H e a r t S o n s & H e a r t D a u g h t e r s of A l l e n G i n s b e r g
N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 4 : A r c h i v e s E d i t i o n
Walking into the Crater
Looking back, I realize I prepared myself, consciously and unconsciously, for everything
that was about to happen. What launched it all was an impulse to act, as if someone or
something was pushing me, waking me, urging me to hurry.
But whatever pushed me soon stalled. I wasn't ready and the effort became an obstacle.
This setback allowed me to build the strength and resources I needed to eventually
succeed. There is an alpine lily that gathers energy for nineteen summers and on the
twentieth summer blooms and dies. Just so I gathered whatever strength I could and
entered the forest, not in ignorance but in confidence.
Success is beginner's luck-random events accomplished with the assistance of unseen
powers and guides. I owe my lucky escapes to those who made them possible, to those
who lifted me out of my own way and dragged me against my will whenever I decided to
abandon the adventure.
Once inside the forest I met a woman who led me into the lower world, where I lost
everything. I lost my loved ones, I lost my money, I lost my health, I lost my grasp of
the adventure. Still, I maintained faith in the future even though everything was going
wrong. I waited for the storm to pass because I knew that was what I had to do. By doing
nothing, by not struggling against what was happening even when it was undeserved and
unfair, I learned to listen better and to wait for what was about to happen.
And then I was betrayed. Good luck turned away. The magic that had brought me this far
was broken or lost. Nothing was as it seemed to be when I first started out. In an effort to
save myself I betrayed another version of my self, my next self. I broke promises, I
abandoned my principles. I got my hands dirty, I behaved shamefully. I believed I was in
danger but it was like something that was happening to me. I realized I was being hunted
and had only one desire-to escape.
Then darkness set in. In darkness I found what it was I was looking for. I found my
ideals, my goals, my life's purpose. But, immersed in darkness, someone had to pull the
curtains open to fill my eyes with light. After that, I moved forward under my own
On the journey back, I was guided by what I remembered of what the elders had told me
back when I had no way of understanding what they were talking about. I understood
what had come before and what was about to happen.
I returned to ordinary life, but with a piece of magic in my pocket. Every moment is
different from all the others because in every moment of brilliance a darkness has been
Now I know what to do. I travel through my days and hand a little piece of magic to
those who are unknowing, to those who will need it later on.
[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Randy_Roark.htm.]