Archive for the ‘Michael From Mountains’ Category

Michael From Mountains


“Up over the stars,
Sweet well water and pickling jars –
We’ll lend you the car, we always do
Yes, we always do”

Joni Mitchell

I’ve spent the last hour trying to remember the title of this song.  It was on Joni Mitchell’s first album, “Clouds”, which, like many of her LPs, had a self-painted self-portrait on the jacket cover. We were all Joni Mitchell fans then, with our long hair parted down the middle.  But we were more than fans.  We were Joni Mitchell. We were also Judy Collins and Joan Baez and Buffy St. Marie.  Darcy and I would sit in our USC dorm room, pretty and privileged, playing guitar, wearing black brimmed hats and smoking Tareytons and talking about the war and Ezra Pound and abortion.  We were art and film majors.  We wore wide, ripped bellbottoms and nothing but dirt from the 32nd Street Market on our bare feet. We were smart and lucky and only a few of us had ever faced any real heartache.  We slept with black men, Indians, Dutch, Germans and Jews, but not each other.  That wasn’t as cool then as it is now. We dated Japanese painters and law students who were rabbi’s sons.  “Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning…”

Joni Mitchell came to Bovard Auditorium and stood on the stage alone with her guitar.  Her honey-colored fringed leather shirt was tucked into a matching long leather skirt.  I was there with Wim (as in ‘vim and vigor’) who hailed from the Netherlands and looked a little like Art Garfunkel.  He was an engineering grad student. I liked him because he was European with that great accent and because he lived in a rambling old Victorian nicknamed “Ellis Island”.  The house was full of students from around the world, most of whom did not wear shirt protectors for their pens. Wim was a kindly snore. But he took me to see Joni Mitchell and didn’t openly expect me to have sex with him afterward.  The sign of either a true gentleman or a gentle bore.