
and the motion. It is in the quantum
experience of mind. And he spins
for more than five minutes. He spins for
way more than ten or fifteen.
He spins himself out of and back into
the world where he spins for the cops and firemen
staring at him through the lobby window,
an off-duty impromptu sidewalk-audience
watching this goofy Windex ballet.
He spins for Little John, the security guard
grinning in the shadows. He spins for
his wife pregnant with their first. He spins
like a ten year old kid on the back yard grass
trying to spin into a giggling fall
just to watch the dizzy world keep on spinning.
beyond himself into a clarity of flow,
and as his feet begin to slow
he notices the song tempo starting
its close. The electro-gyro-man
Ladyland solo winds down in slow-mo
to the last guitar note . . . his arms dropping
at his sides, head bowed—the janitor’s
feet are hot stones, his head—a cloud. He notices
the crowd outside: smiling faces, flapping arms,
laughter and applause. Little John claps
behind him, wants to see it again
spun to Purple Haze.
The janitor was born in
the Appalachian Mountains. He knows
if he can stop the world and start it
spinning again, get everybody spinning
at once, that something big could happen,
something really big, maybe universal peace.
One time he stared at the sun for fourteen hours,
and several times he’s witnessed fireballs in the sky.
He knows he’s crazy, but he’s not
dangerous—some scholars claim the greatest minds
(often drunks) are insane.
This hippie hillbilly custodian quit drinking
years ago, quit churches, too.
Now he spins. He spins for us all.