“…I don’t owe Allen G. anything yet nor my Mother. I went Southwest. Goodbye. Lew Welch.”
Yesterday I got lost on the streets of Santo Domingo. Some things have not changed: I still can not properly read maps, and the phone applications for navigation are proudly refused by my phone. The phones remain nice gadgets that I will never learn to use.
I rely on the kindness of foreigners. I greet them and I am greeted. My face is too serious and I try to change it. I imagine the city as a mountain, the skyscrapers forests, so I have to turn my back to the sea to find the real side of the mountain. I think of Welch’s last day. The sea draws me to it and spoils my plans.
From time to time you have to forget where you are, sharpen your senses, hoping that it would not happen in the wrong neighbourhood. Or where it is supposed to happen. A woman passing by gives me a smile. I note that I have to get lost more often. I walk in the direction of the sea thinking to move forward even when I reach the shore. In the next 45 minutes I need to make a crucial decision. I wonder where southwest is.
On 23 May 1971 Lew Welch walked away from the house of his friend and co-fighter, poet Gary Snyder in the mountains of California, leaving a goodbye note behind. He had a Smith&Weston revolver in his hand, .22 calibre, made of steel. His body was never found, He might not be alive any more.